The Web 2.0 world has been expanding rapidly over the past year or so, and if you haven’t jumped on board already, now is the time! In addition to the newly-launched MusicPLN, a fast and easy way to get involved in a Professional Learning Network that will get you immediate results is to participate in a #MusEdChat – a weekly twitter chat for, by, and about music educators!
One of the biggest obstacles I have heard for people interested in participating in #MusEdChat that participating requires a basic knowledge of Twitter. In order to combat that issue, I’m going to use this post to walk you through how to get set up to participate in #MusEdChat quickly and easily. Enjoy!
Step 1: Get on Twitter
MYTH: Twitter is NOT a service to let you tell your friends what you’re eating for breakfast!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… here are the easy steps to setting up a Twitter account so you can participate in #MusEdChat:
- Go to the Twitter Homepage (http://twitter.com)
- Click “Sign Up”
- Enter the requested information-see below for tips on filling this out!
- Click “Create My Account.” You may be requested to enter some “Captcha” information for anti-SPAM purposes
- Check your email for the address you entered, and click the confirmation link in the email you receive
- You’re all set up! Once you’re logged in, go to Settings -> Profile and upload an avatar. While you’re here, you should also fill out your bio.
Tips for your profile information:
- Username: This should be something that can be tied to you (consider including part of your name), and professional in nature. Also, try to keep it short in length – remember, you only get 140 Characters in Twitter, and people talking to or about you will need to include your username as part of their 140 characters!
- Password: Make it safe!
- Email: Use a professional address, similar to one you would use on college applications and resumes.
- Avatar: Your avatar should reflect who you are! It should actually be YOU (your face, that is) and should reflect your personality
- Bio: This is your 160-character “elevator pitch” to potential followers. Tell people who you are, what you talk about, and what you’re interested in.
- Location/Web: Fill them out if you can/want. If you have a website, use it! If not, you can always point to your LinkedIn profile. I would advise against linking to your Facebook profile, unless you don’t mind potential employers seeing your Facebook!
Great. You’re on Twitter! Now what?
Step 2: Learn the Important Concepts
Some important concepts/terms to know about Twitter that will help you navigate the site:
- Tweet: This is a Twitter update. You can send a Tweet by posting in the “What’s Happening?” box on your Twitter homepage, by text message (if you set up Mobile in your settings), or from an external application.
- Follow: Unlike Facebook, following on Twitter does not have to be confirmed by the person being followed. You can follow anyone with a Twitter account, without needing their approval. Tweets from anyone you follow will be displayed in chronological order on your homepage, with the most recent tweets appearing at the top.
- Mention: When you want to refer specifically to or about a Twitter user, you can include a mention in your tweet. To do this, simply put the @ sign before their username. For example:
Happy Birthday to @pisanojm!
You can view all mentions about you by clicking the “@ Username” link in the sidebar of your homepage.
- Reply: This is a specific type of mention in which you are replying to an individual tweet by someone else. You can do this by hovering over the tweet you want to reply to, and clicking the “Reply” link. This will automatically put a Mention of the user into your tweet box, and allow you to type your response. Replies are different from Mentions because when you view a Reply, you have the option to see what tweet it was in response to.
- Retweet: If someone posts a tweet you feel is worth sharing with your followers, you can Retweet it! To do this, hover over the tweet, and click the “Retweet” button. This will display that tweet in the timeline of all your followers, even if they don’t follow the original author of the tweet. You may also see tweets containing “RT @Zweibz7: ” – this is a way that users Retweet a comment while retaining the ability to add their own commentary (usually before the RT label, or after the entire RT’ed text).
- Profile: Your profile is located at http://twitter.com/yourusername. Your profile will only show tweets by you, and RT’s that you have published (through the RT link, with no commentary).
- Direct Messages: These are private one-way messages from one user to another. Nobody else can see these messages. In order to DM someone, they must be following you, although you don’t necessarily have to be following them. You can see your DM’s by clicking the “Direct Messages” link.
