Blog Post

Revisiting the Twitter Tutorial with @dmlcomp Tweeps

It was nice to chat/listen with all the @dmlcomp tweeps during yesterday's tutorial, and thanks to Ruby for leading us through Twitter and DimDim. For those of you who missed the webinar, we had some excitement: David Dino was visited by the fire marshall during the webinar (which he was encouraged to tweet about). There was also one reference to Justin Bieber, and an LOLcat approach to grading: you can haz F. Most importantly, we packed in some excellent information, which I have curated and turned into a value-added, beefed-up section of  questions and answers that you can find pasted below.

Our Twitter Tutorial with Ruby Sinreich took place Wednesday, August 25, from 12-1:30pm EST using For those of you who want to view the archived webinar, the full chat log is here, and Ruby's presentation and audio is here.

What We Wanted to Know About Twitter: Some Qs and As

Q: Within our organization we have maybe a few different streams of info - should we have multiple accts and if so - how do you do that?
A: On one hand you don't want to "dilute" your feed by spreading your info across multiple accounts, but on the other you don't want to alienate your followers by posting information that only a small segment would be interested in. See next Q.

Q: So which program allows for single access to multiple accounts?
A: Hootsuite is the one @hastac uses to access multiple accounts. Mashable wrote 25 Twitter Apps to Manage Multiple Accounts, an article from a year ago that breaks down some of the more popular multiple account apps by categories for desktop, browser add-on, mobile, and semi-professional. 8 Useful Tools to Manage Multiple Twitter Accounts Simultaneously is also helpful.

Q: How do lists work?
A: Mashable has an excellent description about creating and using lists (with screen shots). Important to know: if you find a list you want to follow, clicking the "Follow this list" does not add each user from that list into your regular stream of tweets. For example, if you clicked "Follow this list" for @dmlcomp, you will not see individual tweets from, say, @hastac, in your main Twitter feed unless you go through steps to follow @hastac. What you would have added is the entire list, which you would then need to click in order to see the tweets of anyone on that list.

Digital Media and Learning Competition tweeps are on a list. Click here to follow the list.
If you want individual Digital Media and Learning Competition tweeps, they are:

Learning Lab tweeps

Fab@School: @fablevision and @fablelearn and @peterhreynolds
Mobile Action Lab: (Lissa Soep) @lissasoep @youthradio
Scratch & Share: @scratchteam
Click!Online: (Heather Mallak) @braincake
Conservation Connections: @labroides and @fijireef
Out the Window:
Hole-in-the-Wall: @neeraj2410
NoxNoMore: @screwtopprof
YouthAppLab: @reachhigher
EcoBugs: @suecranmer

Game Changers tweeps
Discovery Pier: @zookeyTK
LittleBigChemistryLab: (Mark Matthews) @rmarkmatthews
Day in the Life of a Computer: (Gemma McLean) @gemixin
Stem Cell Sackboy: (David Dino) @gevurah22Sackboys and the Mysterious Proof: (Kan Yang Li) @ghettokon

Q: What's a tweep?
A: Your peeps on Twitter.

Q: With a hash tag, do you just pick something and let people know?
A: This article has a good introduction explaining what hash tags are (the # sign prefixed to a term), which can be created by anyone for anything. Wild Apricot's nonprofit technology blog has the best explanation about how to claim a hash tag (first, search Twitter or the directory at to see if it already exists, add it to a hash tag directory, tell your tweeps what it is, and then use it so you don't lose it.

Q: How do you archive tweets? I wanted to save tweets from a conference so I could check them out when I had looked like someone had already made an archive based on the hash tag. How does all this archiving work?
A: We have used Twapper Keeper to archive tweets based on hash tags. As an example, take a look at this archive for the Digital Media and Learning Conference tweets from 2010: #dml2010. This is a good method if you want to share a tweet archive so that others can view it.

Another way to archive tweets for your own use is to create an RSS feed. You can do this for Twitter hash tags, or for any Twitter stream. For example, to archive the hash tag #edchat, enter it into Twitter's search field. Once you see the results, click the RSS subscription icon in the URL address bar. If you use Google Reader, you can even search the archive by keyword and organize it chronologically. ReadWriteWeb has a good article about archiving tweets using different methods (including TwapperKeeper and RSS feeds). Since tweets will disappear from after 1.5 to 2 weeks, you may want to set up an archival process so you don't have to ask the Library of Congress for your tweets!

Q: I want to learn more about how to build networks.
A: One of the best resources to answer questions about building networks, especially when you have limited funds and resources, is Beth Kanter. Can't recommend her enough. This article: Twitter Tip for Networked Nonprofits: Follow the Few to Get to the Many is particularly good. Beth also recommends Mr. Tweet , which helps you identify networks to follow by comparing social graphs and gauging reputation based on recommendations by other users (the site is slated to relaunch mid-September).

Q: Should we try to move people from Facebook to Twitter?
A: This question could has many answers, but Jeff Glasson sums it up nicely on Social Media Today: Twitter vs. Facebook: Tools of Choice As always, it depends on what your purposes are, how you want to build your network, where your followers or fans hang out. I really like this re-blogged Twitter interview with Beth Kanter about nonprofit strategies for social media.

Q: How much time a day do you spend on Twitter/Twitter apps?
A: A few people mentioned that they set aside a small block of time and schedule tweets to go out periodically throughout the day (using Hootsuite or another Twitter app with that feature). Going back to Beth Kanter, I think her post How Much Time Does it Take to do Social Media is an excellent response to this question.

Q: Are teens using Twitter?
A: One of the best posts I saw on this topic came from Fred Stutzman, who did a super-nerd analysis about the way the Twitter/teen research was done, helping to explain what was behind the 2009 media reports. danah boyd (@zephoria) also took a thoughtful look in her post Teens don't tweet....or do they?. (danah is a must-follow person if you are interested in youth and social media.) Pew Internet did a more recent survey about teens and Twitter, included in their report Social Media and Young Adults.

Additional Resources:
Twitter 101 with Twittercism offers a nice guide for newcomers (and Twitter resisters).
Click here for a list of helpful Twitter resources from
Michael Hyatt's Beginner's Guide to Twitter is excellent, too.


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