About the Assignment
There are several goals for this portion of the Digital Writing and Literacy project, including:
- becoming a literate user of the micro-blogging space, Twitter
- engaging our readings outside of class
- collaborating with classmates
- sharing information about your semester-long project topic
- connecting with people who are in fields or have a general interest in areas relating to your research project
To achieve these goals, there are four parts to the Twitter project:
- Getting started
- Live-tweeting and collaborating
- Sharing to Twitter from other spaces
- Engaging the project-area community
- to reflect on the work you are doing
- to reflect on your process of doing work
Please see the Twitter workshop page for information on replies and retweets.
Getting Set Up
- create a Twitter account that is not anonymous and has as short a username as possible (short usernames save precious characters; just as with Facebook, Twitter values authenticity; you will not gain followers and people will not let you follow them without authenticity; if you already have a Twitter account with an pseudonym for your username be sure your real name is associated with the account)
- create a professional bio that locates you as a student at Saint Joseph’s University, identifies your area(s) of study, and lists a few personal interests (Twitter is excellent for blending the personal and professional)
- make your account open for anyone to follow; having a locked account essentially tells your audience that you would rather not know who they are and results in them not requesting the your follow approval (if you are concerned about spam and/or who is following, in the Settings enable the option to get an email whenever you have a new follower; this will allow you to see when someone follows and to Block them if necessary)
- add a link to your web site
- if you have a smart phone, install the Twitter phone app or any 3rd party Twitter app you like (I use Tweetbot, but it is pricey)
- in the Settings
- under the Mobile tab, set your phone number and when you’d like text message alerts (I have it set for DMs because they are rare, and not after 11pm)
- under Security and Privacy, I recommend UNCHECKING Tweet location, Personalization, and Promoted Content
- add a photo of yourself or something that you feel represents you in some way
- follow @billwolff, @saintjosephs, @sjucomm, and if you would like, other Communications faculty (@aesthetically @rachaelsullivan @patchbaydoor @academicdave @jmikelyons) and everyone on both sections of COM 200:
- Section D02: @commkobi, @stevebsju, @emilybogansky, @amyybranagan, @commjake, @danigfree, @smnthhnry, @victoriaekane, @risskirwan, @rachklinesju, @justinleonCOM, @libbypmchugh, @pmocom, @nicole_nolting, @dlob9997, @kellieobriensju, @quirkrebecca, @rosmankatie1, @jennasiroky, @bella__tierce, @carter__todd, @tylarweber, @mattzebrowski2, @rosiemcnamara88
- Section D03: @ericalston13, @jbooth309, @coreycarter21, @carolandonovan3, @laurenafick, @willamjohnso, @bksju19, @lizkrotulis, @labarcatara, @samanthalapare, @johannaylenahan, @alliemanders, @dana_mangrelli, @hcmiller15, @carlymontecalvo, @cassmuratore, @milagrospagan12, @abbypanetta, @abbeypiro, @kelly_smith19, @annasmollen, @ciani_, @peterjcomm200, @sofia_pompeo
- Any tweet that is about class in any way should include the #ctpf15 hashtag.
- tweet an announcement of each of your blog posts including the title, the link to it, the #ctpf15 hashtag, and your blog’s hashtag
- I encourage you to experiment with one of the many Twitter desktop and mobile apps (such as Tweetdeck), which are overwhelmingly useful for organizing and posting Tweets (as with my mobile, I use Tweetbot).
Part 1: Live-Tweeting Class Discussion and the Readings
Starting the 2nd week of the class, each class period will have several students volunteer to live-tweet the class discussion. The goal here is to try to take what is said in class and bring it to the online space where others, including those in class, can engage that discussion. Often these discussions diverge from what is happening in class, and that is fine.
When live-tweeting, you can tweet:
- quotes that people (including @billwolff) said
- thoughts or comments about what has been said (funny snark is okay; mean snark isn’t)
- links to things associated with topics being discussed (such as videos, photos, articles, etc)
- @mention the authors who we are discussing to let them know we’re discussing them and what is being said
- other fun stuff
Be sure to use the #ctpf15 hashtag. Though others in the class should join in the conversation, but we want to be sure this discussion doesn’t take away from the FTF discussion.
I’d also like you to start live-tweeting as you are doing the work for the course. That is tweet about what you are reading about. These can be quotes that intrigue you or just thoughts about the texts. Be sure to use the #ctpf15 hashtag. Try to limit tweets like, “This article is boring. #yawn,” as such tweets will make to look foolish and show little thought about the text itself. You should @reply to other class members frequently so that we can begin discussions about the work outside of the classroom and then continue those discussions when we meet in the classroom.
There is no required number of tweets to tweet about your readings, work, or in-class discussions, but it is expected that each should garner many tweets per week (many = more than 5 per week). The more you tweet the more engaged the class can and will become in a dialogue outside the class. Do, however, be sure to make it clear what you’re reading, working on, or discussing. This can be done in the content of the tweet or by using a hashtag for an author’s name (such as #baym)—you can even search to find the author’s Twitter username and add it to your tweet (such as, @nancybaym, who often replies to students and tends to favorite a lot of tweets). This is important because we want to be sure we know which text you’re tweeting about.
Live-tweeting works most effectively when students begin discussing the texts online. And, as one student recently wrote in a reflection on their work:
From a student: “Live tweeting while reading … is helping me to read better. I think of the reading more as a conversation now.” Yay!
— Bill Wolff (@billwolff) February 27, 2014
Part 2: Leveraging Twitter for Readers and Followers
Now that we have our blogs up and running with lots of nice content, it’s time to start gaining readers. One way to start doing this is to increase our Twitter presence and interaction with others who are writing on the same subject as you. To do this, I’d like you to complete the following:
- Update your Twitter bio so it showcases you as a writer of your blog, as well as the blog topic. Also, be sure to include your blog URL. Do not describe the account as one for class.
- Begin following people who write on similar subjects and web sites that present similar kinds of content. You should follow 5 new accounts per week for the rest of the semester. Read “How I Got a Six-Figure Twitter Following (and Why It Doesn’t Matter)” by @janefriedman and read closely the parts where she connects blogging and tweeting. You can start finding people by conducting searches at Followerwonk and Twitter Search, Google, and by seeing who people follow.
- Begin engaging the people/sites you find in conversation. I will be asking you to create a few Storify stories that showcase your conversations. Reply to their tweets thoughtfully; complement them when you like what they have tweeted; ask them questions when you have questions. Making connections is hard work; do that work.
- Similarly, add comments directly to their blog posts and not just to them on Twitter. Adding comments to posts shows that you are very interested in what they have written. It will also count toward your 750 word weekly target.
- Tweet links to your blog posts by including the static blog post URL, not a link to your site. Readers expect to be brought directly to the post. Add topic-specific hashtags to your posts; don’t add #ctpf15 because your goal is not to show for class but to gain readers out there in the world.
Have fun with this part of the project. If you fully engage with those on Twitter and use Twitter to share information you will meet outstanding people who will enhance your research and your writing, overall.