What’s the point of Twitter?

What’s the point of Twitter?

If you’re reading this you probably don’t have a Twitter account. Well, you need one. Why? Firstly, there is an active community of geography teachers who generously share brilliant resources and ideas. Secondly, it provides some great CPD opportunities. Thirdly, the community is incredibly friendly and supportive.

Twitter is much better than Facebook just because of the access. A hashtag can unite hundreds of teachers at one time. I can also ask a question using the same hashtag, and it will reach those who follow the hashtag, so more ideas will flow.

Many people are put off because they don’t understand what Twitter is and how it works. Therefore, we’ve put together the guide below to get you started on Twitter.

Getting started

To get started with Twitter you need to create an account. Most teachers tend to use their real names, however, you can make your account private so that students can’t find you. Add your interests to the about you section so that people with similar interests can follow you. Adding #geographyteacher is also recommended. Spend some time on your profile, it will help others decide whether to follow you!

Now your account is set up you should start following people. When you follow someone on Twitter their posts will be displayed on your timeline (much like posts on Facebook). Below are some of the geographers we recommend you start following (in no particular order):

Every Wednesday at 7.30pm there is a weekly forum to discuss and debate topics and issues in geographical education. This is lead by @geogchat.

Liking and Retweeting

You can like a tweet by clicking the heart icon below the Tweet. This tells the author of the tweet that you like their tweet. It also adds the tweet to your liked tweets. This is a list of tweets you like, just like adding a webpage to your favourites. The benefit of this is that if you are short of time, but want to explore resources/ideas in a tweet by liking it you can go back to it in the future.

You can also view tweets that have been liked by other people. This can provide a useful catalogue of great resources and ideas.

If you read a tweet that you like you can retweet it. By retweeting the post is added to your timeline and shared with people who follow you.

#HashTags

Not only can you search for individual people, you can also search by hashtags. Hashtags are used posts to tag a particular topic or theme. They are a way of categorising posts. This allows users to search by a hashtag and see a list of posts that are common in nature. For example, many geographers add the hashtag #geographyteacher to their posts. If you search for #geographyteacher you will see lots of posts that are relevant to you. Below are a collection of hashtags regularly used by geographers:

  • #geographyteacher
  • #teamgeog

Direct Messages

You can send messages to other Twitter users in private. These are called direct messages or DMs. Typically, you can only send direct messages to someone you follow and who follows you. If you want to send a direct message but the recipient is not following you send them a public message by tagging them in the post (this means including their Twitter username e.g. @internetgeog asked them to follow you so you can send them a direct message.

Followers

People can follow you on twitter. This means they can see your tweets, likes and retweets. If you are concerned about being followed by students etc you can lock down your account. This means anyone who wants to follow you (and see your tweets, likes and retweets) must have your authorisation.

Your First Post

There’s no rush to write your first post. Spend some time familiarising yourself with Twitter before posting. Dip your toes in the water by replying to another Twitter post. Many websites, such as the BBC (see below), offer the opportunity to share a web page through Twitter. Just click the Twitter icon and a popup window will appear that enables you to log into Twitter and share the page in a post.

Share a web page on Twitter
  • Click to share
  • Click to share
  • Click to share
  • Click to share
  • Digg
  • Evernote
  • Gmail
  • Print Friendly

Share a web page on Twitter

Twitter – the dos and dont’s

Do:

  • use it regulalry
  • thank people for sharing resources that you find useful
  • be prepared to make mistakes
  • be professional, keep a close watch on your online reputation and take action when needed.
  • keep private conversations private (don’t share direct messages)

Don’t:

  • steal people’s ideas and post them as your own elsewhere
  • just take resources, share your own
  • say anything on Twitter you wouldn’t want people to find out about, or wouldn’t say in public
  • follow someone just because they are following you; your timeline will become really busy if you follow everyone!
  • write about how much you hate your students

If you have found this useful please say hi to us via @internetgeog once you’ve set up your account on Twitter!

Anthony Bennett

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