Twitter is My #PLN

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“PLN” created with Spell With FLICKR

Why Twitter for My #PLN?

Workshop by Sarah Blattner

Have you ever wondered what the Twitter fuss is all about? Twitter boasts 271 million active users, 500 million daily tweets and 35+ languages. So what does this have to do with your professional learning network and Jewish education? Think of twitter as a trail of breadcrumbs, leading you to a treasure trove of resources and colleagues, all in about 140 characters.  In this session we will tinker with Twitter features and uses, explore the education Twitterverse and extend our #PLNs.

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s kickstart your DIY (“do it yourself”) PLN (professional learning network)!


First Things First

Sign Up for a Twitter Account

If you already have a Twitter account, take some time to review your profile and privacy settings. Make sure you have your account working just right for you! Then, proceed to exploring and lurking OR take on a new challenge — TweetDeck or HootSuite (scroll down).

  • Explore Twitter Help Center’s Signing Up With Twitter.  Pay special attention to the “tips for picking a username,” which is the same thing as your “@twitterhandle.”
  • Consider your digital footprint and what identity you want to put out to the world for your Twitter handle.
  • Go to Twitter and sign up for your own account.
  • Follows – You will be prompted to follow a few folks.
  • Start by editing your profile and account settings.  This includes privacy and uploading an avatar.


Twitter Anatomy


Twitter Anatomy-Home2



Others’ Tweets











Your Tweet & Deleting










Window Shopping With Twitter

The best way to find your way around Twitter is to lurk. There is no shame in lurking on social media — it’s like window shopping, essentially.  Scope things out and commit later:)  At the end of this section, check out the screencasts to help you get acquainted.

Twitter Lingo – Familiarize yourself with some Twitter lingo by using the official Twitter Glossary.

Explore the Official Twitter Rules – Twitter Rules and Policies

Lurk! – Explore some hashtags here.  Think about whose voice resonates with you?  Or, whose voice challenges your own thinking?


Tour Twitter with Sarah Blattner on @tamritzlearning

Update Profile

Set user preferences

Search for “handles” and #hashtags




Take the “Follow” Challenge:

  1. Find 5 to follow
  2. Seek out 5 followers
  3. Post 1 tweet with our conference #hashtag
  4. Retweet 1 post
  5. Favorite 1 post





Using “lists” in Twitter is one way to make sure you don’t miss the tweets from the folks you like to follow the most. For instance, if you are following over 100 tweeters and you are not on Twitter all day long, use a list to make sure you hone in on your favorite handles. A List may be set up as private (only for your view) or public (others can see your lists in your twitter profile and subscribe to them).

Screencast: How lists work




Tweetdeck is an app by the folks at Twitter.  It is available for MAC, Windows and Chrome only – no android or IOS options, unfortunately.

Tweetdeck is designed to help you be a “power user.” What that really means is that it helps you organize all the conversations or #hashtags you would like to follow. For example, you can create a separate column for each #hashtag you follow to really zoom in on a topic.  This is especially helpful when you participate in a tweetchat (a real-time conversation with a group of people using the same #hashtag).  Columns are also very helpful when you are following a #hashtag at a conference — the tweets zoom by so quickly, it is hard to follow the conversations sometimes!

You must sign up with your email address to access this app.  You will be prompted to link your Twitter account to Tweetdeck.

Note: You can choose to either download this app and use a “desktop version,” OR access the Tweetdeck interface through your web browser. Either way, you need an Internet connection.

Sign up here.

Screencast: How to add a column in Tweetdeck



Tweet to Learn by Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters in  Scientific American

Edublogs Teacher Challenge:  Using Twitter to Build Your PLN by Kathleen Morris



Using the conference #hashtag, share your thoughts on the following:

  • What are your thoughts on Twitter for growing your PLN?
  • How about for learning with your students?
  • What discoveries have you made?
  • What areas would you like to explore?