To the Students: An Invitation to Twitter

Dear Writer,

Twitter can be used for much more than publishing to the world what you are having for dinner. There’s a metaphor gifted to me from a former professor that goes like this: writing floats on a sea of conversation. Twitter is often about conversation. It’s great for making professional connections, accessing information published by people from all over the world, and participating in discussions including the last presidential election, a major sporting or entertainment event, or finding those who care about what you care about. Just last semester, students used Twitter to find gas for their cars after hurricane Sandy, located potential internships, and exchanged tweets from professionals in their area of major from all over the world. Like Facebook and other forms of social media, Twitter can give you a voice heard by businesses and government organizations.

We’ll begin using Twitter as a way to establish community in our course, access information beyond our classroom community, and perhaps build connections with people who care about the same issues we do.  Follow the directions below to set up your account.

Best,

Bill

Twitter, college, English, writing, language arts, multiple literacies

 

  1. Consider if you’d like for people to know who you are on Twitter.  I’m “BillTorg” and that’s pretty obviously me.  If I’m “EightiesDude,” then maybe it’s harder to figure out who I am.
  2. If you already have a Twitter account, you are welcome to use it. The personality and content of your Tweets will depend on the public identity you wish to create. This might be the time to use your St. John’s University email account to start a new approach.
  3. Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters.  The longer your Twitter name, the less room you and others have to exchange messages.  So “BillTorg” works better for me than “WilliamJosephTorgerson.”
  4. You will be asked to write a short bio for yourself.  Think about what it will say.  Some people write a silly one.  My sister’s is, “What’s on the what what?” Mine explains my job and what I do. I often find myself revising mine.
  5. You can link to your Twitter account to another site. Perhaps your blog?
  6. Go to Twitter.com
  7. Fill out the “New to Twitter” box.  Complete the steps. Let me know if there’s additional directions I should have listed here. Help me to revise this document so it can better serve the needs of those new to Twitter.
  8. When you finish setting up your account, you are going to tweet to me. You should see a white box that has this inside:  Compose new Tweet…
  9. Click inside the box.  First write this: @BillTorg
  10. The “@billtorg” is my Twitter name. Put whatever you want after that, something like, “I set up my Twitter account!”  If you want to write something more creative than that, go ahead!
  11. When you tweet to me, I’ll write you back. Do you see that “@ Connect” button at the top of the screen? If you click on that, you’ll see everyone who has tweeted directly to you. That will be how you know I received your tweet. I don’t usually follow students and you shouldn’t feel obligated to follow me. We’ll set up a system to see each other’s tweets related to class.
  12. There’s a lot more you can do with finding tweets and customizing your background.  Experiment by reading and clicking around on the Twitter pages. Two great places to start are the “view my profile page” and “#discover.”  On the profile page, click on the large “edit” tab in the upper right hand corner.  On the “#discover” tab, look all over the page and click around. Be sure to click on the following words and phrases:  activity, who to follow, find friends, and browse categories.
  13. More instructions, guidelines, and assignments will follow.


Write to me with questions:  torgersw@stjohns.edu

If you know about hash tags (more on that later) we will use this one:  #torgchat

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