Third Day of #ARU10DoT: Following people

You’ve sent your first tweets, creating interesting and engaging content for your potential followers. The other side to Twitter, of course, is the stream of information brought to you by the people you follow. And if you follow people, chances are they will take a look at your profile and decide to follow you in return (which is why setting up a profile with some engaging tweets first was important!).

One of the key features of Twitter is that unlike other platforms, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, following is not necessarily reciprocal – the people you follow may not be the people who follow you (although they might be!). There is no obligation to follow someone just because they follow you. Some people have a more-or-less even match of followers and following; others follow lots of people but don’t tweet much themselves and therefore don’t have many followers; and some tweeters, usually very well-known people or institutions, may have a large number of followers as they tweet a lot but don’t actually follow as many people, using Twitter more as a broadcast medium to get their message out there.

As an individual professional, you’re probably going to get the most benefit in the first instance for the first option, having roughly the same number of followers and following. Twitter works best as a dialogue, and this won’t happen if you’re doing all the talking, or have no one to talk to! This is true even for those tweeting in an official capacity on behalf of their department or research group, although they may have more followers than people they follow, it’s still useful to follow some people, services or institutions so you have other useful information to pass on as well as just promoting your own interests. And following people will give you a sense of how it’s done when you send your own tweets.

How many people you follow is up to you, although perhaps 100 is a good number to aim for (not all today!), to ensure a useful stream of content. Think about what sort of information you want access to, and what sorts of tweeters are likely to offer it (see the list below for some suggestions). It is an organic process and will take time to build up, and don’t forget that you can always unfollow people if the content they tweet is not useful to you! The ‘follow’ button will simply turn to ‘unfollow’, giving you this option. There are ways to find out if you’ve been unfollowed, but generally people don’t bother to check!

To follow someone, simply click on their profile (their name or picture) and click the ‘Follow’ button:

So how do you find people to follow? When you first sign up to Twitter, it will suggest people for you to follow, or invite you to search for names or keywords, but this can be a bit hit and miss. Some people give up at this point, thinking that it’s all pop stars and people tweeting about their breakfast!

Alternatively, you could mute certain people (some people post huge numbers of tweets which can swamp your feed) and occasionally visit their profile to catch up on their tweets. In some cases this is preferable to completely unfollowing them. To mute someone, simply click on their profile, click on ‘More user options’, and select ‘Mute’:

At this point, it might be useful to know who else is participating in the programme, so I’ve compiled a list of everyone who sent the tweet I suggested yesterday, so you can find and follow each other! The list also includes participants from the previous versions of the programme, and other ARU tweeters.

Here are eight more suggestions (not exhaustive!) to build a useful feed of information that might work well for you as an academic.

  1. ‘Celebrity’ academics and media dons Following well-known people and commentators in academia will give you some ideas of how to build your profile and impact, as well as offering commentary on education policy, news on developments in Higher Education, access to their own network of followers and interesting material to retweet to your followers. You could follow Education researchers such as Tara Brabazon or academics such as Athene Donald, Brian Cox, Alice Roberts, or Mary Beard, who write on academia and academic impact more broadly.
  2. Professional Bodies For updates about events, news, policy, or funding opportunities, your professional body will be very useful. Try for example the Institute or College representing your discipline (for example, The Royal Society, Royal College of Nursing, Chartered Management Institute or British Academy. There are also general Higher Education organisations such as the Higher Education Academy or its relevant subject centres which have a Twitter presence. You can also follow specific universities’ research institutes if they have twitter feeds, such as our own CoDE.
  3. Funding Bodies For calls for funding and other news, follow bodies such as the Research Councils UK (@research_uk), the individual councils or bodies such as the EPSRC, AHRC, ESRC or JISC
  4. Academic and Professional Press Education press such as @TimesHigherEd, @InsideHigherEd or @gdnHigherEd will give you access to general HE news stories which may interest you or your followers. Discipline specific publications such as New Scientist, Nursing Times or the Economist also have their own Twitter feeds, and many academic journals and publishers too, such as the various Nature journals such as NatureChemistry, or NatureMedicine.

Following individual journalists too might be a way to hear about interesting stories or even raise your own profile in the press. Many journals also have their own Twitter accounts which they may use to interact with potential contributors or interviewees.

