50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Teachers


50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Teachers

I wrote this some years ago and then lost it on an old blog. But as it is still searched for I thought I’d recreate it.

This is based on one of Chris Brogans’ posts 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business.

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your organisations’s name, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  2. Add a picture of yourself. People want to see you.
  3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. It shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your teaching space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to neat things in your school/college/polytech/university.
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead.
  7. Be wary of always blowing your own trumpet. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your staffs’ outside-of-work stories (with their permission).
  9. Be human.
  10. Talk about non-teacher talk, too.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What’s happening?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer for your organisation. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her too.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff.
  7. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, teaching tips etc.
  8. Share the human side of your organisation. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  9. Don’t toot your own horn too much.
  10. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  1. You don’t have to read every tweet. REALLY
  2. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  3. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation.
  4. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  5. 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  6. If you tweet all day while your fellow teachers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  7. If you’re representing your organisation, and tweeting all the time (i.e. not working), you might hear about it.
  8. Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like Bitly and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  9. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  10. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  1. Twitter takes up time.
  2. Twitter takes you away from teaching.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. Twitter doesn’t replace supporting students.
  6. Twitter is not relevant to teaching.
  7. Twitter is just for nerds.
  8. Our students/parents are not on Twitter (really)
  9. Twitter doesn’t replace email .
  10. Twitter opens the organisation up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  1. Twitter helps you organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
  2. Twitter works well as an opinion poll.
  3. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  4. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “back channel.”
  5. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  6. Twitter lets you find teachers with similar teaching interests
  7. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  8. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  9. Twitter helps with professional development.
  10. Twitter helps keep you up-to-date

How are you using Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

Want a more visual version? NOW available on SlideShare and YouTube.