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!