Mike is Twitterpated

Mike is Twitterpated

Presented By: Mike Agostinelli

What is Twitter?

Twitter 101: How should I get started using Twitter?

If you've signed up to Twitter and are wondering how to get started or why you're here, this page is for you. This guide is designed to help you dive into Twitter’s wealth of information and find what matters most to you. First things first, you might be wondering:

What's Twitter Anyway?

Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It's a new and easy way to discover the latest news (“what’s happening”) related to subjects you care about.

How is it Useful?

Twitter contains information you will find valuable. Messages from users you choose to follow will show up on your homepage for you to read. It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting – you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.

How to Start Using Twitter:

If you remember one thing after perusing this page, it should be this: reading Tweets and discovering new information whenever you check in on your Twitter timeline is where you’ll find the most value on Twitter. Some people find it useful to contribute their own Tweets, but the real magic of Twitter lies in absorbing real-time information that matters to you.

1. DISCOVER SOURCES: find and follow others

It’s best to begin your journey by finding and following other interesting Twitter accounts. Look for businesses you love, public service accounts, people you know, celebrities, or news sources you read. (Click here for help finding interesting accounts.) Tip: One great way to find more interesting accounts is see who those you know or admire are following.

2. CHECK IT OFTEN: pay attention to what’s happening

Messages from others you follow will show up in a readable stream on your homepage timeline. Once you've followed a few people, you'll have a new page of information to read each time you log in. Click links in others' Tweets to view: photos and videos they have posted, the profiles of users mentioned in their message, or Tweets related to a hashtag (#) keyword they used. Tip: Try hovering your mouse over a user's name anywhere on your homepage. You'll see a pop-up box called a "hovercard" containing information about that user.

3. TAKE IT WITH YOU: connect your mobile

One of the best things about Twitter is that it’s portable. Connect your account to your mobile phone (see below for instructions) or download a Twitter application to begin reading Tweets on the go. Now you can get updates about traffic problems in the middle of your commute, find out what the players are saying while you’re at the game, or catch up on the buzz about an event you’re about to attend. The possibilities are endless! Tip: Using Twitter via SMS allows you to pick and choose which updates you want from those you follow, so you can get mobile updates from the accounts that matter most to your life on-the-go.

How to Start Tweeting:

Many users find it fun or exciting to contribute their own content to Twitter (we call this “tweeting”). If you’re one of them, here are some good ways to get started posting your own Tweets. People you know and people you are interested in what you have to say may follow you and they’ll see all the Tweets you share with them.

1. BUILD A VOICE: retweet, reply, react

Use existing information (other people's Tweets) on Twitter to find your own voice and show others what you care about. Retweet messages you've found and love, or reply with your reaction to a Tweet you find interesting. Tip: If you're a new user, others are more likely to find your messages if they are retweets or replies.

2. MENTION: include others in your content

Once you're ready to begin authoring your own messages, consider mentioning other users by their Twitter username (preceded by the @ sign) in your Tweets. This can help you think of what to write, will draw more eyes to your message, and can even start a new conversation. Try posting a message mentioning a celebrity or person you admire – they often respond to fans. You’ll see their response on your Mentions tab. Tip: Can’t think of anything to write? Don’t worry! Like I said, the real magic lies in locating and reading content on Twitter.

3. GET FANCY: explore advanced features

As you become more engaged on Twitter, others will begin to find and follow you. Once you're familiar with Twitter basics, consider exploring the site’s more advanced features: lists, direct messages, and favorites. Learn how to include photos or videos in your Tweets, or consider connecting your Twitter account to your your blog, Facebook, or website to show off your updates across the web. Tip: The best way to gain followers on Twitter is to regularly engage and contribute in a meaningful way.

Tips and Tricks:

Need help finding interesting accounts?

Click the “Find People” tab at the top of your Twitter page. You can find and follow other accounts in these three ways: 1) browse accounts by subject, 2) import your address book contacts to find out which friends are already on Twitter, 3) search one-by-one for people or groups of interest.

Need help using Twitter on your mobile phone?

By linking your Twitter account to your mobile phone number, you can receive and write Tweets via text message. Learn how to get started by clicking here. Or, visit our Mobile Help section of articles.

Confused by our lingo?

Check out the Twitter Glossary containing definitions for a ton of Twitter terms used on our website.

