Sunday, 1 November 2015

How to get the most out of Twitter

It's no secret that I love Twitter.  I've blogged about how to join and how it helps me in my work.  It's not just me either, in a recent list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning, taken from a survey of over 2,000 learning professionals, Twitter came out on top.

At the SLANZA conference I attended recently I met people who were on Twitter but needed help with what to do next.  There are a few things that I think you can do to get the most out of Twitter:
  • Try to get in the habit of using Twitter regularly.  For a long time I would open up Twitter on a Saturday or Sunday morning, look through my feed and retweet anything interesting.  And that was enough to keep my presence up and keep exposing me to interesting things.  
  • Mornings can be a good time to catch up as you will see more tweets from overseas.
  • Aim to follow at least 50 people.  Then you will get a variety of tweets to look at in your Twitter feed.
  • It's great to follow NZ school librarians, but to widen your perspective you can follow educators, authors, publishers, tech gurus, makers, public librarians and libraries from NZ and overseas.  By the way, you don't have to know someone to follow them!  However, it is nice if you put in your Twitter bio that you are a librarian, and then people will realise why you are interested in them.  
  • I've done a short list of people you might like to follow (see my "Twitter Starter Kit" below). I'm currently following 743 people so I haven't included all of them!  I've chosen just five people in each category who have a lot of tweets and/or followers.  
  • Have a look at the bios of the people on the list and some of their recent tweets to see if you might be interested in following them.
  • Once you are following a few people, Twitter will start giving you suggestions of people you might like to follow who are in similar professions.  This can be a good way to find more people to follow.
  • Another good way to find people to follow is to join in or watch a Twitter chat and see who is tweeting things that interest you.  I have also listed some chats below.
  • Speaking of Twitter chats, here's a couple of things you should know if you want to join in:
    • I write myself a note - 'Don't forget the hashtag!".  You don't need to reply to the person asking the questions but you do need to put the hashtag at the end of your answer.  For example, if you join in the #libchatnz chat then @libchatnz might tweet "Q1 What's your favourite colour? #libchatnz"  to answer you would start a new tweet "A1 red #libchatnz".  
    • Once you've shared your own answer you might like to read what others are saying and reply to them, or retweet or favourite their answers.
    • If you arrive late to the chat, just pick up from the latest question.
    • The easiest way to follow a chat is by using a tool like TweetDeck on your computer.  This allows you to set up columns - you can have a column #libchatnz to see the chat, one for @LibChatNZ so you can easily see the questions, and one for notifications so you can see if anyone is replying to your tweets.  There are some good tutorial videos on YouTube you can watch to learn how to set it up.
    • Adding a hashtag doesn't have to happen only during a Twitter chat.  If you are tweeting about your library you can add #libchatnz to the end of the tweet so more people will be able to see it.  If you are using Tweetdeck then you can glance at your #libchatnz column whenever you are on Twitter to see if anyone has shared anything new.

Twitter Starter Kit

NZ School Librarians                                        
@MSimmsNZ (me)

NZ Public/Academic Librarians

NZ Teachers

NZ Principals/APs/DPs

NZ Public Libraries



NZ Tech Gurus

US Librarians

US Tech Gurus

Australian Librarians

Makerspace Experts

@LibChatNZ (NZ School Librarians)
@OZTLNet (Australian Teacher Librarian Network)
@L2_S2S (National Library - Services to Schools)
@Schoollibsnz (SLANZA)
@ALIANational (Australian Library and Information Association)
@sljournal (School Library Journal)

#libchatnz (NZ school librarians - 8pm, 1st Monday of the Month)
#austl (Australian teacher librarians)
#tlchat (US teacher librarians)
#uklibchat (UK librarians)

#edchatnz (NZ teachers - 8.30pm every 2nd Thursday)
#engchatNZ (NZ English teachers - 8.30pm every 2nd Tuesday)
#aussieED (Australian teachers)

#makered (US maker-teachers)
#makerEdau (Australian maker chat)


  1. Thanks Michelle,I'll add a few of your peeps to follow suggestions.

  2. I could have included lots more! I do have a few lists in Twitter, which allows me to filter my feed, so for example I can choose to see just tweets from librarians.