Tag Archives: twitter


Five ways to get Twitter to work for your brand

If you’re using Twitter to promote yourself or your brand, its very difficult to get yourself noticed in a morass of bots, spam and fake news. But there is still worth in using Twitter.

 It’s a way of building awareness of what you’re about and what you do. But proving your worth and your authenticity is tricky in such a space. Like singing sweetly in a pounding nightclub, you risk being drowned out.

But it’s still worth trying to get in nailed, get yourself noticed, so try these techniques…

Use hashtags
People use hashtags as a way of navigating through the mire. If you add the hashtags that are genuinely relevant to your content, then the people you want can find you. Try adding them into the flow of #content by adding the hashtags within sentences, rather than stuffing them all at the end. Doing it right can, by some estimates, boost your engagement by up to 20%.

Add photos
Adding a photo to a tweet can, according to some estimates, increase engagement by 87%, as users see the message visually as well as in writing – converting attention to engagement much more quickly and effectively. Adding gifs or embedded videos can have the same effect, and users watch the videos inside Twitter so don’t leave you to do so.

Encourage re-tweets
The way to spread the message is for it to travel beyond your followers. So encourage them to re-tweet, by producing interesting content with authority. Easier said than done, of course, and have a decent size Twitter following will improve the scalability of that, and having ‘influential’ and supportive followers will help to. But the core remains – have good things to say which people will want to repeat.

See also: 30 Twitter accounts to make you smarter

Always engage
Twitter accounts which simply broadcast their wisdom and do not respond don’t really have impact. Conversation is a much more human prospect for followers – so thanking people for sharing messages, answering peoples’ question, engaging in debates around the industry you are in or the products you deliver are all ways in which people begin to see the people behind your account and which makes them react, engage and re-tweet.

Take notice
There’s any number of Twitter management and analytics tools which will tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Use whichever you like but there’s no tool which stops the need for you to pay attention. Look at what tweets work, and do more like them. Look at which ones don’t work. Do fewer of those. Simple really…

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What our tweets say about our health

Tapping into the Twitter stream could help researchers understand how healthy people’s lifestyles are and how to target improved public health, according to a recent study.

Using geotagged tweets, researchers at the Universities of Utah and Washington were able to build a map of the U.S. by neighborhood, with indicators of how happy and active people in that neighborhood are and what their diets are like.

“Overall I think the patterns make sense, more fast food restaurants in the area are correlated with more fast food mentions, but I was surprised that coffee was so highly ranked,” said lead author Quynh C. Nguyen of the University of Utah College of Health in Salt Lake City.

The researchers collected 1 percent of randomly selected tweets that were tagged with a geographic location between April 2015 and March 2016. That yielded 80 million tweets from 603,000 users in the contiguous U.S.

They then built several versions of a machine learning algorithm to sort the tweets by indicators of happiness, activity and diet. The results were checked by humans to make sure tweets weren’t misunderstood by the machine – for instance, in one case, the algorithm identified tweets about basketball player Stephen Curry as food tweets, before researchers corrected it.

The study team next mapped their sorted tweets to 2010 census tracts and ZIP code areas.

About 20 percent of tweets were classified as happy. People tend to only use a few words to talk about food or activity, so the researchers only used 25 search terms.

Proximity to fitness centers or parks only modestly predicted mentions of physical activity, but density of fast food restaurants by neighborhood did predict how many mentions of fast food people in the neighborhood made.

At the state level, more positive mentions of physical activity and healthy foods, as well as happiness, were associated with lower all-cause mortality and the prevalence of chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes, according to the report online October 17th in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Public Health and Surveillance.

“Right now we’re correlating it with county-level and state-level health outcomes,” which will hopefully be helpful for health researchers in the future, Nguyen told Reuters Health.

“We don’t think the data can be taken as 100 percent a food diary; what we can see is what people are willing to share,” she said. People are very willing to share about coffee, in particular, which may be due to its “social capital,” she noted.

“There’s a certain image-crafting associated with being online,” Nguyen said.

Twitter users also are not a perfect sample of people in the U.S., she said.

“It’s important for researchers to utilize meaningful data to understand the underlying conditions that shape the health of communities and individuals and to identify inequities in health that we can do something about,” Jennifer L. Black of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver said by email.

“Because twitter and social media are so new as sources of data and sources of health information, I don’t think we yet know what the full potential is for tweets to shape health behaviors,” said Black, who was not part of the new study.

Twitter may not tell us what people are eating and doing, but it provides a sense of what people are saying and writing, Black told Reuters Health.

“Twitter and social media may be able to tell us something about peoples’ experiences living in neighborhoods with barriers to accessing healthy/fresh food,” Black added. “In the coming years it will be important for researchers as well as students and emerging food and nutrition professionals to gain insight about how people use social media.”

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Twitter’s future could take many forms, depending on who bids biggest

With speculation mounting that Twitter will soon have a new corporate owner, the 10-year-old social networking service – which has long struggled to define its core purpose – may end up heading in one of several distinctly different directions depending on who ends up paying for it.

Companies including Salesforce.com, Walt Disney Co and Google have shown interest in Twitter, which is working with investment banks to evaluate its options, according to people familiar with the matter.

With Salesforce.com, Twitter might turn its focus to customer service communications and mining its database of tweets for business intelligence. Google would likely be most interested in the social and news dimensions of Twitter. Disney, by contrast, might see it as a way to expand the reach of its sports and entertainment programming.

It is not clear how quickly Twitter might approach a sale, but it is moving to formalise the process, sources have said. A deal is by no means assured in light of the company’s uncertain financial prospects and steep price tag – its market value is more than $16 billion after talk of a sale drove the stock up over the past few days.

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, speaking at a conference in Washington on Monday, declined to comment on possible sale talks.


Salesforce.com, run by CEO Marc Benioff, is focussed on cloud-based sales and marketing software; unlike Twitter, its main product is aimed at businesses users, not consumers. Under Salesforce.com, Twitter could become a corporate tool used to power sentiment analysis and nurture customer relationships.

Salesforce.com already uses the Twitter “firehose” for its new artificial intelligence platform, Einstein.

“It would give them the social graph and a better idea of how social media relates to its customers,” said Ryan Holmes, chief executive of Hootsuite, a private technology firm that helps brands and consumers manage their social media accounts.

Holmes also said that if Salesforce.com owned all of Twitter’s data, it could have better insights into what sort of conversations companies such as airlines or telecom firms might be having with their customers and thereby gain more understanding of their business challenges.

But many Twitter users – especially newer ones – are not active tweeters, which over time could limit the value of the data Twitter can provide. Salesforce.com could also likely gain much of the benefit of Twitter’s data from licensing its trove of tweets as opposed to buying the whole company.

Salesforce.com investors are already spooked by the speculation it could acquire Twitter: its shares are down 6 percent since news of the company’s interest flared up last week.


Twitter would fit easily with Google’s online advertising-driven business model. Ads could be sold across paid search, YouTube, display and mobile on Twitter – while filling a gap for Google, which has struggled with social media.

“Google already has the eyeballs with advertisers. Cross-selling to the Twitter inventory could be an amazing play for them,” Hootsuite’s Holmes said.

Google, which has expertise in monitoring its video service YouTube, would know how to deal with the tricky policy issues facing Twitter, such as abusive tweets and censorship.

Still, such a tie-up faces potentially fatal regulatory hurdles, analysts said. In Europe, where the company has a bigger share of the search market than in the United States, the company is already facing two antitrust investigations.

“Google could help Twitter’s user acquisition problem. The unknown is whether regulators in the United States and European Union would allow the transaction,” said BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield.

Facebook Inc, meanwhile, has been trying to replicate Twitter on its own platform and could also face antitrust challenges if it tried to buy the company, Greenfield said. So far Facebook has not been mentioned as a potential buyer, but with its large cash reserves and penchant for surprise moves it cannot be counted out.


Twitter’s foray into live streaming of National Football League games and its presence in news gathering could interest media companies such as Disney, which owns sports channel ESPN.

Twitter’s presence on mobile devices could help any media company, all of which are struggling to find mobile growth, according to BTIG’s Greenfield. No media company has a mobile product with as much reach as Twitter, he noted.

“The world of media is shifting to mobile and these newer platforms are becoming the future,” Greenfield said.

Still, media companies do not have the best track record with social media. News Corp’s acquisition of MySpace in 2005 ended in disaster. And some question whether the media companies and top personalities that have been so important to Twitter would stick around if a rival media firm were the owner.

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5 Ways for Teachers to get Started on Twitter

Social Media and education have a complicated relationship. Most educators come into contact with it for the first time through a negative experience – a disciplinary action involving students or even peers. As such, many administrators have actively cautioned teachers against the use of Social Media, and many educators themselves have condemned Social Media as a mere distraction to education. However, much like other tools out there, the reality lies somewhere in between.
Let’s take Twitter as an example. If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, it’s a microblogging platform. This means that users can share thoughts, links, and other information in short bursts of information (140 characters, plus links and/or media). In the last few years, Twitter has emerged as a powerful platform for educators. In fact, teachers make up a significant amount of the traffic volume on Twitter, and roughly 25% of educators are users of the platform. This makes Twitter an excellent platform for educators to connect with others, share, and learn. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Get on Twitter

This is the most obvious step – time to get an account! To start, go to twitter.com and sign up for an account. Create an avataraccount with your real name and set it to public; that’s right, limited privacy settings. Many of us have been taught to fear being ourselves online for everything from “stranger danger” to reprisal from employers. Your name is already available in the broad universe of the internet on a variety of media (try Googling it), so Twitter is really not a risky venture. Next, consider this your professional account. This means you will be representing yourself as your best professional self, the way you would in a meeting at school or in the classroom. If you want to, set some personal boundaries to keep it professional (for example, no talking about politics or religion). Next, personalize your Twitter page – set a background photo and a profile photo. The default “egg” is a deterrent for many people to engage with you online. If you’re uncomfortable with it being a photo of yourself, consider an online caricature. For example, you can post an avatar of yourself (both Funko Pop and Simpsons characters are popular) or select a photo of a beloved pet or a vacation photo. Finally, download the free iOS or Android App for your phone and/or tablet to access Twitter on the go.

Explore the Interface

The interface is intentionally clean to make it easier to navigate. At the top, you will see the subjects: Home, Moments, Notifications, and Messages.
twitter interface
Your  “Home” screen will include Tweets posted chronologically (the newest at the top). In this feed, you will only see what the people who you follow publicly post. “Moments” highlights what is trending throughout all users as well as topics divided by subject. “Notifications” includes material directed at you – responses to your tweets, retweet notifications, follower notifications, and tweets directed directly to you. “Messages” are private messages between users – think of this like Instant Message. You will also see your number of tweets, people you follow, and your list of followers. On the left, there is a list of trending topics and hashtags (it will label those that are “promoted,” meaning someone has paid for them to be on this list).

Follow Users

Who should I follow? Is a common question. Start with people you know and admire – an educational leader (like the secretary of education John King, Ph.D.), authors, academics, publications, thought leaders, and more. Next, you can go to lists like Mashable’s 10 Rockstar Teachers on Twitter to help you get started and expand your list. Don’t worry about following a lot of people. Be selective (at least initially). Lurk, read, and observe what these individuals are doing. I also like to go and see who my idols are following on Twitter and find a few new gems for my Twitter Professional Learning Network (PLN). The more you observe on Twitter, the more your following will grow organically.


hashtagsNothing seems to cause more angst for newbies to Twitter than the concept of “hashtags.” Think of a hashtag as a way to categorize content on Twitter. For example, if I’m going to share something about a new feature in Google Docs, I will add the hashtag #GAFE (GAFE = Google Apps for Education) to my tweet. This will allow anyone searching for news on #GAFE to find my tweet. Within Twitter, hashtags are hyperlinked – if you click on one with a tweet, it will pull up all tweets with that hashtag (divided into “Top Tweets” and “All Tweets”). This can be a great way to keep up with a particular topic trending on Twitter. If you would like a list of educational hashtags, check out this post that catalogues hashtags by subject and content.


