Posts Tagged ‘twitter’


Posted: September 9, 2013 in About reading & writing blogs
Tags: ,

One of the things that makes blogging difficult is the fear that we are not experts and we don’t have any “blogworthy” wisdom to share. As a result, we get blogger’s block and we don’t blog at all…

One of the main reasons why I ask you to blog is so that you feel all these feelings associated with blogging and therefore understand bloggers and blogging culture a bit better.

While I sympathize with the feelings, I really want to make sure you don’t think about each blog post as a masterpiece. It isn’t. It shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes on a blog post. If it has your attention and you are thinking about it, and is related to class, it is interesting and you should blog about it.

Or tweet. Please see some older posts about the very same topic – and see how the advice I gave to those students can be help you, too:

You’ll see that you are not alone. Most students experience this apprehension at the beginning of the semester. It is important that you move past it.

If you don’t know what to blog about this week, may I give you an idea? How about you blog about Twitter. Ask questions, or give advice to classmates about anything Twitter related. How you found people to follow, or maybe a short list of people they should follow, a story about how you engaged on Twitter with someone you didn’t know, or how you manage to remember to log in and tweet… Or any other tips or questions that come to mind.

Pulling teeth

Posted: October 27, 2011 in Social media advice :)

So this title may not be entirely relevant, but I sometimes feel like social media immersion is like pulling teeth. Students who get it end up benefiting, though, and I guess that makes it worth while. Tonight’s class also felt like pulling teeth… I understand we’re all tired, and some of us sick, and sometimes life sucks, but hey, at least I get to complain on my blog. And on Twitter. Once again, my Twitter network comes to the rescue. I asked:

Here’s advice for you TECH 621 students. I met ALL of these people, btw, on Twitter.

And, in response to my thank you Tweet:

You ABSOLUTELY need to check out the Twitter workout [pdf] @conntess mentions. Try it for a week. See what happens.

I just need to remind myself that even though it feels like pulling teeth today, I may hear from you 3-4 years later with one of those notes that make it all worthwhile. Until then, please know that if you need a tooth pulled, I am here to help, patiently and lovingly. 🙂

Tweet away,

Dr. V

Whether you realized it or not, we learned a lot during the first week of class.

If you need some help or reminders with:

  • using Google Reader
  • understanding blog terms (post, page, permalink, and more: comment, trackback)
  • an overview of the WordPress dashboard as it looked like some time back, and/or
  • help creating a new blog post in WordPress

Please see these tutorials I created for students just like you. Of course, you can also learn how to get started directly from WordPress – and here is a good Twitter guide book from Mashable (a social media blog you should be following).

If you need help with Twitter, please see these posts I wrote for students just like you 🙂 You can browse the posts tagged “Twitter” by clicking the word “twitter” in the cloud tag on the left side bar.

We ended class with a to do list for you. I am sure you have everything in your notes, but just in case, here it is again:

  1. Set up your blog. You can use your real name or a pseudonym. Post your blog’s URL in a comment on this first post about class.
  2. Set up your Twitter account. Write your bio, customize your picture (avatar). Say hi to me on Twitter by sending a tweet that begins with @mihaela_v. Include the characters #TECH621 in your tweet. So, you can type a tweet such as: “@mihaela_v Hi, I’m on Twitter now. #TECH621”
  3. Do the readings and assignment for next week. See the syllabus. Readings are on Blackboard. You can collect the 20 social media sites on your blog. Just have them available in class. Print the list out or bring your computer. Each item on the list should include a brief description of the site. For example: – social news; – music listening/sharing.
  4. Subscribe to this blog. You can start by email, but I recommend you figure out Google Reader. Also, you may look into making iGoogle your home page. Here is what mine looks like, after I customized it with the widgets I need most:

iGoogle screen shotQuestions? Please let me know in the comments below.

I am giving away 5 tickets to Twestival Local. Please head over to my PR Connections blog to see details and enter the drawing.

I hear this a lot from students who are just getting started on Twitter:

I’m just a student. I’m still learning. I don’t really have something that interesting to say… So, what should I tweet about?

First, stop underestimating yourself. You’re way more interesting than you think!

Second, you know the question that Twitter asks, “What’s happening?” Ignore that. Replace it with the question: “What has your attention right now?”

Let me elaborate these two points:

You’re more interesting than you think

Many people, those who are older than you, or those outside the university, are very interested in you. They’re interested in knowing:

  • what you think
  • what you think about
  • what you’re learning

There are several reasons for this, such as people wanting to keep in touch with the young generation. It is, for them, a way of staying informed and young :). Another reason is that it’s been a while since these people went to college. There are lots of smart, curious people on Twitter, who are really interested in finding out what students learn these days. So, stop assuming you are not interesting. Even the mundane things, such as what you’re reading for class, and what music you’re listening to, are much more interesting than you think.

What has your attention right now?

Keep in mind that with every Tweet that you post, you construct your online identity – an image of yourself online. It is, of course, important to be careful and mindful about how your represent yourself. A much better and more interesting way of presenting yourself is to answer, on Twitter, the question “What has your attention?” rather than “What’s happening?” So, mention on Twitter the things you’re focusing on at the moment. Some examples:

  • You probably are (or should be) spending a lot of time on class readings. Any interesting ideas from class readings? You probably think that’s the most boring thing ever, but that’s actually one of the most interesting things you can tweet about. It’s good for your online identity management, because it shows people what you’re learning – a potential employer would be really interested in that!
  • Share links – what are you reading online? Share links to research articles, blog posts, magazine articles, news articles – things you read on a usual basis, show us what has your attention. Show us you are reading things, you are curious, eager to stay informed.
  • Promote your blog posts. You just wrote a new post. Maybe you’re proud of it. Maybe you need some input. Or just the reassurance that someone reads it. Share the permalink on Twitter. Twitter etiquette recommends you specify in your tweet that the link is a blog post and provide a hint about the post’s topic. For example: “What should students Tweet about? New blog post:”
  • What are you thinking about? – Yes, your thoughts and reactions to your environment are interesting. They show people a bit of who you are, by showing them how you think. So, a bit of commentary and reactions are interesting.
  • Post pictures. See something interesting, pretty, or a cute animal? Share a photo. Use twitpic, yfrog, or a similar service for sharing photos to Twitter. Be careful, though. Don’t post photos that would embarrass you later.
  • What are you having for lunch? – OK, this is a no-no. Usually. Unless you’re having something very interesting and exotic, which shows what an interesting person you are. Or you cooked it yourself, and you’re really proud of it. And you post a picture ;). Or you want us to join you and are letting us know where you are.
  • Retweets. Retweet others’ tweets that you find interesting. Retweeting, in Twitter culture, is used to either share information with your followers (like an email forward), or to show endorsement of an idea.
  • Ask questions. There’s a real talent to asking a good question that stimulates conversation. If you have a question, ask.
  • Last but not least, @ replies.Engage people. Give them attention.

Try to mix it up, don’t do too much of just one thing.

On the other side of the coin, here’s some serious advice on what NOT to tweet about, and some funny advice on the same topic.

Need more Twitter advice? See previous blog posts I’ve written about Twitter as well as posts on social media advice.

Need even MORE advice, or have a tip to share? That’s what the comments are for!

Just in case you’re thinking of making a career out of this class… (no, one class isn’t enough, but it’s a start) – User experience jobs on Twitter.


Are you using Twitter (professionally)? Are you following me? If I’m not following you back, @ me.

Now that your Twitter accounts and your blogs are set up, it’s time to spell out expectations for using them.

Some of you have used Twitter and blogs before, some of you haven’t. While that might impact how comfortable you are with the technology, in some ways, for this class, you may be starting afresh.

Here is my overall intention that should guide your use of these tools for class purposes:

In CGT581, I hope you will use Twitter and your blog to learn about using social media for productivity, to document your learning & reading, and to connect with people you can learn from.

Let me break this down for you:

1. Use Twitter & blogs to connect with people you can learn from.
I’ve helped you identify some people who work and write about enterprise 2.0, and recommended you subscribe to their blogs, read them regularly, and follow them on Twitter. Connect with these people by commenting on their blogs, blogging about what they wrote, and engaging with them on Twitter. Extend your Twitter network to include these professional contacts, in addition to the people you are already following.

2. Learn and document your learning.
Use your blog to reflect on what you’ve learned from someone else’s blog post and to link to the original post. Use Twitter to disseminate links to blog posts relevant to class (whether your own or someone else’s). Use Twitter and commenting to discuss class-related issues with your classmates. Show me and each other what you’re reading and learning online, and help each other discover interesting resources. For example, if you discover a blog or a Twitter user we should all follow, write a post about it. Explain what the blog is about, or what the person does, and make a brief argument why we should follow them. Provide all necessary links.

At the end of the semester, when I evaluate your social media participation, this is what I’ll be looking for:

Blog – between 16-20 blog posts, spread out evenly throughout the semester. The blog posts may contain your original ideas, but they should be in response to something you read online – whether a professional blog post or a mass media article. Your post should include links to relevant resources. Remember, we’re not using blogs in this class for navel gazing. We’re using them to point to interesting resources, comment on them, help others find them. Your posts need not be lengthy. Anywhere between 250-400 words is fine.

Twitter – I’ll look for two things: posting relevant links and engaging professionally with people both inside, but especially outside, of class. So, your funny banter or comments about the football game won’t count (though you’re welcome to engage in them – they do help you build & maintain relationships), but comments about using social media in the workplace/for productivity and posting relevant links will count. I will also look at your list of people you follow, and make sure you are following professionals in the social media space. If you believe your current Twitter account is not suitable for networking professionally, feel free to create a new one, and let me know (I don’t think this is the case, but it’s entirely up to you).

Blog comments – I will need to see the comments you have posted on other (professional, not personal/entertainment) blogs about social media & productivity. You can use Backtype to collect your comments (be careful, make sure you give all the info it needs to pick up your comments & you let me know your username so I can follow you) or you can start a new page on your blog where you link to the comments you’ve posted. You can follow these instructions, posted by a fellow teacher. Ask me in class about how to write meaningful comments on blog posts.

Remember, social media engagement is a large portion of your course grade, so you need to take it seriously and invest the time it requires. I don’t expect you to know how to do all this – so please ask me questions.

I need to make sure you’ve read and understood these instructions, so please post a comment or ask a question in the comments below.

P.S. – thank you again, Kyle, for the nice image in the blog header!