Twitter tips from the #1 Tweeterboarder (Uh, that’s me)

I was just twittered that I'm #1 on Tweeterboard! What? Initially, I kind of feel like Napolean Dynamite,

“I don't even know what that means.”

However, although Robert Scoble has too many friends and cannot add me on Facebook (he was cool enough to comment on my blog, though [Happy Birthday Robert if you read this]), I guess I beat him in one thing. (Uh, the only thing, like, ever.)

The Twitterpoll Did it!
I have a feeling that my recent twitter poll did something to the stats. This twitterpoll started because I wished I could “meet” all of my friends on twitter.

Vicki Davis coolcatteacher Twitterpoll: Where are you from and what do you do? For a blog post I'm working on. Respond @coolcatteacher in your response. 06:35 PM January 17, 2008 from web Icon_star_empty Icon_trash

I've been working on a blog post about the usefulness of twitter and have been helping and editor who covers education, ellenu, get connected to the most amazing educators in the world, and have been on twitter more than usual. (Like 15-20 minutes a day instead of the usual 5.)

Vicki Davis coolcatteacher OK, everyone, I'm trying to get my editor friend @ellenu 100 friends — we have 10 more to go. She's doing an article on building community 06:09 PM January 17, 2008 from web Icon_star_empty Icon_trash

Really, twitter doesn't rule my life, I have some tricks that help me use twitter effectively.

How I use twitter

I use twitter most

  • I check it to see “breaking news” — Believe it or not I found out about the Virginia Tech Shootings There from @andycarvin
  • To find people to help me test new Web 2.0 tools for the classroom – There is a alot of vaporware out there… I'm not going to use anything in my classroom unless it is safe, it works, and meets an objective of mine. (I like it when its fun too.)
  • To Uncover Great Stories – Sometimes I do freelance work and I use it to find the “stories” of teachers and educators who deserve to be heard but might not have been in the news yet.
  • To Tap in the Power of the “Network” – If I have a big problem and need a solution, if I twitter it, I'll have an answer in seconds.
  • To demonstrate the Power of the Network – I use this to demonstrate by asking the people in my network to shout out where they are from.
  • To let people know what I'm doing. I use twitterfeed to stick in blog posts (and I send my twitter updates to my facebook account to update my status there as well using a facebook app for twitter since facebook is blocked at school.)
  • To help others do these same things and share.
  • To get a good laugh (like the joke from Riptide_Furse last night about TechCrunch's top 10 telephone tricks.)

    7 Tips for Using Twitter Wisely

  1. Get Snitter
    When you do, click options and set as I've done on the right (except for the pink!!)
  2. I am a big believer in the Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity Model — I usually check twitter in the morning and at night when I'm blogging.
  3. I set direct message to text me on my cell phone. This gives my network a fast way to encourage me and reach me if I can help. In fact, this past summer when my grandmother died, my friends direct messaged me and I received texts on my cell phone at the funeral. It really meant a lot!
  4. Understand that Twitter is a lot like going to a conference. Twitter is full of “happy accidents” and chance meetings. Most of us don't read every general twitter.
  5. I read all of my @coolcatteacher replies
    If someone takes the time to reply to me, I will read it and usually respond. It is faster than e-mail and shorter too because I'm limited to 140 characters. There is a trick to this.

    To do this, go to your twitter home page, click Replies and settings and make it look like this below. (That way if someone is not your friend you can still see their reply.)

  6. I respect the direct messages and keep them private.
    Several people responded over direct message for the twitter poll, however, that is private to me so I only included the public messages below. It is how I send my e-mail or other private info to others. (Doggone it twitter, alphabetize that thing.)
  7. Focus on the people. It is not about the technology but the people that technology allows me to connect with. It is about network and PEOPLE. Twitter is efficient, easy, light, and useful. Although MacWorld took the service completely offline a few times this week, its still a great service. I believe in teaching and learning effective technopersonal skills and twitter is one thing I do every day.

So, who are all these “twitter” friends — I've been asking them for the last 24 hours and here are the answers. It is a long list with people from Abu Dabi to Korea to England and all over the place.

Now, let me make a point. I am a teacher first… I have an incredible network of educators right here to help me be better. I believe in global collaboration and in the importance of teaching digital citizenship in order to advance the US as a nation and for any nation who wants their citizenry to be successful.

And within 24 hours, these people answered a question for me.

I think this whole thing should serve as a wake up call to those watching education everywhere that there is a growing grassroots efforts of educators around the world that are bypassing bureaucracy, textbook companies, and governments and connecting their classrooms and learning spaces.