The biggest hurdle for new Twitter users to overcome is actually sharing content! However, it’s vital for engaging with Retweetyour Professional Learning Network (PLN). You can share by “retweeting” a post. Do this by clicking the “retweet” button on a Twitter post to share and ensure that the original poster gets credit. Better yet, create and share your own content! Most newspapers and blogs now have a “share via…” button on their posts. This will allow you to share via a website itself which often automatically includes information such as a link and a title. You can then add your own text and hashtags (e.g. #edtech or #edchat) and then click share.
To create a post from scratch, click on the “post” button on your Home screen. The button looks like a quill on a square, in the top right corner of your screen. You can then add text, links, photos, video, and more in the tweet window. Though you are limited to 140 characters (excluding links), share away!
Once you get the hang of Twitter, you will see your PLN grow as you engage with others online, and you will probably find additional features on Twitter; check out more advanced lessons from Justin Reich in his article Teaching Teachers to Tweet. If you do, be sure to share your new tips and tricks with your PLN (on Twitter)!

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4 Reasons I Use Twitter in My Classroom

twitterUsing Twitter in my classroom has certainly elevated my tech savvy status with parents as well as my instagramming 5th graders who have never known a world without digital devices. We live in a very social world, so why not use social media in the classroom? Social media is a part of daily life for millions of people on our planet and it’s not going away any time soon. Using it in my classroom allows me to model appropriate use and teaches my students necessary skills they will need for their lives beyond our classroom.
While there may be many extraneous reasons to use social media in my classroom (it makes my life easier because it’s organized as well as time and space efficient), it really comes down to four main reasons:

Twitter connects me with parents

Using social media in a classroom gives parents a window into their child’s day. The learning becomes transparent as I tweet all content area charts (see below) made in class so they are available to all students at home, to be used as teaching tools/support for their homework and review. Homework assignments are also Tweeted after reviewing them in the classroom. We all benefit when there is ample time to discuss the assignments and less time spent copying the assignment.
Tweeting charts lets the parents know what their children are doing in school and in addition, students often use them as reference tool for future assignments and homework as they are archived in our class Twitter account.

Twitter expands the walls of my classroom

Our class Twitter handle is @5Boyer and while I start the year orchestrating our tweets, my savvy students quickly start to ask, “Do we have to copy that or will you tweet it?” or “Can you take a picture and tweet it, I want everyone to see what we’ve done?” My students have many questions and it would ultimately be a shame if I was the only voice that answered them. We tweet to others to ask questions, why not go straight to the experts? Once my class Tweeted to the International Space Station asking, “How many sunsets do you see in a day?” AND The ISS Tweeted back! Imagine how exciting that was for 23 fifth graders (not to mention their teacher). Tweeting student work now becomes an instant celebration as it is shared with a much wider audience. As a teacher, I retweet relevant information and LOVE how that sparks a conversation in the classroom. Note in the tweet below, I was at home reaching out to my class as the spacewalk was starting before school hours. I added others to the tweet by inserting their twitter handles, check out their response.
twitterIn most of my tweets I add the hashtag #heathcotepride as our amazing tech guru has created a living bulletin board for all school related tweets and to his credit almost all of our staff is tweeting!

Twitter connects me with others who share the same passions

Professionally, I have built a network of teachers, learners, and experts whom I can learn from every day. There are incredible things happening in the world of education and I have a front row seat with an international view. Only social media can deliver that. I can connect with others who will be attending the same conference, see what’s going on in classrooms around the world or simply be inspired by other amazing teachers. Additionally, Twitter chats make it possible for me to participate in professional conversations in my pajamas. Twitter chats are when a group of twitter users come together at a predetermined time to discuss a certain topic using a specific hashtag with each tweet. Chats serve as a networking opportunity in addition to an awesome learning environment!
#edtechchat is one favorite and @iChrisLehman hosts many thought provoking chats focused on reading and writing.

Twitter helps me conduct research

Twitter offers direct access to the experts and the information is current. Many museums are on social media and post highlights on museum exhibits, special events and relevant articles. Scientists, journalists, athletes, engineers, bankers…millions of professionals are on social media. When my students are given a choice within their research projects, they often choose topics/people that are trendy and not easily researchable in books, (and if there is a book, it’s not in language a fifth grader can easily understand). Recent research topics have included: How Has Social Media Impacted Our Daily Lives? What are Football Combines?, When Will Time Travel Be Possible? and Astronaut Scott Kelly and Life in Space. Students learn how to use social media as a primary source when making connections with the experts in the field that they are studying. Available literature may not be accessible, but people rarely deny a student the opportunity to conduct an interview once the initial contact has been made.
In the process of writing this post I became curious as to what my students might say so I asked them, “What do you all think of social media in the classroom?”, here’s what they said;