Want help setting up your Twitter profile?

Click here to learn about adding a photo, bio, and more to customize your Twitter profile.

How to Follow Others

You can follow people in any of the following ways:

  • via the web
  • via SMS/text message
  • via the mobile website (mobile.twitter.com)
  • via third-party application

How to Follow on the Web:

Click "follow" under any profile picture on Twitter.


Helpful hints:

  • Protected users will have to approve your follow request before you'll receive their Tweets.
  • Import your contacts from your address book to find friends already using Twitter, or invite friends who aren't on Twitter yet.

What are @Replies and Mentions?

What is an @Reply?

A reply is any update posted by clicking the "Reply" button on another Tweet

People say lots of things on Twitter, and sometimes you want to say something back. Your reply will always begin with @username (insert username of the person you are replying to). Anyone Tweet that is a reply to you will show up in your @Mentions tab on your homepage.

To post a reply on Twitter:

  • Find the Tweet you want to react to on Twitter.
  • Hover your mouse over their message and click the "reply" icon.
  • Complete your Tweet in the box that pops up, and click "Tweet" to send it


What is an @Mention?

A mention is any Twitter update that contains @username anywhere in the body of the Tweet. (Yes, this means that replies are also considered mentions.)

We noticed people frequently searching for their user name (@username) to find the Tweets that mention their username anywhere in the message. We collect these messages, as well as all your replies, in the @Mentions tab on your homepage. If you include more than one person's name in your update and you use the @username format, those people will all see the update in their personal mentions tab.

To post a mention on Twitter:

  • Type your message normally, but replace any names you include with @username (including the person's Twitter username). Our system will recognize and highlight the username that way, as shown below for this mention of @FreelanceWhales (a super cool band that we mentioned).



If I see a reply in my timeline, how do I know what message they replied to?

Easy! Just click any space around the Tweet and your details pane will open to display the Tweet they replied to, as well as other content related to the message.

Things to Note:

  • When you visit another user's profile page on Twitter, you will not see a mentions tab for them. But you can search for all Tweets mentioning their username in our search box. Search for "@username" to view results.
  • People will only see others' replies in their home timeline if they are following both the sender and recipient of the update.
  • People will see any mentions posted by someone they follow (all mentions are treated like regular Tweets).
  • People with protected accounts can only send replies to people they have approved to follow them.
  • If someone sends you a reply and you are not following the user, the reply will not appear on your Home timeline. Instead, the reply will appear in your Mentions timeline.
  • Replies will always have "in reply to" listed next to their timestamp. If a Tweet doesn't have this, it's a mention.

How To Post a Tweet

Twitter always asks the question "What's happening?" Each answer to that question is considered a Twitter update, or what people often call a "Tweet." Each update is 140 characters or less.

To Post Your Tweet via the Web:

  1. Log in to your Twitter account
  2. Type your Tweet into the "What's happening?" box at the top of your screen (shown below).
  3. Make sure your update is fewer than 140 characters. We'll count the characters for you! Remaining characters show up as a number below the box.
  4. Click the Tweet button to post the Tweet to your profile.
  5. You will immediately see your Tweet in the timeline on your homepage, as shown below.



To Post Your Tweet via Text Message:

Another way (some say the best way!) to post updates is from your cell phone. First, set up your phone to link to your Twitter account, then simply send your message as a text to your appropriate Twitter short code.

To Delete Your Tweet:

To delete a Tweet that you have posted, please read this article. Note that you may only delete Tweets which you posted yourself from your account. You may not delete Tweets which were posted by other accounts. Instead, you can unfollow or block users whose tweets you do not want to receive.

What's a Message? (formerly called a Direct Message)

A Message (previously called a Direct Message) is a private message sent via Twitter to one of your followers. (This is different than mentions and @replies.)

  • In turn, people you follow can send you a private message.
  • You cannot send a direct message to a user who is not following you.

How to Send a Private Message via the Web:

  1. Log in to your Twitter account.
  2. Click the "Messages" button on the top menu bar of your page.
  3. You'll land on a page showing your private messages history. Click the "New Message" button, highlighted below. Click to send a new message.
  4. In the pop-up box, type the name or username of the person you wish to send to.
  5. Enter the message you wish to privately send, and click "Send."

Tip: Make sure that user follows you. You may only send a direct message to your followers.


What Are Hashtags ("#" Symbols)?

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

Hashtags: helping you find interesting Tweets

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Example: Below, @VegNews added the hashtag before the word "vegan" in their message. The word is now a link to search results for all Tweets containing "#vegan" in the message.


Using hashtags

  • If Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet.
  • Don't #spam #with #hashtags. Don't over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 3 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

Further Discovery and Reading

  • The third party site hashtag.org offers an overview of popular hashtags used on Twitter. Find out about trends, look at small, pretty graphs, and search to see if the hashtags of your fantasies exist.
  • You may also want to read this article about hashtags, which appeared in The New Yorker magazine.

What Is Retweet? (RT)

Like a Tweet? Retweet! Sometimes you come across a Tweet that you just have to share. Twitter's retweet (otherwise known as "RT") feature helps you and others quickly share that Tweet with all of your followers.

How to Retweet:

  1. Hover over a Tweet
  2. Click the retweet link, highlighted below
  3. The Tweet will then be forwarded to all of your followers


Where to Find Retweets:

Click the “Retweets” tab on your homepage to to see what you’ve retweeted, what’s been retweeted by people you follow, and who retweeted your Tweets! The following items appear in a drop-down menu. Click one of them to see results.

  • Retweets by others: read the retweets posted by people you follow under the first tab, 'Retweets by others.'
  • Retweets by you: read your own retweets- it's like the sent items in your email account. If others have also retweeted, you'll see their profile icons listed.
  • Your Tweets, retweeted: find out who retweets your tweets!

Note: Please note that retweets, like regular tweets, from people you've blocked will not show up.


How Can I see Who Retweeted my Tweets in new Twitter?

Easy, just click on 'Your Tweets, Retweeted' in the Retweets tab, then click on the Tweet! The details pane will load to the right of the Tweet, complete with a tiled list of users who recently Retweeted your Tweet and the total number of times the Tweet has been Retweeted.


Disabling Retweets:

If a particular account that you follow retweets stuff that you don’t want to see in your home timeline, just visit their profile to turn off retweets from them. Here’s how:

  1. Open a user’s mini-profile by clicking their username anywhere on Twitter, or go to their full profile at http://www.twitter.com/username
  2. Next to the Following button, click the retweets icon as shown below. Grey = OFF, so anything that person retweets won’t show up in your timeline.
  3. To turn their retweets back on, click the button to turn it green. Green = ON.


Keep in mind:

  • If you see a new face in your timeline, it's because someone you follow retweeted something they thought you should see. In the message, you’ll see the picture and username of the original user, who was retweeted by someone you follow. Turn off retweets for that person if you don’t like what they share.
  • Turning on or off retweets is NOT retroactive, meaning that retweets from someone you follow will be delivered to your home timeline while the retweet button for them is green; retweets will not be delivered while the button is grey.

Recognizing Retweets in Timelines and Profiles

  • Retweets in all timelines and profiles are distinguished by the retweet icon Screen_shot_2010-07-21_at_2.42.25_PM.png followed by the name of the retweeter in the upper right-hand corner of the message.
  • To credit a Tweet's author, retweets show the profile picture, user name, and tweet of the original author, with "retweeted by" information appended at bottom.
  • If you see a message from a stranger in your timeline, look for the retweet icon – the retweeter should be someone you follow.


Frequently Asked Questions

People often wonder:

  1. Can I turn off ALL retweets? Nope! You can unfollow a user who retweets things you don't like, but you can't turn off retweets completely.
  2. When people visit my profile, can they view my retweets in a tab, like favorites? Nope. People can view the retweets posted in your profile by scrolling through the your tweets and looking for the ones with retweet icons. Only you can see your retweet archives.
  3. What if I retweet from apps like Tweetie, twhirl, etc? Retweets, like regular tweets, will appear differently in different applications. All retweets from third party apps (like Tweetie and twhirl) will show up in your retweet tab IF they're using Twitter's retweet API. (Not sure? Try retweeting from your favorite app, and then check the "retweets by you" tab on the web.) Many apps have built in their own version of retweeting; retweets sent from apps that don't use the official feature will not appear in your retweet tab.
  4. Are there limits on retweets? There's no limit to the number of times a tweet can be retweeted, but Twitter will only show the most recent 100 retweeters for any public tweet.

