Day 2 of #LD10DoT: What to tweet

Twitter only allows you to send 140 characters, which doesn’t seem much. In academia, we almost always write at length about complex ideas, so it’s difficult to say something meaningful in such a short amount of text. But that doesn’t mean that Twitter is superficial or only used to tweet about frivolous things. Many people, especially in an HE context, who are new to Twitter aren’t sure what to say, or why updates about whatever they’re doing would be interesting to others. But there are actually many aspects of your day-to-day work that would be of very practical use to others. Have a look at some Twitter feeds from learning development tweeters and see what kinds of information they share, to get an idea of how you really can say something useful and engaging in 140 characters.

The appropriate tone for a professional twitter account needn’t be overly formal – you can be chatty and conversational, and allow your personality to come through. Even if tweeting on behalf of a service, you need to be engaging rather than formal, ‘passing on information’ rather than ‘making announcements’. Do remember though, if you’re tweeting in any professional capacity, that Twitter is a very public medium, and that tweets can be kept, even if you delete them (more on this on Day 10). Don’t say anything you wouldn’t normally say openly in a work context.

Some examples of what you might tweet about:

  • an article you’re reading that’s interesting or a book you recommend
  • an online resource you’ve stumbled across
  • a workshop or conference you’re going to – others may not have known about it, may want to meet you if they’re also going to be there, or may want to ask you about it if they can’t make it
  • a new person you met today who might be a good contact in future
  • some insight on learning development work from an incident that happened today
  • study advice or insights into how you teach topics like academic writing
  • a question asked by a student or colleague that made you think
  • slides from a talk which you’ve just uploaded online
  • your thoughts on an education news story
  • a funding, project or job opportunity you’ve just seen
  • a digital tool or software you’re using or problem you’ve solved with it
  • a typical day – an insight into a learning developer’s life or moral support
  • your new publication or report which has just come out (there are ways of mentioning this gracefully!)

This bit is important – For this second Day of Twitter, as your first message, please send  the following tweet- we’ll explain why later!

Joining in with #LD10DoT with @LD5Digital and @scholastic_rat!

Over the next week, we’ll be sending the following ten types of tweets. For today, though, send a few of the first type of tweet over the course of the day, using the examples above. You could include the hashtag #LD10Dot in your tweets – again, we’ll explain why later!

  1. A simple message – what are you up to? What kind of event or activity might your intended following find interesting, personable or quirky? You could let them know about an upcoming event they were unaware of or might also be present at, a thought about your research or work that’s just occurred to you, or just show that you’re approachable and share common experiences. Don’t agonise over it though – Twitter is ephemeral in many ways!
  2. An @ message directed to someone. Ask someone a question, comment or reply to one of their tweets, thank them for a RT or welcome a new follower. NB – don’t start your tweet with the @ sign, as then only the people that follow both of you will see it! either include their @name later in the message or add a full stop .@ before the @ if it’s at the start.
  3. Send a direct message (DM) to someone. What kind of message would need to be private in this way?
  4. A link to something interesting and relevant you’ve read online, or link to a journal or book. Shorten it using Twitter’s automatic tool or a separate one such as tinyURLbitly or Ow.ly  Add a bit of context or comment on it!
  5. Ask a question of your followers – crowdsource their views, ask for tips or advice or recommendations on a topic of mutual interest! Perhaps ask them to retweet (pls RT)
  6. Tweet a link to something you’ve shared online recently- a profile update, slides from a conference presentation, handouts from a workshop. Many platforms can be set up to do this automatically when you update, such as a blog, Slideshare, Storify, LinkedIn, etc. Add an engaging and contextualising comment!
  7. A retweeted, quoted tweet from someone else. Don’t just use Twitter’s retweet button – start with your own comment, then add RT and the @name of the originator or retweeter.
  8. A tweet incorporating a hashtag which links to a wider discussion. Search for your chosen hashtag first, to get a sense of what others use it for and what the discussion has been, and what you can add. Look at tweets from followers for hashtag discussions to join, make one up and see if it’s been used, or try  adding something to the ALDinHE hashtag #LoveLD
  9. Livetweet an event of some kind, even if only for 10 minutes. You might try a research seminar, conference presentation or lecture. It’s polite to ask permission from the speaker. See if there is a hashtag for the event and if so, use it. Practice summarising the event and distinguishing your comments from the speaker’s.
  10. Take part in a livechat on twitter. #ECRchat and #PhDchat are popular ones, and we’re aiming to develop #studychat for learning developers and students!

If you can think of any more professional uses for Twitter, then do add them in the comments!

If you’re thinking of tweeting in an official capacity for your service, , then think about the balance of your own announcements to other information (Twitter is still a conversation, not an announcement service, and too much one-way, impersonal promotion will turn off your following!). This presentation from Library Marketing Toolkit has some good tips:

Ultimately, your tweets will look a bit like this, but we’ll work up to that!
anatomy of tweet
From edtechsandyk‘s blog
So – send a few tweets, now and perhaps throughout the day, following the suggestion no 1 from the list above! Make sure that when people check out your profile from yesterday, there’s some interesting and engaging content there! And remember to tweet Joining in with #LD10DoT with @LD5Digital and @scholastic_rat!
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Head of Writing Development Service and Learning Developer at Newcastle University.

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Posted in Ten Days of Twitter
10 comments on “Day 2 of #LD10DoT: What to tweet
  1. Sandra says:

    Achieved today’s task – but next time I would make it shorter so I could add #loveld.
    Here’s my reflective tweet: Sandra Sinfield ‏@Danceswithcloud: Saw stressed diss student – not answers, but asked her Qs. She calmed down & reconnected with her passion. Is freewriting Lit Review. 🙂

    • Love this – reassures me that my practice is pretty much in line with others, and insights into how someone else handles it.

      • Sandra says:

        Thank you for this activity – and feedback. I wouldn’t normally have tweeted about that exchange – so it is good to know that that is a good idea. Looking forward to the rest of your challenges, Helen!

  2. Tried my first post! Challenged by finding a hashtag. Used #employability in the end (as that’s what it was about) but obviously need to be careful with generic terms as it’s probably too widely used a term.
    Alistair

    • Don’t worry too much about hashtags yet – we’ll be covering those in more depth in later days, but yes, it is tricky to find one that hasn’t been confused by too many people using it for too many things!

  3. […] There is a useful presentation on How not to Tweet for Library and information services from the Library Marketing Toolkit on the Day 2 blog post. […]

  4. Sandra says:

    Phew – also braved the ‘setting up a profile’ challenge from yesterday – and put some text to our student-facing Twitter account – it already said:
    London Met StudyHub
    @CELTStudy

    I added:
    Tips, tricks, guidelines and study advice. Follow @CELTStudy
    Connect with #studychat
    London · londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub

  5. Vicky Brown says:

    First tweets are up…and Wimbledon related!

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Ten Days of Twitter for Learning Developers by Helen Webster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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