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So You Want To Tweet?

A joint project by Bart Verswijvel and Arjana Blazic @BartVerswijvel & @abfromz Š2014

This publication was written by Arjana Blazic and originally published on the ETWION blog, a joint project of Bart Verswijvel and Arjana Blazic. ŠArjana Blazic, 2014

On 19 December 2013, Bart Verswijvel and Arjana Blazic organized the first ever ETWION - eTwinning Twitterathon a five-hour festival of teaching and learning on Twitter. It brought together more than 150 educators from all over the world, many of whom used Twitter as a CPD tool for the first time. In this publication there are some tips for new Twitter users on how to make the most out of Twitter and CPD events such as #ETWION.


You registered for Twitter some time ago, sent out a few tweets and then stopped using it altogether. But deep down, you still want to learn more about Twitter. You’ve heard about personal learning networks that educators can build on Twitter. You would like to use Twitter as a tool for your professional development and what’s more, you want to use it in the classroom with your students. So let’s learn how to tweet.

Lesson 1: A New Tweet

For starters, click on Compose a new tweet and write who you are, what you teach, where you teach and where you come from. Before you click the blue TWEET button, add the symbol # (hash) and write ETWION next to it: #etwion to your tweet. This symbol, called hashtag, has now become a keyword or a searchable link that is used to track discussion topics on Twitter.

Lesson 2: Add a Photo Even though a tweet can contain up to 140 characters, it’s possible to add a photo to it. Adding a photo is really simple - just click on the camera icon and upload an image from your computer. After you click on the TWEET button, your image will appear on Twitter as a link.

Now it’s your turn - choose an image and upload it to Twitter. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #etwion.

Lesson 3: @Mentions and @Replies It’s easy to join a conversation on Twitter. All you have to do is to “mention” the person who you are tweeting to. This means that you add the Twitter handle of another user to your tweet. A Twitter handle consists of the symbol @ and the username - e.g. @abfromz. You can include more than one person’s Twitter handle in your tweet. Your tweet will appear in the Mentions Tab on their Connect Page. When you find a tweet that you want to reply to, just click on REPLY and a tweet box will pop up already containing the @Twitter handle of the person you’re replying to. Type in your reply and click TWEET to post it.

Now it’s your turn. Post a reply to one of the tweets by @BartVerswijvel, @abfromz, or any other #ETWION participant. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #ETWION to your tweet.

Lesson 4: Retweet This lesson is about retweets. A RETWEET (RT) is an easy way to re-post someone else’s tweet and forward it to your followers. By clicking on RETWEET a new tweet box will pop up and all you have to do is click on the blue RETWEET button.

Now it’s your turn. Choose a tweet that you like and want to share and retweet it.

Lesson 5: Edit and Retweet Here’s a suggestion on how to edit your retweets. If you’re using a Twitter client, such as Tweetdeck, then you will notice that clicking on the RETWEET tab enables you either to EDIT & RETWEET or RETWEET a tweet without editing.

This can come in handy if you want to add a remark or your opinion to someone else’s tweet before retweeting it. When you click on EDIT& RT you will be able to write before or/and after the message, which will now automatically get the sign RT before the name of the person who originally sent this tweet.

Lesson 6: Twitter Clients In the previous chapter we mentioned Tweetdeck, one of the many Twitter clients or Twitter management tools. On the official Twitter website only one column with the stream of tweets can be seen in one interface. We can change the stream of tweets by clicking on one of the tabs - Home, Connect, Discover etc:

However, management tools enable us to have as many columns as we want in one interface. By adding columns that show your TIMELINE (all the tweets by all the people you follow), MENTIONS (tweets with your @Twitter handle that were sent to you), DMs (direct messages that no one else can see) or columns with #hashtags (you can add as many columns as you want), you’ll be able to easily follow all the tweets and to interact with other users. Here’s a screenshot of Tweetdeck, a Twitter client that we find really useful.

All the tweets with the hashtag #ETWION appear in one column and we can immediately see all the tweets and interact with their senders. Other Twitter clients that are very popular are Hootsuite, Echofon, Metrotwit and many others - have a look at Mobile and Apps as well. You can easily add a column to Tweetdeck. Just click on the SEARCH icon (magnifying glass) in the navigation bar, write #etwion and click on ADD COLUMN at the bottom of the box that pops up. Alternatively, you can click on the plus sign = ADD COLUMN, choose SEARCH, write #etwion and click ADD COLUMN.

Lesson 7: Followers and Following By now you have already started following some educators and we @BartVerswijvel & @abfromz are most likely among them. Of course, we followed you back because we want to connect with you. Following someone means that you can see this person’s tweets in your TIMELINE or HOME tab and receive direct messages from them. Followers are people who can see your tweets in their timeline and you can send them direct messages. You can follow someone by clicking the FOLLOW button when viewing someone’s profile.

Lesson 8: Lists It is also possible to create curated lists of Twitter users who have something in common so that we can easily keep track of a specific group of people. Bart created a Twitter list called ETWION which now comprises 113 ETWION participants. We invite you to follow the teachers on this list or alternatively you can subscribe to the list. This means that you will be able to see all the tweets by people who you are not following.

When someone adds you to a list, you are instantly notified about it. If you haven’t been added to the ETWION list, send a tweet to @BartVerswijvel so he can add your Twitter handle to it. The lists that you’re subscribed to or you’re a member of will appear on your profile page. We also encourage you to customize your profile page - add a photo, a nice header, a short bio and possibly the link to your blog.

Lesson 9: What Is A Twitter Chat Anyway? Now that you’ve mastered the basics of tweeting, you’re ready to join #ETWION eTwinning Twitter Marathon or a series of chats. A Twitter chat is actually an online party with lots of guests who talk about a certain topic. In order to keep track of all the tweets in a chat, we use the symbol # called hashtag to which the name of the Twitter chat is added: e.g. #etwion, #edchat #edchatie #lslchat etc. Hashtags are usually created by the organizers of the chat. By adding the hashtag to your tweet, you’ll make it visible to all the teachers who are taking part in it. Twitter chats usually have moderators who facilitate the discussion. At #ETWION there will be two moderators - @BartVerswijvel and @abfromz. We will welcome you and make sure that the conversation is flowing smoothly and that you make the most from the chat. In a nutshell - we’ll be there for you.

Our roles during the chats will slightly differ - one of us will be the LEAD moderator and the other the CO-moderator. From time to time the LEAD moderator will ask questions to spark lively discussions about the topics. The tweets with a question will be marked with Q#ETWION. At the beginning of each chat we’ll let you know who the LEAD is and who the CO is. At the end of each chat all the tweets will be captured for transcript and published on Twitter. Your Role What is your role in #ETWION? Share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences, discuss, chat, reply to other educators, retweet their tweets, and add the hashtag #etwion. And most of all, HAVE FUN!

This publication was written by Arjana Blazic and originally published on the ETWION blog, a joint project of Bart Verswijvel and Arjana Blazic. You can contact us on Twitter @BartVerswijvel & @abfromz. ŠArjana Blazic, 2014

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialShareAlike 4.0 International License.

So you want to tweet  

This publication was written by Arjana Blazic and originally published on the ETWION blog, a joint project of Bart Verswijvel and Arjana Bla...