  • “My grandma lives in Florida and Twitter helps her see what I’m doing in school, she likes that”
  • “Twitter can help others learn from what we’re doing”
  • “It saves on paper – we have all the charts without making 24 copies of it”
  • “It helps us to document our work”
  • “Tweets of pictures, charts and homework help us to review our work from home easily”
  • “We can share work with our parents”
  • “It takes too long to get to School Wires, Twitter is really fast and easy”
  • “If I’m sick or on vacation early, I can keep up on the work on Twitter, so I can go to sportsmens lodge costa rica without any worries”
  • “Twitter is a good thing – when my mom asks what I did in school, I usually say I don’t know, but now we can check on Twitter”
  • “Twitter is a good way to communicate with people who we can’t interact with directly. Like astronaut Scott Kelly who tweeted to us”
  • “I use Twitter to see what’s going on in school. I use Instagram to follow friends who have moved and see what’s going on.”
  • “Vine and Twitter are good for following my interests, like a sports team, a car company. I can see how they’re doing.”

Time is precious and twitter lets me complete a multitude of tasks in a short amount of time. It’s a tool that I have come to depend on for communicating daily with parents, colleagues, and astronauts. Wall Street and CNN have their tickers that deliver up-to-the-minute relevant information – that is what twitter has become for me and my students.

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Periscope to autoplay within Twitter

One of the significant issues with Periscope, the visibility of its livestreams, may now be close to being solved as Twitter users will now be able to watch Periscope live streams straight from their feeds.

For teachers, as we’ve said before, it’s one of the simplest and useful ways to have a live broadcast all your own, allowing you to teach from home during a snowday, or for students to present their work while on a field trip. Pupils can even do live broadcasts that are watched by other classrooms around the world. It’s all free, to boot.

And now, it’s findable. Starting today, video cards will auto-play within Twitter’s iOS app for iPhone and iPad. If you tap on the card will allow users to see the stream full screen, including the comments and hearts from others — although hearting or commenting on the stream will still have to be done within the Periscope app. Which is clumsy, but probably solvable

In a Medium post, Periscope describe the new feature as adding “a whole new dimension to Twitter”.

Reassuringly, they also add that Android versions will be launched ‘as soon as they are ready’.

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26 quick tips for teachers using Twitter

Whether you’re new to the Twitter game or a seasoned pro, there’s always something to learn. Teachers know that better than anyone. Learning is a lifelong process and figuring out social media is no different. I was pretty excited to come across this handy chart of quick tips for teachers using Twitter because it showcases the A-to-Z tips which will help you get off to a good start. Literally. It’s an A-to-Z walkthrough. Pretty good.
In this graphic from Fedena (a school management software maker), you’ll likely spot more than a few tips you already know. However, you should be able to discover a couple new ones that will help you up your Twitter game. For example, I really like the second tip on how to properly use Twitter. There’s certainly a level of etiquette you should follow. Don’t be spammy. Don’t over-tweet or overshare, and don’t take credit for someone else’s work. That’s a super handy tip to always keep int he back of your mind whether you’re talking about social media or just life in general!

See Also: A printable 1-page Twitter guide for all skill levels

The graphic is slightly outdated so I took the liberty of rewriting some of the tips in text form. The graphic references things that Twitter (the company) has since changed. For example, you don’t need to worry about using quotations instead of writing ‘RT’ or ‘retweet’ because the Twitter platform makes it much easier to retweet and add a quote. Stuff like that.
In any case, enjoy the tips and hopefully they help you improve your social media game but also take your professional learning to the next level.

1. Account

Your account, also known as your username or handle, is what defines you on Twitter. Many teachers use Twitter for professional networking and engaging with others on topics being discussed around the world.

2. Big No-Nos

Twitter isn‘t about you. Don’t spam. Seriously. Don’t take credit for the intellectual property of someone else or any property that is not yours. If you aren’t getting followers, improve the content you share, don‘t buy your followers. Pretty simple rule. Just be a high-quality user and good things will happen. That’s my personally-proven and time-tested tip 🙂

3. Collaborate

Twitter is all about collaboration. Connect with others and co-run a hashtag chat (scroll down to the letter ‘H’ for more on hashtags) to get more engaged and collaborating.

