We're going to guide you through setting up a twitter account, help you decide your twiitter ID and talk you through privacy settings, and then help you find the right people to follow.
Don't fret, it's a cinch! It will probably take you no more than 10 minutes! And that's if you're slow at typing.
If you are a true newbie, and don't even know what twitter is or how it works, watch this short video on the right. It's corny.
Before starting, one thing: we were all skeptical at first about twitter. It felt weird to think that we would communicate with strangers in 140 characters and become better teachers. But, who knew?!, it was awesome.
If you feel you know a bunch and just want a few to-the-point videos, here are eight videos for you, made by a teacher for teachers dipping their feet in!
first, sign up for twitter and get a username
To sign, up:
A. Go to http://twitter.com and find the sign up box
B. Enter your name, email address, and a password
C. Click Sign up for Twitter
D. On the next page, select a username.
This is a unique identifier for you on twitter. The one you want may not be available, so you might have to think of a few possibilities.
E. Double check your name, email address, password, and username.
F. Click create my account. And you're done! See, simple!
Some username advice:
Many people when starting twitter choose a cutesie name like @unicornbunny or @gilmoregirlsaddict. and then when they started finding they were using twitter more and more, and for teaching related things, they wished they had just used their own names. So consider using your own name, or if you want to remain anonymous, pick a username that you would want to share with colleagues. Also, try to keep it short. When typing tweets, usernames count in the 140 character limit. So something like @mmmbopdoowapdoowap means that someone only has 120 characters to spend on you. And heavens to betsy, that's no good!
second, say who you are
You will get to upload a picture that will represent you on twitter. (You can always change this picture later!). You should definitely upload some image. The picture that you use gives everyone reading their tweets a super quick way to recognize you. You'll have to make the decision whether to use a picture of yourself, or of something else. It doesn't really matter.
Random fun fact! On Halloween each year, people randomly decided to go in costume even on twitter. In fact, the picture on the bottom right is one person "dressing up" as the person on the bottom left. Check out more!
You will also have to write a short description of yourself. Do this. Seriously, let me say that again, do this.
What is common to all of these is that they all talk about teaching math. That is super important... trust me. When deciding whether to follow someone on twitter or not, most of us use this description to decide whether you're a math teacher and thus worth following, or a spambot twitter account.
Sample Twitter Pictures
What not to write:
I like cooking, feet, and teaching.
Math is awesome and so are showtunes.
I teach ELA and AVID in LAUSD, with a BA and MA in EAPS.
I hate kids and math, so I don't teach kids math.
third, decide your privacy settings
Here's where you need to think about how public you want to be.
My recommendation is that you initially twitter with public settings, so that whatever you tweet can be seen by anyone who goes to your twitter page. That's probably not quite the advice you expected. But when you start tweeting, you're going to be finding people to follow, and people are going to be deciding whether to follow you. And when someone is making the decision whether to follow you or not, they will often go to your page to see who you're talking to and what you're saying. If you're not public, they can't see anything. So my advice is to start out public and just remember to keep it professional.
However, after a while once you've gotten a core group, if you feel like you want to go private and let your hair down a little, it's really simple. You go to settings and click the checkbox...
Then anything you say after you go private is protected. That means only people that you approve to follow you can see your tweets. Of course, regardless of whether you are protected or not, you want to make sure that you're being professional... but that's a "well, duh" type piece of advice.
You may want to check with you school if they have any policies about twitter. More advice is on the privacy concerns page.