Twitter may very well be the single most important tool for teachers right now. Considering many are not even using the service, that says a lot about how effective the platform is for learning, engaging, development, and more.
In an effort to make sure you are getting the most out of Twitter, we’ve compiled a very lengthy list of tips and tricks. That long list is coming out tomorrow morning but we thought you’d enjoy our hand-picked choices.
Katie and I went through our list and narrowed it down to the top 25. We hope you enjoy and will stay tuned for a much longer version due out tomorrow!
- Follow folks who are interesting to you.
Find the people that are of actual value to YOU. Don’t just follow a popular account because everyone else does. After all, it’s your Twitter feed and you’re the one that has to read it!
- Don’t follow too many new people at once.
Whether you’re just starting out or old hat, be sure to follow people on a regular basis but try not to ‘over follow’ or suddenly your stream might become a deluge of tweets from people you didn’t realize tweeted so often.
- Search for relevant people using WeFollow.
It’s a simple tool that organizes Twitter users by category. Great for any kind of teacher, student, parent, admin, or user!
- Follow back!
When you find a new user (to you at least) that follows you, check them out and then don’t be afraid to follow them back. Be sure to check up on them though so you know they’re not a spambot etc. As Howard Rheingold likes to say, it’s all about ‘crap detection.’
- Find Twitter users near you.
Twitter is a global network but there’s people using it in your school and neighborhood. Use a site like Geofollow to track them down.
- Join a hashtag conversation.
Be a lurker (in a good way) or participant in a chat like #edchat or #followfriday. Check out Edudemic’s A-Z list of hashtags to find some relevant hashtags.
- Use quotation marks when searching.
Like any librarian will tell you, the best way to search is to know how to search. Using quotes helps a lot.
- Don’t buy followers.
Seriously, this is a thing. Don’t ever purchase followers. You may get thousands of followers but they’re all spam bots. Probably not worth your time or money.
- Find people by their authority on Twitter.
Using a tool like the aptly named Twitority (say that tens times fast) will help here.
- Don’t sweat your follower count.
It really doesn’t matter. As long as your Twitter stream helps you and is of value, it’s invaluable. Whether you have 10,000,000 followers and 10, it’s about quality not quantity.
- Find users and tweets in Twitter Advanced Search.
Head over to the ‘advanced‘ search part of Twitter to search by keywords and more. Worth a try.
- Don’t try see every single tweet.
You won’t be able to do it. I promise you that. Use Twitter when you have the time but don’t get overwhelmed!
- Just tweet!
Don’t feel like you have anything to say? Try retweeting someone else, tweeting an article you read on Edudemic, or just favorite some tweets. Just keep using the service and you’ll eventually find the best way it fits into your world.
- Use RSS to subscribe to tweets.
You can use the built-in RSS feeds on Twitter to use sites like Pulse and Google Reader to monitor a particular hashtag or topic.
- See what’s actually trending without using Twitter’s Trending Topics.
Try out sites like TweetStats Trends or Twist to find out what everyone is tweeting.
- Use a third-party tool.
Sites like Tweetdeck and Tweetake are helpful because they offer alternative tools not found on Twitter.com. For example, you can back up your tweets using Tweetake!
- Use Twitter clouds.
These are like Wordle clouds but they show you what you’re talking about. It’s super fun.
- Have some variety in your stream.
On the @Edudemic Twitter account, I like to share blog posts, what others are writing, Pinterest pins, whatever seems to be the most useful. Feel free to do the same!
- Be real.
Act like a human and people will treat you like that. Reply to @mentions, reach out to others, just use it like you know you should. If you act like a machine or big company, people won’t want to chat with you. Would you want to talk to an entire multinational company or would you rather talk to someone who has an actual name and face?
- Talk about what interests you.
Don’t feel like you have to always talk about the same thing. Talk about whatever interests you. That way, the people who follow you will follow the real you, not some online version.
- Be a helpful tweeter.
When someone asks a question on Twitter, answer them if you have an answer! You don’t use Twitter 24-7 so use it to help others when you can!
- Connect with similar people.
Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone who is tweeting about something you’re interested in. You never know what might happen! Worst case scenario is they just don’t reply back.
- Use it as a news source.
This works if you follow enough people from a variety of categories. Once you do, you’ll find yourself turning to Twitter to keep up with daily news. It’s pretty fun and sorta personalized!
- Ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask a question, ask for help, or just ask for advice.
- Meet up with your tweeps!
Go to a conference and meet up with your fellow Twitter users. It’s unreal to meet a lot of these people for the first time.