Twitter for @winchmfs


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A session I am providing on Wednesday afternoon to the School of Media & Film at the University of Winchester, assuming zero knowledge, although they'll be plenty of theoretical knowledge at the very least!

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  • So, this session is all about why bother with Twitter, and an introduction to using Twitter…
    The intention is that by the end of this session you will have at least a basic understanding of Twitter, and be able to help build up traffic to @winchmfs, a Twitter account that I set up last year and already has over 100 followers with very little activity – imagine what can happen if we add more?!
  • So, having said that I didn’t want to go into the “how to” of Twitter – we do need to briefly address what it is, and some of the conventions that we have to work within – only by understanding those can we understand how we can best make use of it.
  • So, briefly, Twitter is a form of ‘mini-blogging’ - each message is composed of no more than 140 characters, based on text messaging - where the system originated.
    Significantly, Twitter used to ask “What are you doing?”, and now ask “What’s happening?”
    Will show an example of a profile page shortly… but, just to note…
    Password protected accounts allow you to have private conversations, but you can only have one account per email address so think carefully.
  • That most famous of British users…
    Stephen Fry’s profile page, also known as a “Tweetstream”
    Passed his 1 million follower mark towards the end of last year…
    well known for causing websites to crash when he mentions them…
  • Lot of people think Twitter is just like Facebook status updates… (including the students who responded to the survey ‘do students use Twitter?’
    I would definitely see them differently – on Facebook I need some kind of concrete connection with the person before I will become “friends”, whereas on Twitter I will follow anyone whom I find posts interesting information (and it doesn’t have to be reciprocal), from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day and night…
    Unless you’re a celebrity, posting personal information only won’t gain you many followers…
  • Colleagues – immediate and external!
  • So, now that we’re hopefully a bit clearer on the purpose of Twitter (and believe me, it can take a while before it clicks and you ‘get it’!)
  • To help you find the first few people that you follow, it should take you through some options (it’s a while since I signed up for a new account, and, as with everything in the web world, things change), but if not, can follow this link to find people on your email. Most websites will list Twitter names, and will show you some ways to find people to follow shortly…
    But first… before you actually sign up – want to show you my account, and something to think about before you sign up…
  • Here’s my Twitterfeed shortly before I did that webinar…
    Arrow 1
    Twitter name – think carefully. Shorter is better, as it all counts towards your 140 characters & avoid underscores
    Image: Add a clear picture of yourself. I don’t like following people without ‘avatars’ unless I already know them in ‘the real world’.
    Arrow 2
    This section is where many users may make a decision to follow you (can be changed in ‘Settings’)
    Location is important, especially for users targeting local information.
    Always include your web address, so people can find out more!
    Bio: Key. Only 160 characters, think carefully about can include here!
    Below = number of people I’m following (limited to 2000, until you get over 2000 followers), number of people following me
    Arrow 3
    The icons of those I’m following, most recent first
    Arrow 4
    My most recent tweet. I use a real mix of personal information, recommendations of other’s tweets/web links, and conversations with others… as Stephen Fry said – it’s Twitter, and as in everyday conversation, it’s not all composed of grand thoughts!
    Arrow 5
    A ‘retweet’ of another users information – we’ll come back to that.
  • University website photos?
  • So, now you’ve set that up, sit back for a minute and look at some of the key conventions of Twitter…, etiquette/conventions rather than RULES, as there’s no one RIGHT way to use the service – that’s one of the joys of it!
    Then we’ll get Tweeting!!
  • Here we can see a detail from a great diagram, demonstrating where Twitter can have an impact…
    The big purpose for many is to drive traffic … part of the lifeblood driving traffic back to the heart of your online presence – your blog (we could go more into that, but that’s a different topic!), and I have definitely noticed spikes in traffic back to my blog after posting blog links to Twitter….
    Have a proper look at the diagram to see what it’s possibilities are…
  • Now, the purpose of this session is to enable you guys to feed into the @winchmfs Twitter feed, which has over 100 followers without any real activity, so just imagine what it will be like with lots of activity… similarly SFDO – had 11 followers for months, I came along, started targeted tweeting & targeted following, and soon rose to 900, have not been so active recently, so it plateaued and started to decline in numbers, so a bit of vigorous activity over last 2-3 weeks, and have another 50-60 followers!
    Really can’t be offended if people defollow you – have noticed some who defollow, but then put you in a list, which is even more flattering (we’ll come back to those)!