4. Direct Messages

Direct messages are a great way to, you guessed it, directly connect with others. It’s like privately emailing someone else on Twitter. The other bonus is that the character limit is much higher so you don’t need to subscribe to the 140 character limit normally found in tweets.

5. #EdChat

One of the first educational chats and one of the most used. #edchat is held on Tuesdays from 12 to 1 and 7 to 8 pm EST, #edtechchat takes place on Mondays from 8 to 9 pm EST. What are you waiting for, Join the conversation!

6. Favorite / Liking

Favoriting or liking (they recently made this a heart rather than a star icon) a tweet helps you archive tweets which share information or links you might be interested in or you might just simply like what they say.

7. Grammarly

Twitter allows you to share your magic with only 140 characters and while adhering to that rule, your grammar might really get tested. Try installing the Grammarly Plugin on your web browser to help keep your language on point. Great learning opportunity for students and teachers alike!

8. Hashtags

Themes, common words, trending topics are often covered in just a few or single words. Some of the most used HashTags among Teachers are #EdChat, #EdTech, #Elearning, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). These should help you get in on the conversation.

9. Images

Add flavor to your stories and conversations by adding vibrant, informative images to engage your followers at a visual level.

10. Journal

Use Twitter as your personal micro-journal, for your classroom adventures, experiments. Use your account to share stories. I’d recommend keeping these accounts as private so they remain a private journal rather than a Twitter account that isn’t engaging with others.

11. Knowledge

Knowledge is power. Practice it by sharing it with the world. Learn from other teachers & educators, develop a PLN – Personal Learning Network.

12. Lists

One of the most underused tools of Twitter and yet one of the most useful ones. Use lists to group and sort people/handles based on your customized filters.

13. Muted Accounts

Helpful when you want to avoid handles and users who are a nuisance to conversations and learning. Just head over to your settings, enter the username and enjoy Twitter without ever hearing from them again.

14. Notifications

The notifications tab is a good way to keep track of how well you are doing with your followers and influencers. It lets you know who followed you, favorite-ed your tweet, retweeted you. Keep an eye out maybe someone famous follows you!

15. One Hundred and Forty

Twitter only allows you to type in 140 characters. Be smart, concise and creative.

16. Protected Accounts/ Private Accounts

These are accounts of people who would like to approve who can see their content. These accounts are privacy protected and you will have to ask for permission to follow them.


Sometimes users like to quote other tweets rather than retweeting them directly. This is mostly done to comment along with the tweet, try quoting to see how it helps you engage in a conversation or maybe even start one!

18. Retweet

Retweeting is as essential as tweeting on Twitter. It shows the kind of articles people you follow like to read. Retweets also help in giving authorship to intellectual properties which don’t belong to you.

19. Story

Craft an interesting story for your followers. Use Storify to craft a creative story using a series of tweets and keep your followers engaged!

20. Tweet

A tweet helps you interact with your PLN, your followers, your influencers and with the web in general. So keep tweeting as much as you can.

21. Unlearn

As an educator and teacher, you have embarked on a journey of learning and teaching. But sometimes, to learn something new, you have to unlearn what you know to get the best out of what’s new!

22. Verified Accounts

The identities of these accounts have been verified by Twitter. Mostly companies and celebrities get it done, so take caution while engaging with verified accounts.

23. Wikispaces

Missed out on one of the EdChat or EdtechChat, no worries, edtechchat.wikispaces.com archives all the chats and even has a podcast which discusses all the topics from the week.

24. Xavier!

Sometimes it helps to make pop culture references to your conversations to connect with people, like we just did here, X- Men fan anyone?

25. Yes

Start by saying yes to all the ideas and conversation which make you feel uncomfortable, decide only after you have practiced or taken part in an in-depth discussion with the user(s).

26. Zest

Tweet with all the zest you can, talk to other teachers and pump up your PLN with all the zest you can muster. It’s important that your influencers and followers know how dedicated you are to teaching!
top twitter tips

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Should social networking be taught in schools?

