5 Things To Get Your Twitter Network Off The Ground

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Just recently I have been advising some visiting colleagues about the benefits of using Twitter as the main protagonist in the story of my learning network. I wish I had such a resource when I was starting out into the world of educational technology or whilst I was training. After showing people how the network interacts, I recently tweeted that it makes you realise the potential expertise that you can be effortlessly connected to. As I have recently helped a few people begin their network with Twitter I thought I would write about a few ideas to help get started and to make the most of Twitter for teachers.

  1. Profile - for me that is the first port of call for finding out about anyone. I look for involvement with education and teaching. So make sure that your profile, including a picture, is well updated as it helps others who might be looking to connect with you.
  2. Get started straight away – profile sorted, now just get started. Write about how your lessons have gone, a great website you have used today (add the link, everyone loves looking at new web resources), a good digital camera you have in school, problems with your network, revelations from your pupils. Anything really, just make a start.
  3. Follow a bunch of people – for me Twitter is all about making connections with fellow teachers and colleagues in education, so find someone you know or whose blog you may have enjoyed reading for a while and explore who they follow and who follows them. (Look at the Lists they have created too)
  4. Get someone with a big network to put a shoutout for you – give your network a kickstart by asking someone with a whole heap of followers to put in a good word for you. Piggybacking in this way will open up more networks for you to explore and teachers to follow. Just be sure to follow back those that have followed you if you are happy to.
  5. Begin replying to people – along with putting the word out about yourself and your own practice/situation engage with people directly by replying (@ before their username – everyone sees these) and direct messaging (D before their username – private). If you can help or offer advice of your own then do so where you can. It might be you askign for advice/help in the future.

One more thing to remember is that in the early days of Twitter use it can be very quiet, few replies, not much going on in terms of conversation. Do not be discouraged – try to perservere and stick it out and keep using it, as soon there will be a “tipping point” when the connections you have made reap a bountiful information harvest.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of ideas for new users, but will help to maybe get your network off the ground. What are your best pieces of advice for new users of Twitter?

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