Twitter. Tweet Tweet Tweet

Here is a feed of Tweets from teachers

Here is a screenshot from my Twitter homepage

Using Twitter

1. Set up your account. Go to
  • Choose your username and an avatar carefully
  • Choose a username that makes it easier for others to relate to you as a real person and conveys the right impression of who you are. I have played with my Ms. B. is Online identity so my username is that MsBisOnline.
  • But don’t stress too much — your username can be changed anytime without affecting your twitter account (Settings > Account)

Get Started—Join! button. Enter a username, password, and email address. Click on the I accept. Create my account button.
Next, Twitter will give you a chance to see if some of your friends are on Twitter by checking your online address book. However, your contacts will have to be in one of the supported services: GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, or MSN.
I have a GMail account, so I just exported my contacts Gmail and it worked flawlessly. However, if you get stuck, forget this step. You can add your friends later.
I did NOT invite my friends to Twitter, but you may decide to do so. I just don’t like to get these kinds of invites, so I would rather not send them.
2. Tweak your settings. Make sure you are on your Twitter home page: Click on the Settings link. Now enter your full name in the “Name” field. Make sure the “Time Zone” field is set correctly. Enter your location. Do not check “Protect my updates” unless you only want those whom you approve to be able to get your updates. Personally, if you check this, it will seriously limit twitter_logo_huge.gifthe fun. You want people to see what you are saying.

  1. Complete your bio and add your blog URL (if applicable) — people use this information to decide whether they follow you (Settings > Profile).
  2. Upload your twitter avatar — people are less likely follow those using the default avatar (Settings > Profile)
  3. Don’t start following people on twitter until you’ve published some tweets! Why would anyone follow you if you haven’t even bothered to update?

3. You need to decide whether or not to set up your phone.. By doing so, you can receive updates from those you are following (or just some of them) as well as send your own updates. It’s all done through text messaging (e.g., SMS).
However, be forewarned: While Twitter doesn’t charge anything for this service, your phone carrier might. Most of the current phones have Twitter applications so this step is really unnecessary.

4. Follow colleagues, family or friends. If you haven’t done so already, add your family and friends by clicking in the “Search” field at the top of your home page. You can type in a username or first and last name. When you do, you will get a list of the Twitterers who match your search criteria. You can also do a more advance search (e.g., searching by location) on the Twitter search page.
  1. For lists of educators you can do several different things:
    1. Follow Me MsBisOnline
    2. Here is a list of LA Tweeters
    3. Follow lists of teachers that have been generated by teachers
      4. This page will take you to a page that holds lists upon lists of educators to choose to follow.

You can begin “following” them by simply clicking on the Follow button. If you want to also follow them on your cell phone, then you can turn the “Device Updates” to “on.” Personally, I only follow my family and a few close friends on my cell phone. Regardless, you will be able to see everyone you follow on your Twitter home page.
5. Learn the basic commands. Think of Twitter as a room full of people, all sitting in a circle. It’s a conversation. When you update your status, you are speaking to the whole group. Everyone can hear what you have to say.
Replies. If you want to direct your comments to one specific person in the circle, but loud enough that everyone else can hear, you use the “Reply” function. You address the person by using their Twitter user name preceded by the “@” symbol. For example:
@spencesmith I get my haircut at Dion’s South in downtown Franklin.
Everyone who is following me will see the message, but I am specifically directing it to Spence.
You can also use the Reply function to refer to someone by name. For example:
I’m headed to dinner at Tin Angel with @gailhyatt and @meghyatt.
I am looking forward to trying the new menu.

The thing about replies is that they are “clickable links.” If someone who is following me, clicks on one of the names, they will automatically go to that person’s Twitter page. This will give them the opportunity to follow that person, too.
Direct Messages. Continuing with the metaphor of a conversation with a room full of people, you can also use the “direct message” function. This is like whispering in one person’s ear. They can hear you, but no one else can. You are directing the message to them and only them. For example:
d lnobles Can you bring my Business Review notebook down to the cafeteria conference room?
You can find answers to almost every other Twitter question on the FAQ page.
6. Start Tweeting. So now you're setup. It’s time to start Tweeting. You can do this from your Twitter home page or from your cell phone. The main thing you need to know is that the message can no longer than 140 characters long. If you use the Web page, the entry field will automatically count your characters.

How often should you Tweet? That’s the 30-character question. I think 10–12 should be the upper limit. Obviously, there’s a balance here. Some of the people I follow, Tweet way more than that. The real issue is whether or not you are adding something of value.
No one probably wants to hear the blow-by-blow of your life. However, some color commentary is good. However, this is definitely art not science, so there are no hard, fast rules. You are developing a reputation with your online friends, so make sure you are adding something to the conversation. I try to make sure that my Tweets and ReTweets are interesting, helpful, or just plain entertaining. I don’t think you should over-think it, but I don’t think you should just text the first thing that pops in your mind.
7. Be careful. You definitely need to be cautious. It’s probably not a good idea to say something like, “I’m headed to the west coast for a week. My poor, beautiful wife is going to be home all alone. I going out to get loaded.” Bad idea. For obvious reasons.
You need to think about the fact that crazy people and criminals have Twitter accounts, too. You especially need to be cautious about sharing too much private information that could compromise your safety or that of your loved ones and your professional career.
Consider third-party apps. An entire eco-system has sprung up around Twitter. Here are some of my favorite applications:
Twitter for Facebook application. This application automatically syncs all your Twitter updates with Facebook. Once you set this up, you won’t ever have to make another Facebook update. (If you have trouble, you can find a brief tutorial here.)
TweetDeck. This is the application I use to manage Twitter on my desktop and laptop. It is great because it allows you to segment people by groups. I have groups for my family, close friends, colleagues, etc. It is available for both Windows and Mac.
Twitter is one of those apps that is best learned by using it. The most important thing you can do is get started. You really can’t make that many mistakes. Just remember to have fun and enjoy the people you meet online.