Sample Lesson

This lesson focuses on introducing Twitter to students in class, helping them get up and running and, most importantly, assisting students in the discovery of interesting Twitterers to follow. Finally, there are a few suggested follow-up activities that help students continue their English learning with Twitter, as well as provide fun short discussion themes for class.

Aim: Twitter lesson to practice English taking advantage of Twitter

Activity: Introduction and continuing Twitter communication activity to help students use Twitter on a regular basis to improve English communication skills

Level: Low-intermediate to advanced


  • Get up to speed on Twitter if you are not familiar with the service. This guide to learning English on Twitter should be of help. This short YouTube video, Twitter in Plain English, will give you an overview of the service. If you don’t have a Twitter account, sign up and start experimenting by using some of the ideas outlined in the resources mentioned, as well as in this Twitter lesson plan.
  • Provide computer access either via a computer learning lab, or by asking students to bring in their smart phones.
  • Introduce the service by prepping based on class interests. Find a few Twitter streams to examine by using the search function at Twitter. It’s especially helpful to use Twitter to search on popular culture. Ask students for suggestions and watch the funny comments role in. Soon you’ll be helping students learn a wide variety of idiomatic phrases.
  • Create an account for the entire class to get the ball rolling. This account can then be used in follow-up activities to make sure the class continues to use Twitter. This account will help students who are shy about using Twitter to slowly understand the potential of English language learning via Twitter.
  • Choose a few favorite topics to compose some tweets. Have students break up into small groups with each group choosing a topic on which to post their first tweet. (For Twitter related vocabulary use this twictionary reference page).
  • Post the first tweets. Once students see how easy it is, they should become more interested in participating. Ask students to return to their groups and discover a few interesting tweets using the search function on Twitter, or by looking for famous people they would like to follow. Each group should discoverthree to four tweets they especially like to read and explain to the class. 
  • As homework, ask students to create their own Twitter accounts and follow at least 10 Twitterers. Explain that students should bring in their Twitter user names for the next class.

During the next class, collect the Twitter account names and use the class account to follow everyone. Have students follow their classmates, as well as show off some of the Twitterers they have chosen to follow.

Follow-up Activities

During class, as a warm-up to other comprehension activities, ask students to use Twitter search to find some interesting tweets about the lesson topic of the day.
Have students conduct informal twitter polls by asking questions about specific topics discussed in class.
When learning idioms, ask students to tweet a few examples using the idioms in question for practice.
Every month, ask students to base a short presentation on a topic they’ve discovered or explored using Twitter.

25 ways to use Twitter in your Classroom:

From: http://www.techlearning.com/article/20896 by Sonja Cole Twitter: @bookwink

1) Ask for recommended books, lesson ideas, or teaching tools.
Sample tweet: Can anyone share their successful SMART board lessons for 2nd grade?
Sample tweet: What are some good books to read aloud to 4th graders? I switched grade levels this year and need some ideas!

2) Be sure to thank the people who respond.
Sample tweet: @RickToone @evelynsaenz Very cool digital stories! Thanks for pointing me to them. http://www.squidoo.com

3) Ask for help or advice about a professional question.
Sample tweet:  Is there a way to find out when your teaching certificate expires?

4) Write a book list one tweet at a time, or link to a book list on the web. 
Sample tweet: Grade 3 #summerreading: Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, the most lovable troublemaker since Ramona Quimby
Sample tweet: #kidlit Updated list of China books for kids. Thanks for all your rec's. http://tinyurl.com/clt683

5) Tweet about a useful web resource, a particular blog post, video, website, book, product or service that teachers would find useful.
Sample tweet: Fantastic edublog giving teachers practical tips for integrating technology into the classroom. www.iLearntechnology.com

6) Provide a daily tip like a word of the day, book of the day, random trivia, useful fact, teacher tip or helpful resource.
Sample tweet: Summer Reading Tweetfest coming June 1. A daily summer book recommendation for kids. #kidlit

7) Share new studies of interest to other teachers.
Sample tweet: Supporting Struggling Writers Using Technology: Evidence-Based Instruction and Decision Making http://tinyurl.com/qzzq6q #edtech #education

8) Celebrate timely events. Recognize author birthdays, African American History Month, and other holidays or events.
Sample tweet: May 5th - Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

