Soooo You Joined Twitter…

The last few weeks I have gotten a lot of new followers, many of which are new to twitter.  Yes, I check that out, I look at the profile of every follower I get.  I look at who they follow and who follows them.  I also read their latest tweets and when their Twitter “birthday” is.  Yes, I do this for every follower.  If someone takes the time to follow me I can at least take the time to figure them out.  Now does that mean I follow back? Well not always.  It takes me a while to get used to a large number of new people to follow.  Now if someone @’s me, I immediately follow them back. Conversation is why I am there. You cannot learn from a one-sided convo! That’s like the opposite of social media.

I have actually had a few introduce themselves to me as new twitterers.  After I had a convo with a follower who said she felt like she was “the new person at the bar Cheers” I remembered that feeling and had the idea for this post. I’m one of those people who have this weird need to help everyone and make them happy.  Well I cannot always do that, but in this case I want to try. SO to all my new followers or those who read my blog but are not on twitter here are MY pointers.  FYI I am far from a social media expert, well who am I kidding I am far from an expert in anything. But I’m about to play one on UpsideDown.

Well before you ever tweet you need to get your profile “follower friendly.” No profile, people will not follow you. I know I won’t and I may even block you.  If you are trying to build a PLN, in your profile put something about what you teach and maybe something personal.  Also, put up a profile picture.  Use an avatar or even a photo. I like real photos, more personable, but anything is better than the twitter bird!

So now you have a profile, what’s next? Tweet.  Just a simple “Hello, this is my first tweet!” or “I’m a US history teacher who just joined twitter!” (That was easy wasn’t it!)

OK next you need to follow people.  I was going to give you a list of people to start following but I just kept adding to the list, I have way to many favorites to name.  I would recommend going to the search box and typing in #edchat (will tell you more about that later) or #itse10 (or whatever conference is going on right now). Find someone who is actually saying something interesting. Follow that person! Twitter also has this stalking-like feature that allows you to see who other people follow. A smart person is going to follow smart people, scan through their list.  My first followers were all the people @SuzanBrandt followed.  Once you have a beginning group, look for things they RT, follow people in those tweets as well.

It is OK to lurk at the beginning.  Watch the stream of tweets go by, but that is not what twitter is about. You have to jump in that stream. Reply to people.  I remember when I first started to tweet feeling so shy and thinking people will think what I say was dumb. Now I know they will think what I said was dumb, but I no longer care! Twitter is for conversations.  You may be learning stuff by remaining quiet, but others are not learning for you. Find a cool link, tweet it. Read a cool post/article, tweet it. Someone tweets something awesome, Retweet it.  People are there because they want to learn something new!

Remember everyone once only had one follower, even @web20classroom who now has 5,324,114 followers. Oh wait that is Britney Spears, sorry about that, they have more in common than the accent so got confused. (No I don’t follow Britney Spears, we are the same age so when I see how old she looks now I get depressed.) Seriously, we have all been there and are eager to learn from you! And do not take it too seriously! You can discuss more than just education stuff here. You do not just talk “work” with your coworkers do you, well think of this place as a huge faculty lounge (and yes we all know that name of that place is an oxymoron).

So welcome to twitter. The place you get to follow and unfollow whomever you want! Have fun!

Oh and about #edchat, it is every Tuesday at 7 EST, wonderful way to build your PLN and jump in the conversation!

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Alex Rosenwald (@arosey) says:

    Don’t forget about Follow Fridays (#ff) and Teacher Tuesdays (#tt). After you find a few smart people to follow, and after you read their stuff, see who they are recommending for as good people to follow. When I first signed up, that’s how I established my early list of people I followed. After you add some #ff, make your own #ff list of people YOU like, and you may just be mentioned in someone else’s post as well. It’s a great way of expanding your PLN, and a real pump-up the first time you see yourself recommended as someone worth following.

    Great post, Amanda!

  2. Lynda Schmidt says:

    Thanks for the encouragement – it is amazing to see how much help and support is out there! The challenge as a newbie is to find interesting material to add – and to take the time to check out all the resources that are constantly being shared!

  3. Awesome blog post, Amanda! I wish that you had written this when I first joined Twitter. It took a while to get used to how it all worked, but now, I can’t imagine not communicating with my awesome PLN. Twitter truly is the best PD around!

    Thanks for helping all of us get the most out of Twitter!

    P.S. I love your sense of humour, and I’m glad to see that it’s a part of this blog post too!

  4. I still do a lot of lurking, it is a great way to learn more about my pln (it is difficult to talk and listen at the same time just as it is tough to type and read at the same time.)
    I also don’t have time to get into a big conversation always so I need to be careful about what I say and when I say it.