To me, this is not a testimony to me “coolcatteacher” but to the power and muscle of the edublogosphere and how we are finally beginning to gain momentum.

Note: There were so many responses, that they “knocked” my RSS feed down. I have moved these responses to a Google page that you will find here –

If I missed you, I'm sorry. I'm completely choking blogger with this list!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Andy Carvin January 19, 2008 - 12:46 am

Actually, you found out about VT from @acarvin, not @andycarvin, but who’s counting? :-)

Tweeterboard is fascinating, but it sure is fickle. One day I’m in the top 10, the next day I’m not in the top 100, then I’m back in the top 20, then gone again. It seems totally based on the burst of replies you can get within a 24 hour period, but doesn’t retain that information after that. Weird.

helenotway January 19, 2008 - 12:53 am

What a great response. I enjoyed reading this post and the tips you have given. I’ve only been on Twitter now for 18 days and already I have noticed a difference to how I learn, what I learn, and ways I can share what I am learning and doing. My network is growing by the day which I love.
Thanks for the post.
Helen Otway
Melbourne, Aust

Jo McLeay January 19, 2008 - 12:54 am

Wow Vicki, the best thing about this post is that you have shown us to ourselves and collected evidence through your twitterpoll about a number of things. The variety of people and where they come from, the times we are on twitter (saw some late night times there) the variety of work we do and just how central twitter has become, to form community and to communicate. Even though as you say we don’t need to be on it all day to get the benefit. Love it.

Elizabeth B. Davis January 19, 2008 - 1:13 am

Wow Vicki, What an incredible list. It was nice to see that I am already following most of these people, but also great to see that there are more out there to find and follow.

It already amazes me that I follow 300 people who do what I do and “get” what I’m talking about, especially after having been the only Instructional Technology Specialist in my building. I feel so much less isolated since I’ve found Twitter.

You’ve summarized an explained it all so well and provided an amazing resource for new Twitter educators.

Ms. Tina January 19, 2008 - 2:48 pm

Vicki – WOW, where was I on this twitterpoll? I must have been consumed that day, because I twitter all the time. I loved how you outlined how you manage twitter. The best part of this post is how twitter connects us all! That is why I love twitter! Thank you Vicki for being so Cool! :)

Vicki A. Davis January 19, 2008 - 1:35 pm

Andy – Yes – I’m sorry. I should have looked it up. I found myself wishing that there was a way to search past “tweets” so I could have linked to it.

Thanks for telling me about tweeterboard, I had NEVER heard of it! It was a little bit shocking when someone let me know that though!

So, it is just some sort of mass aggregation of a certain number of people that they’ve added to their friends list. I know nothing about it and don’t know that I need another stat to follow anyway.

It is really about making a difference and reaching the people who need the information anyway. I find the numbers to usually be a distraction and get me off task when all I really want to do is be a Mama, teacher, and blog about it!

Thank you for your ongoing observations.

Twitter is fascinating, amazing, and overwhelming. I should have also said, “Don’t take it too seriously.” As long as we’re not blogging intimate details, I say add someone if they want to add you!

Looking at the list, it is very useful. I think I’m going to do this again on other topics. It is really great. (Kudos for happy accidents.)

Elizabeth – We are no longer islands. I feel this way also. I have NOONE at my school who truly understands what I do and what I teach (except my students). We’re making progress and the teachers are great, but it helps to have some pros in my network to push me past what I can be. I found that I wasn’t as cutting edge as I thought before I got into the network and that I needed pushing. Iron sharpening iron.

kanter January 19, 2008 - 3:08 pm

Vicky, wow that must have taken you a long time to hand code the tweets.

Very valuable article! Thanks.

Dale Basler January 20, 2008 - 5:23 pm

Here’s a way I used Twitter with my students during our field trip. They journaled from the trip back to the classroom.

Lee February 16, 2008 - 2:32 pm

I love your blog, CCT! For this post, I even cross-referenced you on mine! I talk about your blog not only on my blog, but even in my presentations across my district as well! Here’s the direct link to one of my references to your posting.

Thanks for all your great conversations!

Vicki A. Davis February 16, 2008 - 2:41 pm

Ms Tina – We’re all adding so many peeps that we cannot seem to keep up with it. It is kind of an experiment in randomness.

Kanter –
I just copied the tweets and pasted onto my blog — actually it knocked my feed down because it was so much code, so I now post the results of my twitterpolls in googlepages.

Dale — That is very cool.

Lee- Thank you for including me in your listing of educators who are working to make a difference — we are all making a difference as we work together! Thanks!

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere