Brett Baker, an account executive at Twitter, recently told EdSurge
that out of the half billion tweets sent every day, 4.2 million were related to education. “To put this in perspective,” Katrina Stevens wrote, “while you read this past sentence, over 3,000 edu-related tweets have flown across the Twitterverse.”
4.2 million education-related tweets every day. That’s a lot of information, observation and conversation happening all across the world thanks to one simple social network. Join the conversation! You’ll learn something new. You’ll make new connections and reinforce existing ones. You’ll ask for advice and help others who need it. In short, you’ll be more informed and more connected. (Still not convinced? Read this
If you’re ready to take the leap, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started in the Twitterverse:
1. Set up an account
Head over to Twitter
to get started. As with all social networks, you’ll have to enter your name, email and password. From there, you’ll be directed to choose a username. I’d recommend using your real name if it’s unavailable. If not, try something close to it, like “TheJohnDoe” or “JohnDoeEdTech”. Click Create My Account and you’re now an official member of Twitter!
2. Personalize your settings
Next, it’s time to get personal. Go to your account setting page, and first, make sure you’re set to the right language and time zone. Then consider your privacy settings. I’d dissuade you from making your tweets private because people are less likely to follow you.
Rummage around the rest of your profile’s settings, but don’t leave without uploading a photo of yourself. People want to see the person they’re following, and you want people to know who you are! Go to “Profile,” on the Settings page, and upload a photo (keep it professional!). You also have the option of uploading a header image, which is another easy way to personalize your Twitter profile.
3. Set up mobile
According to Twitter, 76% of its users connect with mobile devices
. Indeed, it was designed to be used while on-the-go. Tweets are real-time, and the 140-character limit demands brevity, so you can easily scan and skim while waiting in line or on a break. So, naturally, your next task is to download the Twitter app. It’s simple and intuitive; all you need for a quick scan of the latest news and happenings.
4. Follow people!
Start with people you know, friends and family, and then follow people and organizations you respect, like your favorite education bloggers, other experts in your field, news magazines and blogs you read regularly.
If you’re not sure who to follow, go find one person you respect in particular, and follow the people they’re following. It’s a quick way to get started, and over time your list will become more nuanced and streamlined.
5. Jump in and get involved!
As a Twitter newbie, you might be inclined to simply “lurk” on Twitter… just reading, scanning and observing, but not participating. I was guilty of that when I first signed up, so I know how you feel. Give yourself a week or so to get used to the network, and then jump in there and start twittering!
Quick tips on what to tweet:
Be a valuable resource to your followers. Give them a reason to follow you. Are you tweeting relevant content? Are you offering advice or insight?
Use hashtags (#) to be part of conversations (i.e. #edchat, #edtech, #BYOD, etc.) and Twitter chats. You can also search for tweets based on a hashtag, which is simply another way to open up your Twitter world.
Engage with other Twitter followers:
If you want all your followers to see your tweet, put a period in front of the user you are mentioning (i.e. @edutopia)
If you want to talk to one person in particular, begin your tweet with the @ symbol (like @edutopia). In that case, only people who are following both users can see the tweet.
Keep the “I’m eating so-and-so,” and “I’m stuck in traffic…” tweets to a minimum. Personal tweets on occasion are fine, but remember that you’re aiming to provide value, not simply increase noise.
There are hundreds of helpful resources on how to get started on Twitter. Find your friends and colleagues first. They’ll make you feel welcome. And one last tip: don’t get bogged down by the number of followers (or lack thereof) you have. Twitter isn’t about having the most followers; it’s about engaging, learning and staying informed. Have fun out there!
All signed up and ready to tweet? Let’s connect! We’re tweeting @anthrocorp