9) Tweet about your school's website, blog and/or podcast. Add a new tweet to let your followers know when you make updates.
Sample tweet: A link to ESL Summer School Information can be found on the home page http://bit.ly/14DHwX

10) Link to a book trailer or video booktalk you create.
Sample tweet: New video booktalk for Chu Ju's House is up on Bookwink.com. http://www.bookwink.com

11) Start a Twitter book club and tweet your reactions to the book as you read. 
Sample tweet: Just finished chapter 1 of Graceling and I'm hooked. What do you think is going to happen next? #reading

12) Invite followers to an event (online or offline). Events can include open-house programs, author visits, extracurricular activities, meetings, your online book club, webchat, etc.
Sample tweet: Live Chat: Helping Students Find Their Inner Reader. Today at 4EST. http://www.edweek.org

13) Link to photos of your classroom. 
Sample tweet: K-3 Teacher Resources Photo Gallery - Share and Browse Classroom Photos http://tinyurl.com/px7so4

14) Share teaching humor.
Sample tweet: Funny teacher videos because we could all use a good laugh. http://bit.ly/SbG7u

15) Retweet someone else's post that you found interesting. 
Sample retweet: RT @charlottetracks Great podcasts for kids on our new podcast page: http://tinyurl.com/cq9q4wet
Sample retweet: RT @Bookwink Great #summerreading video review of "Museum Mysteries for Kids" similar to Elise Broach's MASTERPIECE  http://bit.ly/dt5MD

16) Say thanks when someone retweets you or mentions you in their tweets. 
Sample tweet:@KateMessner Thanks for the RT. I have a video of Masterpiece as well http://bit.ly/zHTsD

17) On Fridays, recommend other tweeters that your followers should check out. 
Sample tweet:  #followfriday @kidderlit Twittering the first lines of children's books. I love it! 

18) Answer someone else's general question, and reply to those who ask you a direct question.
Sample tweet: @LizB Occasionally booktalk books I haven't read or didn't like but always explain why. Too scary for me might be perfect for someone else.

19) Schedule to meet fellow teachers at a conference, or organize a professional tweet-up in your area.
Sample tweet: Trying to plan a tweetup to coincide with a big technology and education conference (NECC) and all are welcome!

20) Make a personal connection by sharing your favorite teaching resource, lesson idea, new book, blog post, etc. 
Sample tweet: The most exciting fiction book I've read this year is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Recommend it to everyone age 12 and up. 

21) Ask others for favorites. 
Sample tweet: What are your favorite Twitter tools for teachers?

22) Post requests for people to come and speak at your events.
Sample tweet: Sign language experts needed for Deaf Awareness Assembly at our school.

 23) Find summer work or school employment postings. If you see someone else looking for a job, retweet their request.
Sample tweet:  Anyone in the Orlando area in need of a tutor or summer babysitter? Certified teacher in need of a job with great recommendations!!
Sample tweet: Anne Arundel County Public Sch is #hiring a TEACHER ASSISTANT-Annapolis,MD http://tinyurl.com/qnzje4 #job #tweetmyjobs #jobs

24) Ask for something free. Post your classroom wish-list or tweet about your school fund drive and request online donations.
Sample tweet: Fundraiser for Solidarity School win a $600k villa + $100,000 cash for $50 ticket - http://bit.ly/8NwNJ 

25) Join a Twibe. A twibe allows you to follow a group of like-minded people. As I'm writing there are 333 Education twibes for all kinds of people tweeting about education, but new twibes are forming all the time. To see the list of Education twibes, visit http://www.twibes.com/category/education.
Sample tweet: Just joined a twibe. Visit http://twibes.com/edtech to join.

A former teacher and Middle School Librarian, Sonja Cole now hosts Bookwink.com, video booktalks for kids. She is also an active Tweeter @bookwink.

A few Twitter spinoff sites:

http://twitaholic.com/ - List top twitter users based upon followers (Great way to find celebrities and teams)

http://www.localtweeps.com/ - Search for Twitter users based upon zip code.

http://twitter4teachers.pbworks.com/w/page/22554534/FrontPage - Teacher Twitter users organized by Subject Area

http://tweetcloud.icodeforlove.com/ - Create a word cloud of the words you have used the most over a period of time.

Safe Twitter follows for the 8-12 year old group: