Welcome, students! Here’s a quick primer on participating in Twitter chats. This guide is anticipating synchronous participation, but most of the instructions apply to the asynchronous participation option as well.
OPTION 1: BROWSER.
- A few minutes before it’s time to chat, click on the link in the assignment or search your course’s hashtag (capitalization doesn’t matter with hashtags, but you must use spaces on either side and must not use spaces in the middle) on Twitter.
- Make sure that “Latest” is selected in the line that says “Top / Latest/ People / Photos / Videos / News / Broadcasts.” (It should by default if you click my link because it’s in the URL, but always check.)
Leaving the default “Top” selected privileges those who tweet more and who have been on Twitter longer, so you end up watching a partial and seemingly disjointed conversation. So click “Latest”!
- Use the little blue “Tweet” button in the top-right corner to participate in the conversation.
- Be sure to tag everything you post with your class’s hashtag (#lit302a or #lit379e or #wr222b for example) so that it will show up in the class’s twitter feed — our own little corner of Twitter — for everyone to see (otherwise it will show up only to those who are looking at your feed).
- When you’re replying to one person, rather than to the entire group, use the “reply” bubble to keep the conversation threaded and make sure the person you’re addressing doesn’t miss the tweet. That’s the first bubble in this line of symbols:
- You can “expand” a thread by clicking on the tweet. That will show you all full threaded conversation, which is more coherent.
- That’s it! We will take it slow and I’ll be available throughout for support. I know it’s a learning curve to try something new and I appreciate the bravery and energy that it takes, so THANK YOU. On the other side of that learning curve, I believe you will find it to be worth the effort.
OPTION 2: ADVANCED/MOBILE.
- Use TweetDeck or Hootsuite, which give you the ability to do more and fancier things, like scheduling your own tweets. I’m a TweetDeck fan (on my MacBook), but these tools are completely optional
- Feel free to play with the options by setting up curated columns and scheduling tweets. However, you will at minimum need to have a column for our class hashtag.
- It will feel a bit chaotic if you’re not used to Twitter, but sometime during the hour things should click and you should start feeling more comfortable after that. By weeks 2-3 you’ll be an old pro.
- DO lean on the students in the class who are more experienced with Twitter chats for questions and reassurance. They were in your shoes once and they understand! They might also be willing to offer reassurance that this is a worthwhile endeavor.
- Make yourself comfortable! You’ll never find me on a Twitter chat without a cup of tea in hand. Usually some dark chocolate too. 😉
- If you have trouble, let me know. The first week is the hardest. I’ll always be available by text during each of our chats (see the assignment in our Canvas shell for my number.)
- Special option: If several of you would like to do the first chat with support on-campus (either because you’re unfamiliar with Twitter or because it sounds fun), just say the word and and I’ll reserve us a classroom and bring tea.
Remember, you can always participate asynchronously instead. In your end-of-term self-evaluation, I will be looking for substantive, engaged participations.
I’m here to make this work for you — please reach out for any support you need!