How to use this Guide
The links in the ‘Table of Contents’ identify the various sections of the guide. Click on the section that interests you to ‘jump’ directly there.
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II. Social Media Accounts
Setting Up Twitter
Twitter Live Chats
Finding and Connecting with Others on Twitter
General Twitter Advice
ii. Google+ Communities
Setting Up Google+ and Google+ Communities
The ‘Social’ Aspects of Social Media
As we mentioned here, think of #etmooc as an experience situated somewhere between a course and a community. While there will be scheduled webinars and information shared each week, we know that there is a lot more that we will collectively need to do if we want to create a truly collaborative and passionate community.
We’re aiming to carry on those important conversations in many different spaces – through the use of social networks, collaborative tools, shared hashtags, and in personalized spaces. What #etmooc eventually becomes, and what it will mean to you, will depend upon the ways in which you participate and the participation and activities of all of its members. You may even establish and grow your personal and professional learning network (PLN).
What is a PLN? Here’s a helpful definition:
The PLN consists of relationships between individuals where the goal is enhancement of mutual learning. The currency of the PLN is learning in the form of feedback, insights, documentation, new contacts, or new business opportunities. It is based on reciprocity and a level of trust that each party is actively seeking value-added information for the other.
- Push yourself to try new things. Take risks and make mistakes—this is where deeper learning occurs!
- There’s really no ‘wrong way’ to approach a connectivist MOOC. We’ll provide you with suggestions on how to organize yourself and select tools to help you to throughout #etmooc, but find what works for you (and keeps you organized). If you do feel that you require additional structure on how to approach #etmooc in the beginning, try this wiki.
- Attend the Blackboard Collaborate live sessions when possible—we will be repeating many sessions, too, so hopefully one of them will be compatible with your schedule. Recordings of these sessions will be made available if you miss them.
- Ask lots of questions but also don’t forget that despite the wealth of knowledge that we have in #etmooc, there are a lot of great resources to be found on the Web. See if you can seek out a tutorial that addresses your question, and if you find something great, share it with the Google community in the Tools & Tips section and tweet it out using the #etmooc hashtag. You might help another person who had the same question!
Let’s see if we can create something that is not just another hashtag—and, not just another course.
What is Twitter? This video provides a good overview of how it works. Twitter also provides a helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for new users. Charlotte-Anne Lucas has a “Twitter 101” post too, which includes great additional resources and insights.
- If you don’t yet have a Twitter account, learn how to sign up (including helpful tips for choosing a username).
- After creating your Twitter account, we recommend that you customize your profile picture, header photo and background wallpaper. Be sure to include a description of your interests and the link to your blog, about.me or flavors.me page. This helps others to determine whether you might share common learning interests when they are deciding whether to follow you. If you stick with the ‘egg’ as your profile picture people might mistake you for a spam account or suspect that you might not plan to be a long-term Twitter user.
- Take a tour of your new Twitter home page and learn how to tweet, how to monitor notifications when others mention you or contact you through a Direct Message (DM) and more!
- Once you’ve created your profile and become familiar with the basics of your Twitter space, we recommend that you subscribe to the #etmooc participant lists. If you’d like to subscribe to the planning committee, you can do so as well. Additional information about using Twitter lists to organize your followers—which we recommend—is available here.
- We highly recommend that you follow the @etmooc account for important information, announcements and interesting reads.
- Twitter has its own language, which you can read more about here.
- Wondering how to tweet? A basic guide is available here.
- Always use the course hashtag #etmooc—a folksonomy—when tweeting about (discussing or sharing) articles or ideas that seem relevant to any of the weekly topics.
- One way to monitor others’ tweets to the #etmooc tag is by saving it as a search on Twitter and returning to it for review. Other, more effective ways to monitor the course hashtag can be found by using other free platforms such as Hootsuite or old TweetDeck (TweetDeck tutorial part one & part two). We also recommend both the Twitter (android) (iPhone) (Windows phone) and Hootsuite apps for beginners—both of which are free—for mobile.
- Looking for hashtags that are specific to your area of interest? Try this list for educators to start. Are you in Higher Education? This list might be helpful. Organizational learning? These suggestions may be be useful. Overall, though, we suggest that you watch which hashtags others—who share your interests—use.
- Be aware that there are spambots and other general malcontents who pop up periodically on Twitter. Here are some tips to spot—and stop—spammers and phishing campaigns. If you think you may have accidentally fallen prey to a phishing campaign, here’s what you can do about it.
- Monitor your followers as they begin to follow you and try to ensure that they are human, not spambots. Nevertheless, if you suspect you may have missed some spam followers for any reason, here’s one way to help prune your list somewhat.
- You might want to participate in one or more of our weekly, live Twitter chats during #etmooc. Or, if you are looking for Twitter chats on other subjects, Cybraryman has created a list of a number of educational chats as well as some helpful information about how to host and/or participate in a live chat.
In #etmooc, we will be sharing and building knowledge together in networks. Consequently, the connections we make with others—our Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)—are incredibly important for our own learning both during and after the ‘course’ ends.
- Hybrid Pedagogy recently published an article about PLNs that includes some helpful advice on PLN building within the context of setting a learning goal. This is particuarly relevant for our learning context.
- Howard Rheingold (and some of his Twitter followers) have also provided some great strategies for finding others to connect with on Twitter.
There are no hard and fast rules of Twitter—they shift and they differ depending individual networks. What is acceptable among some groups may not be okay with others. However, here are a few general tips that can be helpful for a new user:
- Twitter’s nuances can feel a bit confusing at first. Check out Mediabistro’s great tips (with many, many helpful resources!) for new Twitter users
- An important element of Twitter is giving credit to others. You might want to review this helpful article (note that we do advocate the use of MT and HT).
- Heidi Cohen has provided some additional Twitter etiquette suggestions are worth a review.
- Tweeting multiple messages or articles in a short timespan can reduce the effectiveness of what you are trying to share or convey. This slide provides some good advice about that.
Our #etmooc Google+ Communities site will be available for lengthier, deeper conversation among participants.
- In order to join, you will first need to set up a Google+ account.
- If you’re new to Google+, before moving on you may want to become more familiar with some of its key features, including how to ‘share’ posts, reshare them and how to use Google+ circles.
- Denis Labelle has created a series of 28 ‘how to’ videos on various aspects of Google+.
- Kevin Brookhouser has created a great tutorial on some of the Google+ communities basics.
- Hashtags work in Google+, too! Read here for more information.
The following is by no means an exhaustive list of the variety of social situations one might encounter on social media, and there may be more than one way to handle each situation appropriately. Below we’ve tried to provide suggestions on a few aspects of social media spaces that are important. Overall, it’s critical to remember that technology only augments our ability to communicate with one another—our ‘online’ presences are really inseparable from our ‘In Real Life’ (IRL) selves and the same goes for others. A good, general tip, then, is to guide your choices and actions by how you might handle a situation in your workplace or another physical social setting.
Similarly, bear in mind that your professional reputation (PDF) matters. The Innovative Educator has shared some tips on managing and protecting it that are worth reviewing. Social networking is also all about fostering conditions that support community, which includes building trust among individuals. Be a good digital citizen when interacting with others, help each other out and it will go a long way to helping form positive relationships and with each other.
- WordPress has put together a ‘Get Started’ section that explains how to sign up for an account, create a post and more.
- More basic WordPress tips have been collected here.
- When you’re comfortable navigating WordPress, we recommend setting up pingbacks.
- Blogger has created a helpful video tutorial explaining how to sign up for a free account, customize your blog and create a new post.
- Edublogs has create a comprehensive user guide for setting up and using an Edublog account as an educator here, including a section for additional support.
- Allow for comments to be posted immediately to your blog—this can help generate conversation more quickly.
- Does the idea of openly offering your personal thoughts feel a bit daunting? Terry Freedman offers some tips. Still not convinced? Check this out.
- Did you just write a blog post? Share it with others by tweeting it to the #etmooc hashtag.
- Once you have your blog set up, you may want to submit it to our aggregator to share your #etmooc posts with other participants on our hub site.
- Here are the instructions for how to connect to the #etmooc blog hub
- Visit the hub site to read others’ blog posts. Please leave comments on other participants’ posts when you find the topic interesting or have a suggestion—such as a related reading, for example—to offer. This helps all of us to learn and grow.
Did you know that there are a number of ways to save your links other than a bookmark in your browser? Social bookmarking allows you to access your bookmarks from any computer, anytime. No matter what you choose, try to save your resources by tagging to ‘etmooc’ each time, when possible—this will help other participants to locate great resources too.
- Diigo is a great tool we highly recommend—it allows for bookmarking, annotating web pages and more. We have started a Diigo #etmooc group that you should consider joining.
- Delicious is also a good tool for saving bookmarks. It was recently redesigned and may have an improved user experience.