Although there’s plenty of evidence that Facebook is on the slide amongst the under-25s, social media is very much a common pastime amongst school children, who seem unable to put their mobiles down for fear of missing an update. While many schools get their kids to put the phones away for the school day and don’t use the gadgets for learning, the sheer scale of the social media presence in children’s lives begs the question: should schools teach their pupils how to use social media properly?

Should they learn both the benefits of social connection and information gathering, and the perils of cyber bullying and internet safety?

With some estimates suggesting that a third of 9-12 year olds have a Facebook account and with many social media channels having no lower age range at all, it can be very young children who are entering the world of the trolls.

Over a third of 9-12 year olds are believed to have their own Facebook accounts, regardless of the fact that there is a minimum age limit of 13 for the website. Children appear to be able to pick up how to use social media websites easily, often growing up as the developments happen, making it easy for them to adjust to the latest features on these networks. However, often children do not seem to notice the ways in which social media can be a danger to themselves or to others.  At this age, children may not be completely aware of the repercussions that may ensue if they were to post something offensive online. It may be useful in this case to educate youngsters on what one should and should not post online.

Many young children are unaware that something that you post online might be misconstrued by others and can often never be fully erased from internet history. Children could therefore be educated on how it is wrong to write anything on a social networking site which you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. It is too easy for young people to get carried away when they are addressing someone they can’t see or might not know personally, and they are less aware of the hurt or the offence that this could cause the recipient of the comment. Furthermore, children should be made aware that even simply ‘liking’ or re-tweeting a comment or post may implicate you in the content of the comment and makes it too easy to libel someone – a concept which children would not think of when using social media, especially if some users are as young as 9 years old. Schools may want to teach their students the potential risks that posting their indiscretions on Facebook might have upon their future applications to University or College, and even for jobs in the future.

A recent law passed in California aims to prevent these embarrassing posts from tainting one’s future by making sure that all social networks have an option to delete past posts for minors. But should students be educated about the risk of posting these comments and photos in the first place whilst they are still at school?

Social media has often been at the source of cyber bullying, especially as the bullies can often hide behind anonymity or their online alias, and subsequently feel a greater sense of power and less like they will be associated with the hurtful comments which they choose to post. The distance between users on social media sites also means that the bully will not necessarily be aware of the level of pain that they might be causing their victim. The availability of social media networks has also exacerbated the problems of bullying for some individuals, as they can no longer escape from bullying at school by simply returning to the safety of their own home. Social networks in some cases just transfer the problem to a new arena, so that the bullying can continue at all times. The dangers of social media and cyber bullying can most recently be seen in the case of 14-year old Hannah Smith, who was found hanged in her bedroom after suffering months of abuse on the controversial site ask.fm in August 2013.  

What may therefore be most useful for school children is to be taught in appropriate use of social media, and the danger of posting hurtful comments online. Schools should also be providing adequate support platforms for children who are being victimised in this manner so that they can come forward and ask for help. This form of education has already been introduced to some schools as part of their Personal Social Health Education programmes and ‘Esafety’ is already a part of the curriculum in both England and Wales, showing that there is already an attempt by schools to do more to teach students on the positives and negatives of social media and the importance of setting up privacy settings to protect themselves from potentially harmful individuals online.   

 As students often access their social media accounts while they are not at school, it could be argued that it is down to their parents to educate them in the dangers and benefits of using social media, as it is during the time when they are at home that children will choose to access these sites most. The parents are also the figures who provide the smartphones and the computers, from which their children access their social networks accounts from. Therefore, should the parents be the ones who are responsible for teaching their children the problems which might arise from social media use?

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26 Ways for teachers to use Twitter

Twitter can be an immensely useful tool for teachers, regardless of the subject or age range of students you teach. There are tons of Twitter Tips out there, written for new users and seasoned veterans. There are too many lists to count that enumerate great accounts to follow, chats to participate in, hashtags to check out, and more.
Follow @DailyGenius On Twitter For More Twitter Tips!
But if you don’t know the basics, Twitter can be an overwhelming world filled with tons of uncategorized, unfindable information. The handy infographic below covers the A-Z of Twitter, ensuring that brand new users will have all the information they need, and veteran users may learn a thing or two, too! Is there something important that you think the graphic has left out? Tell us what it is! Leave us a note in the comments below, mention @DailyGenius on Twitter, or head over to the Daily Genius Facebook page and drop us a line there!

