Saturday, September 7, 2013

Finding the Power of Twitter

Recently I had lunch with a friend who asked, "How do you manage Twitter?  How do you keep up?" I hear this question a lot from people who have a hard time understanding what everyone loves about Twitter.  I'm sure when people ask me the question they are really asking, "Why are you so crazy?"

Twitter takes time to learn and love.  I'd consider myself a Twitter addict but, even though I love it, I find it hard to get back into the flow after being away for a few weeks.  It takes time to get back into the conversations.

Twitter Threads
Twitter runs in threads, but the threads are all intermixed.  When I first started using Twitter I worked hard to find the threads.  I made Twitter lists of people who often tweet about the same topics.  When viewing your Twitter feed it is not uncommon to have a tweet about literacy beside a tweet about technology under a news tweet.  You know what I mean.

Grouping like accounts under a topic and then reading in a list view can help conversations to connect a bit more.  I also learned to use the "conversation button."  This button lets me view a tweet and the other tweets in the conversation.  Twitter has also started using a blue line to show you conversation connections.  I'm not sure what I think of this yet, but it all helps tweets to make a bit more sense.

Managing Twitter
How do I keep up with Twitter?  I really don't.  I doubt anyone truly does.  There's too much happening and I just don't let myself worry about it.  I catch what I can and know that if something is truly amazing it will come back through the feed again.  It always does.

Here are a few tips that help me love Twitter:
  • Make Twitter lists.  This helps you manage your feed.  When I'm really busy I just go to the lists I know I don't want to miss.  (You can also follow the lists other people create.)
  • Take advantage of wait time.  I spend a lot of time waiting.  Waiting at games.  Waiting in lines.  Waiting for kids after events.  Wait time is the perfect time to check Twitter.  
  • Follow hashtags.  More and more I find myself following hashtag conversations.  These are usually groups of people interested in a common topic.  You can view the conversation whether you are following everyone or not.  Some of my favorite hashtags right now are:  #poetryfriday #1stchat - there's #2ndchat #4thchat...etc. - #edchat #PublicEd #nerdybookclub #slice2013 #rechat.
  • Make your own conversations.  Remember Twitter is about learning.  You will enjoy it more if you comment on tweets people share, if you start conversations, if you ask questions, if you interact with others.  
  • Don't let Twitter own you.  Don't worry if you don't get there every night.  Don't worry if you have missed hundreds of tweets.  There will be plenty more amazing conversations.  
What do you love about Twitter?  What tips do you have for managing it?  


  1. Thanks for the tips Cathy!

    I love to use Twitter to hear what's happening in education. I love reading ideas that get me thinking and getting links to great articles and blogs. If there is a good conference happening I love to follow the hashtags. It's been a way for me to grow professionally. I don't always have time for Twitter but it's always there for me to "drop in" and read what others are thinking. I follow a lot of wise people (such as yourself Cathy) who inspire me to learn more:)

  2. I still have a lot to learn about Twitter - thanks for these tips!