Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coffeechug PLN - Twitter for Educators Task 5: Extra Commands and Terms to Know

Here we are moving forward on to Task 5: Extra Commands. These are just some more things for you to explore and get to know in order to be more savvy on Twitter.

I have made a video to go over the following content in case you are a visual learner

The whole Twitter Course for Educators can be found here 

Direct Message - If we think back to the idea of Twitter being a conversation, then this is more like whispering to someone. This is designed for only you and who you are contacting to read. Nobody else. Nobody else will be able to see what is shared between you and the person you are contacting. In order to do this, you must both be following one another.

Hashtags - Think Bat signal. Hashtags are the words or abbreviations that follow the pound symbol in tweets. For this course we have been using #coffeechugPLN. This allows anyone to follow all tweets with that particular hashtag group. You will see hashtags used for chats, classrooms, group discussions, conferences, backchannels, etc. They come in quite handy especially when taking part in Twitter chats or attending conferences.

This is why it is important to keep tweets to around 120 characters so there is room for hashtags and retweets.

When you start to follow a chat or use third party software(which will be covered in an upcoming task) you can divide up your Twitter feed by hashtags.

For example, I use Tweetdeck which allows me to create columns. I created columns for each of the hashtags that I find valuable. I know the screenshot below is hard to read, but I have my favorite hashtags organized so I can follow trends and specific discussion.

You will hear this term used when talking with people about Twitter or trying to exchange information while at conferences or other places. They will ask you what your Twitter handle is. This is your name with the @insertname. This is how they can search for you and track you down. When you want to tweet someone always start with the @ symbol. As you begin to type your list of people will show up based on letters chose. You can let others see the tweet if you don't start with the handle. If you start with the handle, then only the people who follow the you and the person you are writing can see it.

This one is a newer one to me, but as I continue to explore and learn more about Twitter I see a great benefit to being part of the masses and use this. This is a hashtag, but one that stands for "Follow Friday". On Fridays you will see people tweet #FF followed by a bunch of handles afterwards. This is kind of like a Twitter holiday where it gives you a chance to share out people that you think others should follow. It helps to spread the word about people on Twitter that need to be noticed.

@reply vs @mention

I talked about this in Task 4, but just to clarify one more time.

The way you phrase your tweet makes a big difference in how it is delivered.

A @reply (when you start a Tweet with handle) can be seen by you, the person you sent the Tweet, and anyone who follows both of you. However, it does not go into the news feed for all of your followers.

“@coffeechugbooks Yes, I love to drink coffee too!”
You would use this method when you don't think the message is of any value for everyone to read.

A @mention (when you start a tweet with your message with the Twitter handle included within the message) can be seen by you, the person you sent the Twee, and everyone in your news feed.

"Hello @coffeechug, what is your favorite coffee to drink?"
Using this format your tweet will be seen by more people.

Just one word can have an impact on how it is shared with the public and your newsfeed. Remember they are both public, but just show up differently.

Objectives For This Task

1. This goes back to Task #4, but is important to making connections so I am adding it again. Continue to retweet beneficial tweets. A key question is

When Do You RT?

I would suggest that you retweet for one of the following reasons

  • Important for others in your network to read or use
  • You want to share some news that you feel is worthwhile to spread
  • Helpful article or thought provoking article/blog post
  • Sometimes it is nice to share something funny like a joke.
2. Begin to explore various hashtags and see what you find to be useful. We are covering Twitter Chats next so it might be good to find a few to possibly check out. I am already seeking advice on the good ones for people to check out.

3. Direct Message someone. Just try it out. Test out how it works and how to access the messages. You can always DM me if you don't have anyone to message or not sure who to test.

4. I know it is not Friday yet, but on Friday use the hashtag #FF to share out new people you have connected with through this journey. It is always good to give recognition. We are just like our students and it feels good to see our names!


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