26 Ways for teachers to use Twitter

A – Account
B – Big no-nos
C – Collaborate
D – DM
E – Edchat
F – Favorite
G – Grammarly
H – Hashtags
I – Images
J – Journal
K – Knowledge
L – Lists
M – Muted Accounts
N – Notifications
O – One Hundred Forty
P – Protected/Private Accounts
Q – Quotes
R – Retweet
S – Story
T – Tweet
U – Unlearn
V – Verified Account
W – Wikispaces
X – Xavier
Y – Yes
Z – Zest
abcs of twitter

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From hashflags to geotags: the 18 Twitter terms you should know

twitter1If you’re new(ish) to Twitter or haven’t used it much, you may understand the basics, like Tweet and Retweet, but Twitter is more than just sharing 140 characters about what you are currently peeved about or a photo of your lunch (No, really. It can! I swear!)
Yesterday, we looked at a handful of tips to help you get more out of your time spent on Twitter. One item was to familiarize yourself with what Twitter can do, and some of the terminology used in Twitter-land. Today, we’re going to share a little list we’ve put together of some of the most common terms (and symbols) you’ll see as a Twitter user. Even if you’re a seasoned pro – take a look! There may be a few in here that you aren’t familiar with!

Common Terminology You’ll See on Twitter

#– The hashtag. A hashtag can be any word preceded directly (no space) by a # symbol. If you click on it, it will take you to a listing of other tweets with the same hashtag.
@ – The @ symbol is used to indicate a username on Twitter. A username is how you’re indentified – for example, we’re @DailyGenius. Other users can use the @symbol followed directly by a username (again, no space in between) to mention you in a tweet or send you messages.
Bio –  Your bio is a short description of yourself that you put together to let other users know what you’re all about.
Cashtag- A cashtag is a company ticker symbol immediately preceded (no space!) by a $. If you click on a cashtag, you’ll be brought to a listing of other tweets mentioning the same cashtag. Great for following along with certain companies or exploring what folks are saying about the market in an econ class.
DM, or Direct Message – A direct message is sent privately between one user and either another user or group of users. These messages are not public and don’t show up in your feed.
Favorite – By clicking on the little star button on any tweet, you can ‘favorite’ it. This indicates that you like it. You can see all of the tweets you’ve favorited in a list on your profile page.
Feed- Your feed is the list of tweets you see when you go to Twitter.com and are signed into your account. This list is comprised of the tweets of people you’ve followed and anything they have retweeted. This is the real-time stream of tweets.
Follow – When you follow someone, you’ll see their tweets in your feed. When someone follows you, they’ll see your tweets in their feed.
Geotagging – Geotagging means adding a location to your tweet so that your followers can see where you were when you tweeted it. (nb, use carefully!)
Hashflag – By using a series of letters immediately preceded (no space!) by a #, you can generate a flag or other small symbol. Hashflags aren’t always enabled – just for special events (like the world cup). This list is a pretty good one of what letters will yield you what symbol when they’re enabled, and lets you know which are currently enabled and which are not.
Lists- You can create lists of specific users from your Twitter account by topic or interest (such as family, friends, edtech folks, etc) and then see a stream of just those tweets. This can be a particularly great way to separate professional and personal interest tweets if you use your account for both.
Mention – When another user uses the @ symbol followed by another user’s username, that’s a mention. You can also mention someone by using the @ symbol immediately followed by their username in your tweets.
Pinned Tweet – You can choose to “pin” a tweet to the top of your normally time-ordered stream of tweets on your profile page. If you have something important to announce, this is a good way to keep it from getting lost in the flow.
Reply – When another user mentions you, you can reply to that user. A reply is indicated by the @username at the start of the tweet.
Retweet- You can share another user’s tweet with your own followers by clicking on the ‘retweet’ button. Their tweet will then appear in your feed, but with their words, profile photo, and username.
Timeline – A synonym for ‘feed’. This is the real – time list of tweets from the users you follow.
Trend – A trend is a topic or hashtag that Twitter determines is one of the most popular at that time on Twitter.
Unfollow – If you don’t want to see a particular user’s tweets in your feed anymore, you can unfollow them.

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