  1. Colleagues in your discipline Following other colleagues in your field on Twitter is a fantastic way to network. Search for people you know or have heard of to see if they have a Twitter account, both senior and more junior academics. Search by name or by keyword, or import contacts from your LinkedIn account, or from your email account, especially JISCmail lists. Following the ‘backchannel’ of tweets around large annual conferences are a good way to find out who’s on twitter.
  2. Academic mentors There are several academic bloggers and tweeters who create a supportive community for other academic professionals and research students, who have really useful advice and experiences to share on the various aspects of being or becoming an academic, from writing and publication to managing your career. Useful advice to pass on to your students, and possibly useful for you too. You could try jobs.ac.uk for career advice or follow @thesiswhisperer, @researchwhisperer, @ECRchat, @ThomsonPat, @NetworkedRes @earlycareerblog and even @phdcomics Do you know of any others?
  3. Public Engagement and Impact Following the university’s marketing and public engagement team and other researchers interested in impact will help you be aware of events which you might volunteer for, or interesting ways to present research to other audiences. Follow ARU’s official twitter feed. Try also the Festival of Ideas, Cambridge Science Festival or NakedScientists. You could also follow commentators such as Ben Goldacre or Simon Singh.
  4. Associated services and professionals There are lots of people on Twitter who can offer you useful information, but aren’t in your profession. Follow librarians, disability advisers, employability advisers, learning technologists and researchers, learning and staff developers… all useful people to learn from and collaborate with, and stay in touch with what’s happening around the university! Follow Anglia Learning and Teaching, The Library, Student Services, The Student Union, International Students team, Employability or Estates.
  5. Policy makers If you’re interested in government education policy, you could always follow individual politicians, the Government department for Education, WONKHE or the select committees for Business, Information and Skills or Education. You could also follow bodies such as the QAA, HEFCE, Sutton Trust or HESA.
  6. Industry and other sectors To keep an eye on developments in the sector, possible future impacts and applications of your research, or developments which might affect what you’re working on, you could follow some of the professional bodies or companies which represent the types of sector related to your research. If you’re interested in UK Government policy on science, you could follow for example individual politicians and ministers, or the relevant Select Committees e.g. Science or Health (or the equivalent in other countries).

Twitter is partly about the information you tweet, but also about the information you gain from the people you follow. Spend some time reading your twitter feed to see what comes up!

How to grow your Twitter feed from here:

Twitter will suggest people for you to follow based on who you’re currently following. This can be a bit random at first, as you’re not following many people so there’s nothing for its algorithm to work on. There are other ways to add people to your Twitter feed:

Snowball – look at the profile of the people you’re following – who do they follow, and who else is following them? You can see who’s following you, or anyone else, by going to your, or their, profile, and clicking on ‘followers’:

Retweets – people you follow will retweet things they think might be of interest to others. Keep an eye out for interesting retweets from accounts you don’t yet follow, and add them. We’ll cover retweeting in future Days.

Hashtags – especially around livechats or livetweeted events such as conferences. Joining a discussion around a hashtag is a good way to find more people interested in that topic or event. We’ll also cover hashtags in future Days.

#FF or #FollowFriday – this a convention on Twitter that on Fridays where you tweet the names of people you think are worth following. Watch out for these, or tweet your followers and ask them for recommendations!

Follows – you will be notified when new people follow you – look at their profile to see if they are someone you want to follow back. If you suspect one of your new followers is spam, you can ‘block’ them using the ‘More user options’ next to the ‘Follow’ button, and selecting ‘block’. It’s as well to do this, especially as people may be looking through your followers for ideas of who to follow, and it doesn’t look good if lots of your followers are spam!

So – go find some people to follow, and in spare moments through the day, watch the feed of tweets and information they’re sending.


Digital Badge

See the Digital Badges tab at the top of the screen for more information.

Activity: Today’s Digital Badge activity is to post, in the comments section below, the handles of three interesting people you think others should follow, let us know why you chose them!

 

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Second Day of #ARU10DoT: Sending tweets

Twitter only allows you to send 140 characters, which doesn’t seem much. In academia, we almost always write at length about complex ideas, so it’s difficult to say something meaningful in such a short amount of text. But that doesn’t mean that Twitter is superficial or only used to tweet about frivolous things. Many people, especially in an HE context, who are new to Twitter aren’t sure what to say, or why updates about whatever they’re doing would be interesting to others. But there are actually many aspects of your day-to-day work that would be of very practical use to others. Have a look at some Twitter feeds from academic tweeters and see what kinds of information they share, to get an idea of how you really can say something useful and engaging in 140 characters.

The appropriate tone for a professional Twitter account doesn’t need to be overly formal – you can be chatty and conversational, and allow your personality to come through. In fact, you’ll have to be a bit informal if you want to fit everything in, using abbreviations and even textspeak! Even if tweeting on behalf of a department or group, you need to be engaging rather than formal. Do remember though, if you’re tweeting in any professional capacity, that Twitter is a very public medium, and that your tweets can be kept by others, even if you delete them (more about this on Day 10). Don’t say anything you wouldn’t normally say openly in a work context.

