Twitter is a free online social networking and micro-blogging service that provides a way to send tweets, short messages 140 characters or less, in real time. Twitter users can choose to receive updates from other Twitter users. Twitter works on mobile phones as well as computers. By default, Twitter publishes all tweets in a public timeline that anyone can browse.
Twitter social features can be beneficial in class, for example:
- send course reminders, last-minute changes, and instant feedback that go straight to the students’ mobile phones through a Twitter app;
- connect classroom with researchers and professionals;
- follow current events in the field;
- follow conferences;
- set up a poll;
- comment on a topic and post links or other pertinent information; and
- provide a support forum for the class where students can ask and answer questions at any time.
(Refer to Signing up with Twitter and follow the steps.)
1. Join Twitter:
- Go to Twitter.com.
- Complete the fields under New to Twitter? Sign Up. For best results, use your real name when signing up, otherwise your friends won’t be able to find you easily.
- Click the Sign up for Twitter button.
- Verify your full name, email, password, and username. Make sure you remember or note all of this information.
- Click the Create my account button.
2. Follow Twitter sites that interest you. You can find folks to follow by typing in a name or topic.
- Click “Next” and you will be presented with some Twitter sites to follow and a “Welcome ” screen.
- Next you will get a “Build your Timeline” screen. You will need to follow 3 sites before the “Next” button will appear. Click the “Follow” button for each site you want to follow.
- When you click the “Next” button, you will go to the “See who’s here” screen. You can follow some of the suggested sites and you will need to follow at least three before the “Next” button will appear.
3. Find people you know.
4. Upload your photo and/or bio.
5. Protect your privacy.
6. Receive tweets as text messages.
7. Start Tweeting!
- Click “Home” (top left of the screen) to get back to your main page.
- Enter your “tweet” in the “Compose new Tweet” box. You are limited to 140 characters. Click the “Tweet” button to post your tweet.
- Other Helpful Hints on Tweeting:
- To respond to someone on Twitter, start your tweet with @<username> so that person will know you are replying to him/her.
- To retweet someone else’s tweet, select the “retweet” link in that tweet. A retweet appears as: RT @<username>.
- To send a private message to one person, click the gear icon at the top right and select “Direct messages” from the pull down menu. Click “New message,” then type the person’s username in the top field, then type your message and send.
- To have your tweet be searchable by category, type a hashtag [#] followed by your category (ex: #teaching idea). You can also search by categories for other’s tweets.
8. Add a web site link to your tweet.
- Because URLs can be quite long and tweets are limited to 140 characters, you may want to shorten the URL. You can do this by going to http://tinyurl.com.
- Copy the URL and paste it in the text box. (It will be obvious where to do this.)
- Click “Make TinyURL!”
- Paste the shortened, or tiny, URL into your tweet.
9. Add a photo to your tweet.
- Go to How to post photos or GIFs on Twitter.
- Follow the directions.
- Embed Twitter into Canvas course site.
- Twitter: Yours to Discover, a video introduction to Twitter.
- Twitter Help section, a place to learn Twitter basics, find troubleshooting information, and find information about Twitter apps for mobile devices.
- Getting Started with Twitter guide, from the Twitter Help Center.
Teaching with Twitter
- Junco, R., Elavsky, C. M., & Heiberger, G. (2012). Putting twitter to the test: Assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and success. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2), 273-287.
- In-class tweeting in a large lecture class, Tiffany Gallicano, University of Oregon, 2010.
- Professors experiment with Twitter as teaching tool, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2009.
- The Twitter experiment – Twitter in the higher ed classroom, YouTube, 2009.
- So you want to microblog (Twitter) with your students? Academhack, 2008.
- Seven things you should know about Twitter (PDF), EDUCAUSE ELI, 2007.