While I was at the MECA conference this week, I was talking with some folks about social media in general, but Twitter in particular. It seems a lot of folks still shy away from Twitter from one reason or another. Of course educators have a particularly fine line to walk so that they maintain an appropriate teacher-student status. And many school districts still have policies in place that make it difficult to utilize Twitter in the classroom. And that is not a problem. However, I found out that many folks still do not realize the full capabilities of Twitter. So, I will share my thoughts with you.
Twitter is not just a way to let people know where you are or what you are doing. It is a great for sharing links with students, parents, and other teachers. The link can be a website, photo gallery, video, or anything else on the web. Simply copy the URL and paste it into the tweet BEFORE you start typing the message. Twitter will shorten any URL to 20 characters, thereby leaving you with 120 to deliver your message. Then any follower can click and go to the link. Also, by having a link and/or hashtag in your tweet, it can be used with other applications that we will talk about later.
Sometimes, if you are like me, something will pop into your head that you really need to tweet out. Problem is, it might be 3 AM, and no one will see it when they look at their tweets that morning. Twitter, and the desktop application Tweetdeck, allow you to schedule your tweets to go out on the day and time of your choosing. You can include links, photos, anything else you would normally tweet out. You just schedule it for the future. Pretty cool to be able to sit down August 1 and tweet out reminders about exam dates and paper due dates and conference dates for throughout the year. You can also schedule Direct Messages this way.
Realtime Search Engine
Who does not use Google to search for information on the web? The folks at Bing of course!! hahaha. The problem with those search engines, is that they filter things and rank things based on payment and their specific algorithms. With Twitter, you can search for something either by keywords or hashtags, and Twitter returns every tweet without filtering it. During real-time events such as bad weather or other emergencies, Twitter can provide you better information that the search engines. BUUUUUUT…..remember Twitter is UNFILTERED, and sources may or may not be reporting actual fact. SO you will need to find sources you are comfortable with.
Triggers for Other Products
Using Twitter with links and hashtags allows you to trigger text messaging using Cel.ly or self-generating newspaper via Paper.li. With Cel.ly if your school has an official Twitter account, you can take tweets sent from that account to send out text messages to parents and or students if it has a specific hashtag in the tweet. So in tha case of weather emergencies, a tweet from your school with the hashtag #emergency would not only be tweeted out to Twitter followers, it would also be texted for people who have opted to receive text messages. But it will only be texted if it comes from a specific Twitter account and is accompanied by a specific hashtag. We can go deeper into that another time. You can also use tweets that you follow or tweet out yourself to generate a newspaper using Paper.li. The newspaper only uses tweets with links in them, so you do not have to worry about a lot of trivial tweets to come through. it is a great way to generate content not only for your twitter followers, but a way to generate a newspaper so followers do not have to search through a time line looking for links to follow.
So there are four ways to use Twitter that you may or may not have been aware of. Hopefully it will get your brain to working (or get your head a spinning!) on ways you can use this with your class or student organization.
By the way, I am typing this on Wednesday night, but scheduling it to tweeted Thursday morning, along with a specific hashtag that will text it out to my Cel.ly cells Thursday morning in addition to my “What’s New in Technology” paper Thursday afternoon. Fun huh!!
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
- Are Hashtags In Commercials Effective? [Infographic] (sysomos.com)
- How Twitter will change the way we live (itmashable.com)
- 10 Tools for Hashtag Research and Management (marketingtechblog.com)
- Twitter pushes content front and center with app updates (cnn.com)
- Twitter Revamps Search on Mobile, Now Includes People, Tweets and Photos (news.softpedia.com)