Some examples of what you might tweet about:

  • an article you’re reading that’s interesting or a book you recommend
  • an online resource you’ve stumbled across
  • a workshop, webinar, seminar or conference you’re going to – others may not have known about it, may want to meet you if they’re also going to be there, or may want to ask you about it if they can’t make it
  • a new person you met today who might be a good contact for you or others in future
  • some insight on academic work from an incident that happened today
  • advice, tips or insights into how you teach or research for students or other colleagues
  • a question asked by a student or colleague that made you think
  • slides from a talk or lecture which you’ve just uploaded online
  • your thoughts on an education or other news story relevant to your work
  • a funding, project or job opportunity you’ve just seen
  • a digital tool or software you’re using or problem you’ve solved with it
  • a typical day – an insight into an academic’s life or moral support
  • your new publication or report which has just come out (there are ways of mentioning this gracefully!)

Sending a tweet is really easy – when you’re logged into Twitter, you’ll see a box in the middle of the screen at the top, which says ‘What’s happening?’ If you click in the box, you’ll be able to write your tweet and then click the ‘Tweet’ button. You can also use the feather quill pen icon in the top right of the screen to compose.

Day 02 - 01 - NEW TWEET BUTTONS

Remember – you’re only able to write 140 characters including spaces. A small counter below this box tells you how many characters you have left. It will stop you once you go over and highlight how many characters you need to delete. You’ll soon develop a suitably concise style, and learn the tricks to abbreviate your writing, such as using ‘&’ instead of ‘and’. This all adds to the informal tone.

This bit is important – For this second Day of Twitter, as your first message, please send the following tweet – we’ll explain why later!

Joining in #ARU10DoT with @ARU10DoT and @markwarnes2!

Over the next week, we’ll be sending the following ten types of tweets. For today, though, just send a few of the first type of tweet over the course of the day, using the examples above. You could include the hashtag #ARU10Dot in your tweets – again, we’ll explain why later!

  1. A simple message – what are you up to? What kind of event or activity might your intended following find interesting, personable or quirky? You could let them know about an upcoming event they were unaware of or might also be present at, a thought about your research or work that’s just occurred to you, or just show that you’re approachable and share common experiences. Don’t agonise over it though – Twitter is ephemeral in many ways!

(no’s 2-10 are examples of what we’ll be moving on to over the rest of the week)

  1. An @ message directed to someone. Ask someone a question, comment or reply to one of their tweets, thank them for a RT or welcome a new follower. NB: don’t start your tweet with the @ sign, as then only the people that follow both of you will see it! Either include their @name later in the message or add a full stop . before the @ if it’s at the start.
  2. Send a direct message (DM) to someone. What kind of message would need to be private in this way?
  3. A link to something interesting and relevant you’ve read online, or link to a journal or book. Twitter will automatically shorten it using Twitter’s automatic tool or you can manually shorten it using third-party software such as tinyURL, bitly or ly Add a bit of context or comment on it!
  4. Ask a question of your followers – crowdsource their views, ask for tips or advice or recommendations on a topic of mutual interest! Perhaps ask them to retweet (i.e. ‘pls RT’)
  5. Tweet a link to something you’ve shared online recently – a profile update, slides from a conference presentation, handouts from a workshop. Many platforms can be set up to do this automatically when you update, such as blogs, SlideShare, Storify, LinkedIn, and so on. Add an engaging and contextualising comment!
  6. A retweeted, quoted tweet from someone else. Don’t just use Twitter’s retweet button – start with your own comment, then add RT and the @name of the originator or retweeter
  7. A tweet incorporating a hashtag which links to a wider discussion. Search for your chosen hashtag first, to get a sense of what others use it for and what the discussion has been, and what you can add. Look at tweets from followers for hashtag discussions to join, make one up and see if it’s been used, or try adding something to an existing hashtag such as #studychat or #infolit
  8. Livetweet an event of some kind, even if only for 10 minutes. You might try a research seminar, conference presentation or lecture. It’s polite to ask permission from the speaker. See if there is a hashtag for the event and if so, use it. Practice summarising the event and distinguishing your comments from the speaker’s
  9. Take part in a livechat on Twitter: #UKedchat, #ECRchat and #PhDchat are popular ones

We’ll look at nos. 2-10 over the next few days. If you can think of any more professional uses for Twitter, then do add them in the comments, or tweet about it!

If you’re thinking of tweeting in an official capacity, then think about the balance of your own announcements to other information (Twitter is still a conversation, not an announcement service, and too much one-way, impersonal promotion will turn off your following!).

So – send a few tweets, now and perhaps throughout the day, following suggestion no. 1 from the list above! Make sure that when people check out your profile from yesterday, there’s some interesting and engaging content there! Watch for tweets from us at @ARU10DoT and tweet back!

 And remember to tweet Joining in #ARU10DoT with @ARU10DoT and @markwarnes2

 

 

First Day of #ARU10DoT: Setting up your Profile

Welcome to Twitter, and to #ARU10DoT!

The first thing you need to do is to sign up to Twitter. You can see people’s tweets without an account, by viewing their profile or by searching for a keyword, as it’s a very public social media channel. Without an account, though, you won’t be able to join in the conversation, and that’s the first and main thing to learn about Twitter:

Twitter is a conversation.

Setting up an account on Twitter is the easy part! There’s still a few things to think about, though, in terms of creating an engaging and effective profile using

  • your handle (@name), which people will use to identify and direct messages to you
  • your avatar or profile picture, which is how people will pick your tweets out of their twitter feed, on a quick glance
  • your identifying information, such as your location and personal website or webpage
  • your ‘bio’ or strapline, which will sum up who you are and why people might want to follow you
  • the overall look of your twitter profile, which makes it distinct and memorable when people view it
  • and additional accounts, which you might want to set up to appeal to different audiences (you will need to use different email address to do so though, as each is linked to a separate account)

If you already have a Twitter account, then you could use this post to refine your profile and your overall aims and audience.

What purpose do you want to set up an account for? With Twitter, you can have more than one account (each linked to a different email address), as, unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, it is not limited to single real life identities. Many people will start off with a personal, individual account to get used to Twitter, and then think about other ways in which they might use it to represent a group or service. For example, I’m both @markwarnes2 for individual professional conversations, and also @ARU10DoT for this programme! You might wish to set up an impersonal account to publicise your department, service, or other activity such as a conference team, journal, research group, module or programme like this one.

If you don’t yet use Twitter, visit the site to set up an account.

  • You’ll firstly need to enter a real name, email address and password to sign up and create an account. Different accounts will need separate email addresses.
  • At the second stage, you need to think of a username, which will be your @name. This might be some version of your real name or, if your name is common and most variations of it have already been taken, you might think of a professional and memorable pseudonym which people associate with you in some way. Don’t worry – you can change this later without losing your followers or tweets, and you can also add your real name to your profile so that it’s identifiably you. If you want to set up an account to represent an activity or group, then something which will be memorable, clearly be identified with any known branding of your activity, and work well on publicity will be essential.
  • The next steps of signing up on Twitter take you through finding people to follow, but I recommend you skip this step for now – we will look at it on Day Three! Twitter will ask you to follow at least six people before you can skip on to filling out your profile – I would suggest you follow these accounts as a good start:

@markwarnes2 (me), @ARU10DoT (this Twitter feed for this course), @angliaLTA (Anglia Learning & Teaching), @ARULibrary, @AngliaRuskin (the University’s Twitter feed), @ARU_StudentServ (Student Services)

The next thing you should do is start to fill out your profile, so that when people look at it, they will feel more encouraged to follow you.

  1. Upload a profile picture. When skimming through a twitter feed of all the people they follow, an eye-catching profile picture will help them pick your tweets out. It could be of you, if you have a good, clear shot of your face (useful in identifying you when you meet followers in real life at conferences! Full body pictures work less well as at the size of a thumbnail image, it’s hard to pick out your face!). It could also be an abstract image which somehow reflects your @name, as long as it’s striking. If you are setting up an account for a service then the service logo is an obvious choice, but do check the policy on the use of University logos with the corporate marketing team. Make sure the image is clear enough, as it appear as a small icon. Don’t leave your profile picture as the default Twitter ‘egg’ – this suggests that you are either very new to Twitter or a spammer! You can also add a ‘Header’ image which customises your profile page a little more.
  2. Add your real name, if you wish. This will appear on your profile, so if you use an abstract pseudonym and picture (like Helen Webster, for example, who calls herself @scholastic_rat), your Twitter account can still be identifiably ‘you’ – again, useful at conferences! If you use Twitter to represent a department or group, then the ‘full’ version of its title, especially if your @name is an acronym, would be something to add here.
  3. Add a location (this could also be an institution or other affiliation). Your followers might be from anywhere in the country or the world, so this gives people a bit more context about which university or HE body you are affiliated with, lending you credibility and authority.
  4. Add a URL to a personal website or webpage. You can have only one, so perhaps your university webpage, if you have one, would be most appropriate here. People can then find out more about you than is possible in your Twitter profile.
  5. Add a ‘bio’. You have 160 characters to sum up who you are and what you might be tweeting about, to encourage people and give them a reason to follow you. Again, a blank or minimal bio isn’t very inviting, and suggests that you are too new to be interesting, that there is little to be gained from following you, or you are a spam account. A well-thought out bio is an important part of gaining new followers. Have a look at the bios on other tweeters’ profiles, and see what you find inviting or off-putting. If you intend to tweet in a professional capacity, then avoid too much about your hobbies and family or quirky, cryptic statements about yourself. It tells potential contacts nothing about why they might want to follow you or what kinds of information you are likely to be passing on to them, and therefore why they would want to network with you professionally. Some people like to add that they are “tweeting in a personal capacity” or that the “views are my own” to clarify that their tweets do not reflect the views of their employer, although you may feel that this is clear enough anyway.
  6. You can connect your Twitter account to post automatically to your Facebook account too, if you have one. Think carefully about the two audiences for Facebook and Twitter – is this something you want to do? Or would you rather keep them separate?

People will often view your profile page when deciding whether to follow you, and you might add the URL (i.e. https://twitter.com/MarkWarnes2) to your profile page (e.g. on your email signature or business card) if you want to ask someone to follow you, so it is worth making it informative and distinctive. It will also be an important part of your publicity if you’re tweeting in a group capacity for your service.

Editing your Profile and other Settings

You can change all the information you entered while registering by clicking on the Edit Profile button:

Day 01 - 01 - NEW PROFILE

In addition, you can change your Header image – the one that sits behind your avatar. Click the ‘Save Changes’ button when you’re happy with the results.

To change other settings, click on your small Profile Picture at the top of the screen, and select Settings. In Settings, among other things, you can request your Twitter Archive and access accounts that you have Muted or Blocked (which we will cover on Day #8 – Managing People).

Day 01 - 02 - NEW SETTINGS

You can create more Twitter accounts from other email addresses for other aspects of your life, and it’s best not to mix content and audiences too much – for example, if you use Twitter for a hobby, then a separate account for professional purposes means that you aren’t filling people’s Twitter feeds with things that don’t interest them or confuse them. It’s fine to add a personal touch to your professional tweets though!

Now, to let us know how you’re getting on, why not leave a comment on this blogpost with your Twitter handle and a link to the URL of your profile? Or if you have any other comments or questions, let us know by leaving a comment! If you’re finding it hard to get in touch through the blog, do email me at Anglia Learning and Teaching.

So – now you have a Twitter account, with an engaging profile which invites others to follow your tweets.

That’s enough for Day One!

 

New iteration of #ARU10DoT for March!

We’re running another iteration of Ten Days of Twitter for Anglia Ruskin in March!

If you’d like to encourage your colleagues to join you on Twitter, if you’d like to go over some of the Days again if you missed some of the programme, or even if you’d just like to follow colleagues’ progress on the #ARU10DoT hashtag and encourage them as they join the community on Twitter, then spread the word, or join us!

The programme will be launched on 17th March, and participants can register on the Anglia Learning and Teaching website. If you just want to follow along, make new contacts and offer support and encouragement, then keep an eye on the programme blog here, or follow us on Twitter @ARU10DoT and using the #ARU10DoT hashtag. This iteration will be tailored for academic staff, but others are welcome to join us too.

Day Ten of #ARU10DoT: Past and Future

Twitter is ephemeral. Tweets are short, throwaway observations, which capture the present moment, flow past quickly and are succeeded by more recent and relevant ones. We’ve looked at a way to favourite tweets, and to bookmark the URLs they may contain, but once you’ve done this, why would you want to keep a tweet? Why would you want to tweet in advance, rather than in the moment?

The Past

You can scroll through your last few thousand tweets or so (which might cover quite a span of time, depending on how prolific you are) but searching and looking at hashtags won’t take you back very far, only a few days. And yet… although finding past tweets might be difficult, they can come back to haunt you. If you want to find a tweet, it might be quite tricky, and yet if you want a tweet to disappear, someone may be able to dig it up!

Deleting Tweets

Let’s look first at deleting. You can delete your own tweets, by hovering over it and using the option that appears below next to ‘reply’, ‘retweet’, etc. If you make a mistake in a tweet, it might be less confusing to send another tweet with a correction rather than delete one that people may already have seen. If you tweet something you shouldn’t… well, don’t! However, you can’t delete someone else’s tweets, so if they’ve already retweeted you, taken a screenshot, or archived the tweet using some of the options below, it might be too late!

But what if you want to keep tweets, either your own or someone else’s? Why might you want to do this?

  • Perhaps a discussion on Twitter helped you to think something through, and you want to keep the discussion so you can work it up into a blog post, or integrate it into a chapter or article later
  • Maybe there was a good twitter ‘backchannel’ of livetweeting at a conference or other event, which you want to preserve either for yourself or others
  • Perhaps you want to preserve a selection of good advice or observations on a topic, when you ‘crowdsourced’ – asked for suggestions on Twitter and got some great responses. You might want to keep and share them with others.