- Favorite: If you mark a tweet as a Favorite (hover over the Tweet and click on the star), it will be stored under the “Favorites” tab on the Twitter link. This can be great for Tweets containing links to articles you want to read eventually, or particularly inspiring tweets you want fast access to.
- Hashtag: A hashtag begins with a # sign, and helps categorize a Tweet for searching purposes. For example, many people post content on the #MusEdChat hashtag over the course of the week (including me posting topic poll information, recap links, etc.) – this allows all the users to search for one common phrase (“#MusEdChat”) and gather the information. To include a hashtag in your tweet, simply place the # sign before the tag.
Step 3: Start Following!
The next step to being ready for #MusEdChat is to follow some Music Educators! Dr. Joseph Pisano (@pisanojm on Twitter) has made this process extremely easy by creating a list of Recommended Music Educators to Follow on Twitter. You can automatically view and follow all the great members on this list (76 of them!) by checking out the list’s page on TweepML, or viewing and following the Official List on Twitter.
That was easy, wasn’t it?!
Step 4: Get Ready to Chat
Once you’re set up with an account, understand the lingo, and have begun to build your Twitter network, it’s time to get ready for the chat. The first thing to do is to start searching for the #MusEdChat hashtag ALL the time (not just at 8pm on Mondays!). Enter #MusEdChat in the search bar on the right of your Twitter page, and click the “Save this Search” link to keep a quick link in your sidebar. As you browse, be sure to check the #MusEdChat feed for great links/discussion, and for important updates on the chat!
Each week, I post a poll using TwtPoll where anyone can vote on what topic they would like to discuss in this week’s chat. You can always find the most updated poll by visiting http://musicedmajor.net/musedchat/poll (bookmark this!). Be sure to vote each week for what YOU want to discuss.
So, you’ve got your account and network set up, you’re following #MusEdChat and voting in polls… it’s 7pm on a Monday night, and it’s time to get ready for the chat in one hour! How in the world will you keep track of all this information? There are a few services you can use to keep track of the flow of information during the chat, but I will recommend TweetGrid. @pisanojm has also made this process extremely user friendly by creating a TweetGrid template for #MusEdChat. When you open this template, all you need to do is enter your username and password for Twitter underneath the “Tweet” area and enter your username in the rightmost column, and you’re set! The following columns have already been set up for you (you can always modify them to suit your own needs):
- pisanojm – one of our moderators, this column allows you to see what Dr. Pisano is posting
- Zweibz7 (that’s me!) – I’m a moderator for the chat, see what I’m saying in this column
- #MusEdChat – follow this one during the chat to see what everyone is saying!
- yourname – replace this with your username to keep track of your mentions during the chat
Step 5: Chat Time!
You’re all set, it’s 8pm, and it’s time to chat! Here’s what you can/should do:
- Follow the moderator columns to see what the topic is, and some specific questions for discussion. Post your answers in the “Tweet” area at the top and click “Tweet!” to share your thoughts
- Follow the tweets streaming into the #MusEdChat column, and if you see something you have an opinion on, hover over the tweet and click the “Reply” arrow to respond to that user’s comment
- Follow your mentions column to see who is responding to you
- If you see something worth sharing with everyone else, retweet it!
It’s that simple!
Step 6: After the Chat
After the chat is over (or if you missed the chat), I post a transcript of the chat on the #Chat Transcripts page. Stay tuned in to the #MusEdChat search on Twitter for the link. Also, the wonderful Andrew Ritenour (@andrewritenour) posts prose-based recaps of the chats here at MusicEdMajor.net. If you want to stay updated on these posts and more, consider subscribing to our feed!
I hope this tutorial was helpful in getting you set up on #MusEdChat! If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in comments to this post, and I’ll be sure to address them. Happy chatting!
- Inaugural #MusEdChat
- #MusEdChat Update
- Announcing #MusEdChat!
- Join the Web 2.0 Music Classroom!
- #MusEdChat Transcript-Making Music Relevant (3/29/10)