Saturday, February 7, 2015

Reaching Out on Twitter

So you've set up a Twitter account and are learning from the tweets that roll across your feed.  You're just not sure that's enough.  You want to start to get more from the connections you've made on Twitter.  Recently Cindy Wallace, who joined Twitter in January, contacted me to ask for ways to reach out to other educators.  I loved the question but, since I couldn't answer it in 140 characters, I decided to jump over to this space to tell a little more.

Many people join Twitter, but then walk away.  There's only so long a person can just watch tweets roll across the screen.  Connecting and getting involved is the secret to making Twitter work for you.  Here are a few suggestions for reaching out on Twitter:  
  • Acknowledge:  Let people know you find something they shared useful, relevant or helpful by sending a reply or direct message.  
  • Ask Questions:  Ask questions about tweets shared by others or start your own conversation.  
  • Join Conversations:  If you see an interesting conversation happening on Twitter, just jump into it.  That's the great thing about Twitter; people are hoping to engage others.  If two people want a conversation to be private they will move the discussion to their direct message box, so feel free to add to the chatter.  The more the merrier!
  • Mention Others:  Just asking a question won't always bring feedback, but mentioning others (adding a Twitter name with the @ symbol, i.e. @cathymere) who might be able to speak to a topic is a smart way to get feedback in response to a tweet you send.  Questions can roll through the feed without notice, but mentioning someone can assure a response.  
  • Use Hashtags:  Include hashtags in your tweets to reach a wider audience.  Hashtags will assure groups will see your tweets.  Choose a hashtag that will send your tweet to people interested in your topic.  Are you tweeting for help with a classroom practice?  If you teach first grade use #1stchat.  Are you talking about books?  Try adding #nerdybookclub or #titletalk.  (Here are some educational hashtags shared by @cybraryman.)
  • Retweet:  On occasion, retweet tweets you find helpful or from people with whom you're trying to connect.   
  • Join Chats:  Chats often happen weekly or monthly around topics of interest in education.  Find a chat that fits your needs, and join the conversation.  You'll form many connections by participating in these events.  
  • Visit blogs:  Stop by the virtual blog spaces of those you follow and leave comments.  This will not only allow you to join the conversation, but grow connections for more conversations.  
What else?  I'm sure there are other suggestions for reaching out to others on Twitter, please share them in the comments below.  

A Few Twitter Resources

Or stop here:  Twitter for Educators


  1. What a helpful post, Cathy! Thank you. It's excellent.

  2. Thank you. Great information .

  3. Fantastic post Cathy! I'm going to share it with my teacher who are finally beginning to try out Twitter!

  4. I hope you mentioned Marie when you tweeted this! ;-)

  5. Fantastic post Cathy! I'm going to share it with my teacher who are finally beginning to try out Twitter! facebook