Tweet URLs

You can save a link to individual tweets. Each tweet has its own URL. To find this, you click on ‘expand’ below the tweet, and you’ll see the date and time stamp. Next to this, it says ‘details’. If you click on ‘details’, it will take you to the URL of that individual tweet, which you can copy and paste. You could save it, bookmark it, embed it in a website, or email it to people.

expandtweet

This form might not be  the best or most convenient way to present tweets for others though.

Your Twitter Archive

If you want a copy of all your tweets, then Twitter can send you an archive of everything you’ve tweeted. Click on the gear icon, and select ‘Settings’. In your ‘Account’ page, scroll down to the bottom where you will see an option “Your Twitter archive: Request your archive”.

Storify

However, one of the nicest ways to keep tweets, especially for others, is a third party application called Storify. Storify is the tool which makes a narrative overview of tweets and other social media by linking to content on the web, including tweets, websites and blogs, Facebook posts, Youtube videos or photos on Flickr. You can search for content, drag and drop it into a linear narrative, add some comments to contextualise it, and publish it on the web or share the URL. You are linking to the original source, rather than taking the content, so it doesn’t breach copyright. It automatically notifies people whose content you have used in this way, so if they object to your use, you can edit out their material (all the material visible to Storify is publically visible anyway).

Storify is a really nice way to create and share a summary of tweets and other online material around an event or discussion, such as a conference, blog or livechat. This Storify has been created by @shirleypickford of her experience of the programme!

Extras: Other tools

There are other more advanced tools which you can use to archive tweets and present them in other visual formats, such as TAGSExplorer. These take a little more know-how to use, but might be things to explore as you get more confident with Twitter, and certainly give you an idea of what’s possible when analysing and visualising Twitter data. Here, as an example, is a visualisation of the tweets from the 2013 ALDinHE conference, and another for LD10DoT! These were kindly created by Andy Mitchell, who knows a lot more about it than I do! If you want to know more about how these visualisations were created, there are instructions online and further instructions on making a visualisation such as the ones linked to above.

If there have been any tweets over the course of the programme which you think will be useful to you, perhaps ones you favourited yesterday, or ones with further resources or advice on using Twitter, try archiving them in one of the ways shown above. 

The Future

And what about future tweets?

You can schedule tweets to send themselves automatically later on. You can’t do this from Twitter itself, but will need to use one of the additional apps mentioned in Days Eight and Nine, so you may wish to leave this topic for later if you want to consolidate the basics first.

Although Twitter is a medium which captures the moment, there are several reasons why you might want to schedule tweets for a later time.

  • If your following contains people in a different time zone who are most likely to be online in the middle of the night, and you want to catch their attention
  • If you have collected a lot of links you want to share, but don’t want to overwhelm your followers with lots of tweets at once (see this example of an awesome workflow, from Pocket to Buffer to Twitter!)
  • If you want to tweet repeated information, updates or reminders, perhaps about an event you’re organising, a blog or article you’ve written or a deadline for a job or funding opportunity, without having to remember to do it (I’ve made use of this frequently throughout this programme!)
  • If you’re away but want to keep some presence on Twitter

You can schedule tweets from both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. To schedule a tweet in Tweetdeck, write a tweet as normal, and then click on the clock icon at the bottom of the window you’re composing a tweet in. This brings up a small calendar, where you can choose the time and date when you want your tweet to be sent.

tweet schedule 2

If you don’t use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, there are other apps which only schedule tweets. You might try, for example, Futuretweets or Twuffer or also Buffer (which works for other social media too). You can sign in with Twitter (or Facebook, or LinkedIn), and it will ask you for permission to access your Twitter feed. Once signed in, it will ask you what you want to share. Type in a tweet, and click ‘schedule’ or ‘buffer’. You will want to go to the ‘Schedule’ tab and set the timezone, and the day and time you want to tweet!

There’s quite a bit there to play with! Well, that’s the last of our Ten Days of Twitter, but don’t worry if you’re still catching up – so are others, and the conversation will be continuing on #ARU10DoT for quite some time, I hope! You might like to keep an eye on the programme hashtag and support academic colleagues as they learn how to use Twitter. I hope you’ve found the programme useful, and thanks for joining in! Keep tweeting!

(If you’ve experimented with Twitter and decided it’s not for you, then I hope we’ve helped you come to a well informed decision on whether to use it or not. If you now want to delete your account, it’s easy to do so. We encourage you to keep your digital footprint tidy!).

Day Nine of #ARU10DoT: Managing information

If you’re choosing who to follow effectively, then your Twitter feed should be full of interesting tweets and links to webpages etc which you might want to follow up on. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, lose track of it all, miss things and mislay things!

Twitter itself has a few features which can help you stay on top of all the information.