  • As we said, Twitter should be a mix of useful & personal information (not TOO MUCH INFORMATION please), but this shouldn’t all just be “broadcast” to users – I have made friends with a lot of people online and then met them ‘in person’ later on, and it makes that initial meet-up feel like a seamless conversation – e.g. gave a conference paper over Easter with someone I’d only ever met on Twitter! Also enables me to continue conversations with people I have met at conferences, etc. (as we already have something in common there)
    Twitter works best if you can engage with other users, responding to their Tweets, and thanking them when they Retweet your information…
    So, what are Retweets…
  • Yours will be blank, as you’re not following anyone yet…
  • Essentially, a Retweet is a sign that you like someone else’s message so much that you want YOUR followers to read it – when you RT, it appears in your Twitter Feed… so there can be a snowball effect as your followers can also retweet the information… this can grow exponentially, and even become a trending topic
    2 Examples
    The first is where Lisa, who is following me, has taken my Tweet about preparing for my JISC webinar on Twitter, and retweeted it (RT is a convention), taking the opportunity to add a comment in brackets (using her phone to post the message). This is the preferred way of engaging amongst those ‘in the know’, and existed before Twitter provided the 2nd example last year
    In this example, I am on the web version of Twitter, and have chosen to retweet ‘as is’, which is the option provided by the Twitter ‘Retweet’ button… if not on a 3rd party app, you’ll have to cut & paste!
    We’ll come back to Retweets once we’ve found some followers…
  • Use the hashtag symbol/word within your tweet…
    Follow Friday ( )
    A well established convention, where (on a Friday) users recommend other users they think are worth following
    The etiquette for recommending is somewhat interesting
    A certain amount of you pat my back…
    Seems to be dying off – maybe replaced by lists (we’ll come back to those)
    Invent a Hashtag
    There’s no central register of hashtags, so you just need to do a bit of research before defining one – e.g. a module code may be good to use!
    It counts towards your 140 characters so keep it short.
    Check it’s not already in use (especially if for a porn site… didn’t the BBC get caught out on that the other week?)
    Mutual agreement by users leads to consistent use of the same hashtag
    Issues with Hashtagging?
    Hashtag a hangover from when Twitter was built around mobile phones, so just another convention
    Created by the community using them – so, if not careful, can be 2 groups trying to use the same hashtag.
    How do you find out? Guess? Try “what the hashtag”. Not very effective, so tend to be pre-advertised by events (e.g. #cmn10), or when created by community, start to see a number of friends using the same hashtag, and can then ‘join the conversation’! Just have to ignore irrelevancies who join the conversation (e.g. Habitat famous gaffe).
  • Follow a Story
    Many news stories break on Twitter, e.g. CNN announced earlier this year that Social Media was the best place to find breaking news – they were talking about most recent Tsumani.
    More recently have been searching for this hashtag, which has grown up amongst those dissatisfied with the Lib/Con coalition government – it’s slowed down a bit, but it was VERY busy (almost trending – which is the top 10 phrases used!) as the story first broke (and Twitter is very much about “now” – e.g. Hudson River & Michael Jackson both first broke on Twitter… although lots of fake deaths have also been posted, so the debate buzzes, whilst people await ‘official’ confirmation…
    It’s easy to follow tweets which are specific to that story, by putting the hashtag into the search box (you can also search for terms without a hash-tag, that’s fine too)
    The results appear “in real time” in a search feed…
    Retweets, at the heart of Twitter have a couple of key purposes which can be optimised in education
    Using a hashtag as a course code to have conversations with students
    Finding new/interesting people to link with whom you have in common I have around 700 people with whom I have conversations re: social media/tech in education on my other Twitter account @digitalfprint.
  • Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation, e.g. here I have sent a message to the local networking group, to arrange giving a talk – which was going to be about WW2 posters, but was asked to talk about Twitter intstead..., and I quite often talk to David Rush re: a conference paper that we’re giving…
    Note: Direct Messages only work if the person you are sending them to is following you… otherwise you will have to refer to them in a public message…
  • You can’t force anyone to follow you, you need to provide the content to make them interested, but aiming to follow 10-20 new people each day should help, as many people receive notifications each time someone follows an account, and people can be curious, come back and follow you..
    To find people to follow, check out those hashtags, look at lists (we’re just coming to those), and, most useful – check out those you have already decided to follow and see who THEY follow. You can then click on this button, and you will be able to follow them too.
  • I wouldn’t do this all in one block, necessarily, I would spread the tweets over the day..
  • (recommendations)
    So, Twitter lists… these were a function added by Twitter last year, and which I have not really had the time to fully use, but can see the potential for @winchmfs
  • Just a couple of options here… just added myself to Listorious on Sunday – be interesting to see if it makes any difference?!
  • With Twitter lists you can build up ideas of who is influential and WHY…
    As indicates, lists were only launched around a year ago, and there was a real opportunity to create the ‘de facto’ list in your area of core interest.
    The more influential the person listing you, the more likely you are to get a number of new followers…
    @timbuckteeth (Steve Wheeler @ Uni Plymouth) added my ‘Digital Fingerprint’ to his ‘top picks’, I got another 50 followers that day, which gives me a wider base to interact with on the topic that I’m interested in!
  • OK, so one of the elements I was attempting to set up with Twitter for @winchmfs is using lists – still an area where we can build ‘de-facto’ lists for our students to tap into, aligned by subject specifics. We’re only allowed 20 lists per account, so have to think which of these are the most useful…
    Aside from being able to post administrative notices to students who may follow, I have also started to build lists centred around the teaching areas (they are still in the early stages!) – including key people to follow re: film, online, journalism, jobs, university-courses, uni-of-winch, advertising, radio, tv, print press.
    As more students join Twitter they should find ready-made lists which will help them in both their career development and in accessing material appropriate for their current courses.
  • There are SO MANY tools that you can use as add-ons to Twitter, but I’m just going to tell you about a handful that I’ve found particularly interesting/useful… I’m always discovering more, and I may use one and forget about it.. That was partly why I started my own website back in the 90s, as a form of bookmarking sites! Blogging is even better… maybe we need a workshop on that too!
  • One of the big pluses for Twitter is the ability to use it on the move via a Smartphone
    Echofon is the main app that I use on my iPhone… giving me as much functionality as the web app, often more!
    Are many other apps, e.g. Tweetbird, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc. and everyone has their favourites…
  • If using the iPhone/Echofon, it will automatically use Twitpic to publish photos you’ve taken with your phone, with whatever you write in the accompanying Tweet. You can also upload a photo via the web address…
    I got great response to a photo I took of muffins as I was trying to decide which to buy… (the hashtag #fb on there means my Tweet will be published as my status update on Facebook, as I have the app ‘Selective Twitter’ installed in Facebook)..
    Again, there are other programmes, e.g. Yfrog, etc.
  • With only 140 characters, it’s best not to lose large numbers of those with long URLs.
    There are many URL shortening services, but 2 of the best known are TinyURL and Bit.Ly – with Bit.Ly you can also track the number of times an item is clicked, and I’ve really taken it as my tool of choice at the moment…
  • Friend or Follow is really useful tool – you can see in one go who you’re following, who isn’t following you (with a requirement to have 2000 followers before you can follow over 2000 people, this can come in useful!), and decide if you still think they are worth following. You can also see who is following you that you’re not following, and where there’s a reciprocal agreement.
    Some people keep their Twitter accounts very “clean”, but I prefer to have a lot of information, and have specific people I know I want to read their stuff more than others…
  • If you get to the stage that you have more than one Twitter account, multiple account managers can help.
    Some of the best known are Tweetdeck, Seeismic and Twitterific (for Macs), and Hootsuite, which I use.
    Hootsuite Offers
    Multiple account management, including Facebook and Linked In, all with a single log-in
    The ability to create multiple columns so that you can see the activity across your account (in/out/waiting, etc.)
    URL shortening (although I have received it as the links mask the real links!)
    The ability to write tweets and set them as ‘pending’ for a later date (especially useful for when going on holiday).
  • The other week I did a webinar on this – my presentation is available on this URL, so you can find out more. A podcast is supposed to be available, but has not yet/never made its way to me.
    Some of the teaching uses we identified for Twitter include:
    Group Tweeting (for less ‘academic’ information related to the course)
    Concise writing (stories, news, reflection)
    Backchannelling – tutor can interact with stories that are appearing repeatedly
    Collaboration (Last Saturday I got an invite to the Bridge Café, met some people I already knew from Winchester Web, but we’ve started to talk about some collab projects, which we’ll continue to develop online)
    Crowd-sourcing (Got a lot of the information for my interview for this job from asking my ‘followers’ for the big ideas in Blended Learning – which required that I had already built up a good following… and continue to get a lot of information that way…)
    But that’s if you want to go off and check out more…
  • I don’t want to get too bogged down in the “how-to”, as there are plenty of videos such as this on YouTube… on setting up a Twitter account…
  • Hope I’ve given you something to think about… now Questions?
  • Twitter for @winchmfs

    1. 1. TWITTER @WINCHMFS 26th May 2010
    2. 2. Time is Short. Money is Short.  Invest in Twitter?  What is Twitter?  How do you use it?  What are some of the conventions of Twitter?  Where can you find out more? Image:
    3. 3. What is Twitter? Image:
    4. 4. What is Twitter? 140 Characters known as “Tweets”  Displayed on author’s profile page  Read by subscribers (known as “Followers”) Privacy Options (not
    5. 5.
    6. 6. Thanks to for the structure of a couple of slides… Why Twitter?
    7. 7. Why would you bother with Twitter?  Instead of Facebook/LinkedIn/MySpace  Because  Fast – Only 140 characters  Interesting people talk there  Fun!  Sharing interesting information draws followers. More followers means more reach and more influence  Connect with people you wouldn’t normally meet  Public – what you talk about is picked up by search engines.Image:
    8. 8. Different fromFacebook? More interest/thematic based Not time/geographically dependent Not as “personal” ‘I had toast’ does not cut it Image:
    9. 9.
    10. 10. What do you want to do on Twitter?  Build personal brand  Find friends with similar interests  Show your expertise  Drive traffic to your business/course  Find new readers for your blog  Share your passion  Communicate what you’re working on with colleagues Image:
    11. 11. Getting Started with Twitter Image:
    12. 12.
    13. 13. 1 2 3 4 5
    14. 14. TASKS  Set up your Twitter account/user name  Short is sweet!  Set up your profile  Full Name  Location  Link to personal or winchmfs website   Bio: 160 characters, think ‘keywords’  Photo (of your face!)  Can use e.g. to change the default background Image:
    15. 15. What are the conventions of Twitter? Image:
    16. 16.
    17. 17. @winchmfs
    18. 18. What is Twitterabout?  Twitter is about relationship building, you can’t just “broadcast” announcements out, you need to engage with your followers.
    19. 19. Twitter Home
    20. 20. FIRST TWEET  Tweet  Simply type (140 characters or less), then press ‘Tweet’  The shorter you keep it, the more options you give others to “RT”  Learn that ‘text language’  Congratulations, you’ve just sent your first tweet!
    21. 21. Retweets: A Markof Approval
    22. 22. #Hashtags: Following Conversations  Well-known: #followfriday  We want REASONS   Invent a Hashtag  Keep it short, e.g. #cmn10  Worth checking it’s not in use (  For an event, agree beforehand.
    23. 23. TASK  Visit:  Identify a hashtag of interest, and add an entry to the conversation  21st May: I loved
    24. 24. #: Follow a Story 
    25. 25. Direct Messages
    26. 26. FOLLOW & BE FOLLOWED  @drbexl  @winchmfs  @markshaw  @jamesclay  @nwjerseyliz  @lisaharris  @mattbuck_hack Start Following Finding people to follow
    27. 27.  The 20 Minute perday TwitterWorkout  1. Send out 3 social chit chat messages as you go about your day 2. Share 3 things that you have found that you want to share with others 3. Retweet 3 messages from others, that you wanted to share with others 4. Send out 2 messages that demonstrate your expertise or knowledge 5. Spend time replying to anyone that messages you 6. Spend time answering any questions around your area of expertise 7. Spend some time recommending other peeps to follow 8. Answer any direct messages that are not spam 9. Invite a daily question on your area of expertise or knowledge 10. Find several new peeps to follow each day based on your criteria
    28. 28. TASK  Find 20 people to follow    Find an appropriate message and ‘RT’ it  Write a message which you would like RT’d on the @winchmfs site Image:
    29. 29. How Can Twitter Lists Help? Image:
    30. 30. Identifying Lists  
    31. 31. Lists  Right-hand column  Lists I created  Lists I am following  Don’t necessarily need to be ‘following’ someone to list them  Some use as an alternate to following  Select ‘view all’
    32. 32. TwitterLists: Being Followed
    33. 33. TwitterLists: Following
    34. 34. TASK: Strategy  Who do you want to reach with the @winchmfs Twitter account?  What kind of tweets can you send?  How often do you want to send?  What categories are you going to use to find new followers?  Who is responsible – e.g. one person each day?  Do you want separate accounts for each subject, feeding into @winchmfs?
    35. 35. Twitter Tools/Third Party Apps Image:
    36. 36.
    37. 37.
    38. 38. URL Shortening Services  
    39. 39.
    40. 40. http://digital-
    41. 41. 
    42. 42. -for-jisc-1-march-2009
    43. 43. /
    44. 44. So, what do I need to do?  Tweet often  Tweet honestly,  Don’t think too much  Follow interesting people.  Not compulsory to follow back  Link to interesting stuff  Re-tweet other’s knowledge  Respond to debates in your area of expertiseImage: