Sunday, 9 March 2008

How to explain Twitter

I often get asked to explain what Twitter is and "why would I bother twittering", especially at a conference where this a large amount of newby tech-users like Learning@School.

Finally now there is a new Commoncraft video to help me do just that:
Twitter in Plain English.

This simple video will hopefully explain it a bit better whenever I get asked next. Oh, and you can even follow me (@rachelboyd), or @leelefever (the creator of the Commoncraft video below) on twitter too!

The video is embedded below, or you can view it here.

See you around the twittersphere!

For more info about Twitter, you can also check out my links and resources that I've gathered on the topic

This one by EDCAUSE: 7 things you should know about Twitter, is a goodie too. You can download it from this link.

Update: Check out Dean Shareski's latest post linked to this Commoncraft video... Why you can't explain Twitter in 140 Characters.


  1. Hi Rachel,
    your blog is great. The 'plain english guide to' vids on youtube are great too. Thanks for sharing your ideas and experience.
    Coromandel Area School

  2. Hey Rachel,
    For the longest time, I have seen this word 'twittering' on some of my friends' facebook statuses, but I had never actually figured out what it was or that it had any meaning at all. I am currently enrolled in a technology-enriched secondary education class, and I am being introduced to all of these new technologies and ways of communicating and sharing ideas with other future or current educators. We have discovered such programs as Skype, and del.i.cious accounts. I think that Twitter can have the same educational value that a del.i.cious account can have. By having a network of friends that include teachers, administrators, and college students, one can learn a lot. People might share a project that worked well in their class, a new teaching strategy that was thought of, and other things like that. Though the posts are short, they will be easier to read and force the blogger to be more concise. This is perfect for getting quick tips and information.
    Thanks for this blog!
    Sarah Davies
    Illinois State University

  3. nice one guvna [or the appropriate female equivalent] :-)
    great blog - thanks for the links etc

  4. Greetings from Italy, good luck to you

    Bye Marlow

  5. Hi Rachel,
    I was wondering if and how you have used Twitter in your classroom. I just watched the video you had posted, and though it looks fun and insightful to do with friends, it looks like to me that it would almost become more of a headache to keep up with, almost like impersonal forwards that friends send to your email. I am always looking for ways to engage students, though, so I would be very interested in your input.
    Caryn Clark, ISU Grad Student

  6. Hi Rachel,
    My task gives me a chance to visit your blog and I found it is very interesting. I know google talk, Skype, msn, but this is the first time I have idea of Twitter. For the video, I have a general idea of this communication tool. It is very convenient and useful between connect with close friends. As the video said, you can know your friends’ daily life with this tool. The thing I am curious about is how do you use Twitter with your kids to help you teach and communicate with them? I think it is a very good way to help students outside classroom. But how? Have you ever used it? I also think we can use Twitter to communicate with parents to let them know updated information of school and performance of their kids. Because I have noticed my students’ parents have little time to come to teachers. Whatever, I like this tool and I will try sometimes.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Have good school days!
    Linda Lin

  7. Twitter has always interested me, but I also kept thinking that I would get tired of it. The video does a great job of explaining the main idea, but I still thought, “it can't be all about knowing everything all these people do all day.” After looking more and more into it however, I can see its usefulness in connecting your class to the world for certain projects and ideas. Anything to open us and our students up to the world around us is certainly a good thing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas, they are interesting and thought provoking.

  8. I love the youtube animation with the explanation on Twittering. I’m glad you posted it, I had read another article earlier on twittering an extrapolated most of what I needed to understand the concept. It didn’t, however, completely define it. The youtube focused on the social aspect of Twittering, I would second Caryn’ s question on how Twittering would be a useful tool in the classroom (vs other tools available for students). In addition how would one moniter what was said, to keep it educational?


  9. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for posting this Commoncraft video. It did a great job of explaining the web tool. Clearly Twitter is an excellent way to stay in touch with family/friends and network with people. However, if one wanted to use a web tool for only professional networking and work related information sharing, is Twitter the right tool for that? I imagine that managing friends, families, and professional contacts on Twitter would become cumbersome, hard to organize, and time consuming. I have over 400 “friends” on Facebook, if they all Twittered me regularly I would be overwhelmed. I have trouble enough managing my three email accounts. As a Teacher, is Twitter a valuable tool for professional networking and work related information sharing? I guess my real question is what are the pros and cons of using this kind of social media for work related use?

  10. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for posting the "twitter in plain English" video. I have been hearing about twitter for awhile now but did not really realize what it was or the purpose of it. The video was very helpful. Thanks!

  11. Hi Rachel,

    Have you seen I Use Twitter by Geekula. It's a Slideshare put to music that is a pretty cool discussion starter.


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