Favourites

If you see a tweet which interests you and which you’d like to come back to later, you can mark it as a ‘favourite’ and it will be stored for you to return to. To mark a tweet as a ‘favourite’, hover over the tweet, and a star icon will appear below it, along with ‘retweet’ and some other functions:

favourite

When you want to look at your favourited tweets, you will see them marked in your Twitter stream, but it’s easier to see them all together. If you click on the top tab with the profile icon and ‘Me’, a menu will appear on the left, with ‘favourites’ as well as your tweets, followers and following. Click on ‘Favourites’ to view. When you favourite a tweet, the person who tweeted it is notified, which may help to gain you an extra follower, but it also gives them feedback on what others are finding useful.

Me and other things

If you set up a Tweetdeck account yesterday, you can also add a column for your ‘favourited’ tweets.

Search

You can also search for tweets, by username, hashtag or just by a keyword. The search box is at the top of the screen in the right hand corner. You can also organise the search results by top (most popular) topics, all results, or limit the results just to the people you follow. Once you have searched, a small ‘settings’ cog icon will appear next to the ‘search’ box (not the main cog icon at the top right of the screen!). If this is a search you might repeat regularly, click on this, and you can save the search so you don’t need to keep performing it – useful if you’re following a hastagged discussion. You could also perform an advanced search using this icon- you can narrow down the tweets you’re looking for by word or by the person sending or receiving it, or by location.

Trending

In the left hand column, Twitter will also show you what hashtags are popular at the moment. This may or may not be of much use to you! You can narrow the trends down by location, by clicking on ‘Change’ in this box, but if you are networking at a national or international level, this may not be very helpful.

Extras:

If you’re keen to explore further, you might look at the following tips, or you might return to them later on, when you’ve been using Twitter for a while:

Third party applications

If you’re feeling more adventurous again today, here are a few more third party apps which will help you curate all the links which people are tweeting about.

Tweetdeck

If you explored Tweetdeck yesterday, you may not have realised that not only can you add columns for lists of people, you can also add columns to follow hashtags. Click on ‘Add column’, and then choose ‘Search’. If you perform a search for a hashtag, you can add a new column to your Tweetdeck which will now display all the tweets using that hashtag, whether you follow the people using it or not. This might be useful if you are following a conference hashtag or chat such as #infolit but don’t want to follow all of the people tweeting with this hashtag.

Pocket

Pocket is an application which saves any webpage for you to look at in more detail later, when you have time. It is a bookmarking tool -if you find a webpage via a link in Twitter (or anywhere else), you can save it to Pocket, and then return to it and the other things you’ve saved later on. Pocket is a web browser based service, meaning you can access it from anywhere and any device or computer. To create an account, you’ll simply need an email address, username and password. On your desktop computer, you can download and install it into your browser, so you can simply hit a button in your toolbar to save a webpage (how to install it depends on which browser you prefer to use, but Pocket will take you through the steps – it’s easy!). When you use Twitter in a browser with Pocket installed (and also if you have installed the Pocket app on your smartphone or ipad), then a ‘Pocket’ option appears alongside  the other options of ‘reply’, ‘retweet’, ‘favourite’ etc when you hover over a tweet  containing a link, so you can save it right from the tweet instead of having to open the link and add it to Pocket from there. You can also access Pocket on the web, if you’re on a computer which isn’t yours, or where you can’t install it into the browser.

Flipboard

If you use a smartphone or tablet such as an iphone, ipad or Android device, you could download an app which curates content from your Twitter feed, such as Flipboard. Once you have downloaded the app, you can connect it with your Twitter account (or other social media) and it will draw in the links that people share with you and display them for you. To find out more about Flipboard, and how to set up an account, see instructions in its ‘support’ section. Alternatives to Flipboard are Zite and Pulse.

News.me

If you don’t have a tablet device, you can set up an account with news.me, which will deliver the main stories shared by the people you follow on Twitter in an email. To sign up, you’ll need to add your email address, and then connect it with your Twitter (or Facebook) account by clicking on the request to authorise this. That’s it!

Paper.li

Paper.li is an application which curates content from social media streams which you use (in this case, Twitter, but also Facebook, Google+ etc). It then presents the links it’s found in a easy to read magazine form. You can share this with others (and it will tweet automatically on your behalf, but it is not recommended that you ‘spam’ your followers in this way!) but you can just use it to pick up the links you might have missed on Twitter by adding Twitter as a source.

You can create an account and log in to Paper.li using either Twitter or Facebook. Use Twitter in this instance, of course! After that, follow the instructions given by Paper.li.

So there are a range of ways to stay on top of all the information that’s being shared with you by the people you follow. Choose one that looks useful to you, and experiment with it! Tweet to let us know your thoughts and findings!

Day Eight of #ARU10DoT: Managing People

Over the last 7 days, you may have found that as you continue to use Twitter, you come across more and more interesting people to follow and your following grows exponentially. Keeping track of them all can be a challenge, and sometimes you will want to focus on certain groups of them over others, or check in on some people only sporadically. This is hard to do in the undifferentiated stream of tweets on your Twitter feed, where they are all mixed in together. Fortunately, there are ways to split up your Twitter stream and group the people you follow into separate streams, so you can keep an eye on their tweets as it suits you.

You might want to group the people you follow into any of the types that we looked at in Day Three. Some examples might be

  • Colleagues or services at your institution
  • Colleagues and peers across the country/world in a particular field
  • Professional or funding bodies
  • News accounts
  • Social, personal or fun accounts

Twitter lists

Twitter has a feature which allows you to make lists of people – and you need not follow all of them to add them to a list. These lists can be private, so only you can see them, or they might be public so you can share them with others. I created such a list for the participants of this course on Day Two, so you could find each other on Day Three. You might create such a list for the benefit of others, for example, to bring together the attendees at a workshop or conference, students on a particular programme or module, or the top accounts on a particular topic which you recommend other people should follow. You can share a list by giving people the URL of the list page, or let them view the lists you’ve created on your profile, where they can subscribe to your lists too.

To create a list on Twitter, go to the gear icon at the top right of the page. Select ‘Lists’, and you will see a page which will contain any lists you will make. Click on ‘Create list’, and you will be asked to name your new list and add a brief description. This description will be very helpful if you now choose to make the list public, so others can find and subscribe to it.

You will now be invited to search for people to add to your list. You can also add them later, by clicking on their @handle and going to their profile. Next to the ‘Follow(ing)’ button, you will see the head and shoulders icon. If you click on this, you will see a menu containing the option ‘add or remove from lists’ (this is also where you can send them private Direct Messages, as in Day 4). While we’re on the topic of managing people, you can also block or report people using this menu, for example, if you are followed by a spam account or someone you don’t want following you.

add to lists

To view your lists, or those of other people, you can simply go to ‘lists’ in the left hand column on your ‘Me ‘ tab, and see only the tweets from the people in that list.

Me and other things

 

Extras:

If you’re keen to explore further, you might look at the following tips, or you might return to them later on, when you’ve been using Twitter for a while:

Third Party Apps

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity as a platform. However, sometimes you need a bit more functionality. There are some third party applications created by other companies as add-ons to Twitter, to help you out with some of the things about Twitter which you may find a bit overwhelming.  Some of them will need to be integrated with your Twitter account to drawn information from them, and to do this, you will need to grant them access to your account (you can revoke this again from your Twitter account settings).

You might want a more convenient way to view different aspects of your Twitter stream, or even add in updates from other platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn together with Twitter, so your whole social media stream is visible in one place. To do this, you can use one of the third party applications that were developed to make Twitter easier to use.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is owned by Twitter, and is a good way to manage more than one account, if you have more than one  (for personal and professional use, or perhaps an individual one and an official one on  behalf of an institution). I am using Tweetdeck to tweet from both @ARU10DoT and @scholastic_rat at the moment without having to log out of one account and into another  – and it’s easy to get confused and tweet from the wrong one! However, you can also use Tweetdeck to split your Twitter stream into columns divided by people. It will import any lists you have made on Twitter too.

You will need to create an account, with an email address and password. Once you have set up an account, you can connect your Twitter account(s). You can use it as a web-based application to access from anywhere, or you can download the Tweetdeck app to your computer (there is no app for smartphones or tablets). Tweetdeck is organised into a number of columns, and gives you a number of columns automatically, such as your timeline, your own tweets or your @mentions (tweets that mention you), and you can add new columns for the lists you create. You can also create new lists in Tweetdeck. Click on ‘add column’, and choose ‘lists’ (or any other column you want to add!).

You can do everything we’ve covered in Twitter on Tweetdeck too, including shortening URLs. Tweetdeck also makes some other things in Twitter a little bit easier. For example, when you retweet, it will ask you if you simply want to retweet or if you want to edit the tweet, as we discussed in Day 6. On Twitter, you need to copy and paste the tweet if you want to edit it, which can be fiddly; this does it automatically.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is similar application to Tweetdeck, but it allows you also to import other social media accounts such as Facebook, and it is also available as an app for mobile devices. You can sign up using Facebook, or if you prefer to keep Facebook separate from your professional social media use, you can sign up with an email address, name and password. It will then ask you to add your chosen social network accounts. You can then add streams of content similarly as in Tweetdeck, and tabs for the different social networks. Hootsuite has a quick start guide to help you set up your account.

The other bonus of tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite is that you don’t see the advertising ‘promoted tweets’ from companies you don’t follow!

Think about the kinds of update you’ve seen on Twitter so far from the people you follow. Who do you most want to see tweets from? You might want to try making a list of your colleagues on Twitter, or perhaps one for the professional and funding bodies you follow.