    I would also add to your most excellent advice that it is okay for those new to Twitter to quit (or unfollow) those who don’t engage or simply say nothing worth reading. Many, if not most, of us that have been on Twitter for a couple years will have a much larger following than those we choose to follow. Don’t be afraid to weed out your garden.

  5. Great post. Inspiring post. I’ve been on twitter a little while now and all I do is lurk and read others tweets. I don’t get involved with tweets. Because of your post I’m going to start making the most of twitter and start having conversations. I’ve never got out of the “the new person at the bar Cheers” rut.

  6. Joan Young says:

    As always, I love the way you talk to others, share your stories and photos and find time to answer everyone 🙂 I know many will appreciate this post. When I first joined Twitter, I often felt like the shy kid who was looking at all the popular people. I still sometimes feel on the “outside” because many have met each other in person, but I appreciate how you always let everyone be a part 🙂 Thanks for sharing your candid thoughts and funny moments with all of us.

  7. Casey Chapman says:

    Thanks so much for your post. I am very green to Twitter and have been a lurker, but hopefully NO MORE! 🙂 Thank you for your awesome post. I am going to follow you now.

  8. Thank you for the simplified version of developing a PLN…we are planning to develop one for our district this year so that we can communicate good instruction and engaging lessons for students using tech tools. You are awesome because you write so calm and professional for new learners and older followers. Thanks again and keep up the good work. I am looking in my district for a person that has your characteristics. I would like to put them in a leadership role that focuses on utilizing 21st century tools and skills.

  9. Deb says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m teaching, maye facilitating is a better word, a course to teachers who work in my district. The course is to support teachers as they take a chance and add more Web 2.0 and interactivity (on line and face to face) in their classes.
    I must admit that between Twitter and the EC Ning, I am overwhelmed with how much I don’t know.
    More amazing is the generosity and creativity of the web and its people. I see such courtesy and almost too much knowledge!
    The first message that I try to communicate to the teachers in the course is that social networking can be rewarding intellectually as well as socially.
    Thank you for being both.

  10. Well written thoughts. I wish I would have read this when I was just starting to get involved with education on Twitter. It was a much more recreational thing for me at first, but the power was unlocked when I realized what can come from a PLN.

    I’ll give a +1 for @wmchamberlain’s thoughts about weeding out people you follow. Pruning the garden is a good idea when people don’t follow back or are conversing or putting out content that is helpful- like this post.

  11. amandacdykes says:

    To those new to twitter, I am really glad this helped. I look forward to seeing your tweets soon (I think I followed all of you back, if not let me know). Also Cory Plough wrote an awesome post for those new to twitter. It can be found here:

    FOr my other friends who are veteran twitterers (is that a word?) thanks for the encouraging words and I’m glad you are passign the post along!

  12. David Ligon says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I like your insightful post to new Twitterers so I decided to follow you. Much of your early experience in the Twittersphere is similar to mine, and I have since overcome my apprehension about joining the stream. Also, I was fortunate to meet one of your colleagues in person at #iste2010, Cari Whitehead.

    Tweepml lists are a good way to find quality followers. I posted some helpful Twitter Resources for Teachers on my blog at

    And if you are into iPads, iPods, etc. check out (I’m working on the Special Ed Apps piece)

    Keep up the good work!

    -David Ligon (@EdTechLeader)

  13. @gann24 says:

    Good post! I would just like to add to the conversation that we all know that learners grow at different rates. For some, they may need to do a little more “lurking” as they take it all in (I feel I do a lot more “lurking” but I am gaining a lot…hope to contribute more as I grow in Twitter). My point is, don’t be too quick to dismiss new followers or weed out those who may not seem to be contributing to the conversation. They may just need more time to take it all in…

  14. BryantHistoryT says:


    An awesome post. Twitter is a great place to build you PLN and for those who are new your advice really helps to start on that path. Your post should be prescribed for every new person to Twitter.

  15. You’re like the Pied Piper of Twitter! 😉

    Seriously, good post. Twitter, at times, can seem like a popularity contest to those who are new or don’t understand how to build their own networks. It’s OKAY to engage someone who seems like a Twitter rockstar. In fact, @mbteach wrote a really nice post about that here:

    The goal in building your own network is that it must have value for YOU. Twitter is a great tool to help you meet that goal. You will get out of it what you put into it. 🙂

  16. ktenkely says:

    Awesome post Amanda! Wish I had you to guide me through Twitter when I joined in 2007. I had NO Idea what I was getting myself into. So glad I did!

  17. Michelle Moday says:

    Thanks so much for this post and linking me to to it via twitter…I promise not to lurk!!!


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