(This post is cross-posted here at the Scholar Electric blog.)
My good friend, Tony, has been bugging me for a while now to explain to him how to use Twitter as an English/New-Media/Writing-Studies/Digital-Humanities scholar. I’ve tried, several times now, to explain how twitter works, and how to use it effectively. For me, the idea of “using” Twitter doesn’t really right true. Instead, I tend to think of Twitter as a place where things happen. A place where I visit to overhear what’s going on with/between people I think of as friends and colleagues. They contribute ideas and links to articles. They pose questions. They suggest or query for collaborators. I often find some amazingly useful information, and I’m always running across new people I want to meet. And every once in a while, think that I, too, might have something to contribute. But still, for someone who’s unfamiliar with the Twitterverse, and who would like one person’s advice about how to get started, I have a few ideas that I wish someone would have told me when I was first getting started.
The first thing I would do is to make sure you sign up for an account. Once you’ve got that accomplished, start building a starter-list of people (or accounts) you want to follow. One of the best tools you’ve got is the search bar at the top of the twitter page. When you’re searching for people/accounts it’s a good idea to have a mix of types. Here’s a list of the types of accounts I would start with:
Colleagues in my discipline or related disciplines…
Hey, rhet-comp folk: thinking of a “redesign the vote” project that does before/after re-designs of voting ballots. any interested collabs?
— caseyboyle (@caseyboyle) November 7, 2012
I hate when people find out I teach writing and assume I know anything about fiction. Our public imagination about writing is so limited
— Michael J. Faris (@sisypheantask) November 7, 2012
— Jim Ridolfo (@ridolfoj) November 5, 2012
— Brian J. McNely (@bmcnely) October 27, 2012
— whitney trettien (@whitneytrettien) November 6, 2012
Digital Information Overload Overwhelms and Distracts Students – National Writing Project ow.ly/f4zKP
— Traci Gardner (@newsfromtengrrl) November 6, 2012
I was dead wrong when I told my students this would probably be another pretty lame debate.
— Christina LaVecchia (@JalouxdelaLune) October 17, 2012
— Alice Daer (@alicedaer) November 6, 2012
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen) November 5, 2012
Asking “What do we do about faculty who don’t want to do DH” is like asking “What do we do about faculty who aren’t Marxist” #thatcamp
— Amanda French (@amandafrench) November 3, 2012
— David Weinberger (@dweinberger) November 2, 2012
— Bill Wolff (@billwolff) November 7, 2012
Sometimes I worry that I became a rhetorician at the exact moment the field of rhetoric stopped caring about rhetoric.
— Quinn Warnick (@warnick) November 1, 2012
KY Poetoffers uses an appearance/reality topos to eloquently redefine “conservatism”in the NYTimes #wrd111http://nyti.ms/Svai5r
— Janice Fernheimer (@dancingdivala) November 6, 2012
“Instagram, Emotional Metadata & Ubiquitous Sharing”: writing.spencerbeacock.com/post/346463572…
— Tim Lockridge (@timlockridge) November 3, 2012
Nothing like working through page proofs on a chapter so old that I don’t even agree with myself anymore.
— Karl Stolley (@karlstolley) November 5, 2012
Gotta love an assignment that inspires a student to create a marketing campaign that includes Insane Clown Posse and it’s a good idea! Ha!
— Intellagirl PhD (@Intellagirl) October 17, 2012
In the Intro to DH class this morn: crowdsourcing digital maps & long-term thinking in digital studies: web.uvic.ca/~englblog/150f….
— Jentery Sayers (@jenterysayers) November 5, 2012
— allison d carr (@hors_doeuvre) November 1, 2012
— Matthew Kirschenbaum (@mkirschenbaum) November 2, 2012
Projects/software/hardware that I want to keep up with…
Episode released early! Some stations had a tech issue playing “Red State Blue State,” so it’s now up on our site: tal.fm/478
— This American Life (@ThisAmerLife) November 3, 2012
— DMAC 2012 (@dmacinstitute) June 8, 2012
New short: What’s Up, Doc? How Mel Blanc “man of 1000 voices” maybe was saved by his characters after 1961 car crash: wny.cc/TJ0zMb
— Radiolab (@Radiolab) November 7, 2012
Adventures in 3D Sound!This will change the way you listen to music: wny.cc/S0q23q
— Studio 360 (@Studio360show) October 24, 2012
— Rick Prelinger (@footage) October 30, 2012
— Scrivener (@ScrivenerApp) November 6, 2012
Accounts that are more fun…
Hurrah! I am back in Ireland, 150 years after the British made me leave for doing a crappy talk show in the village.
— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) October 10, 2012
You know your party’s in trouble when you read this:A: The rape guy lost.B: Which one?
— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) November 7, 2012
Make sure you get out there and VOTE today! Then enjoy your orange juice and cookie… wait! Did I just give blood by mistake?
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) November 6, 2012
Dear Twitter Friends, a mole came to visit & can’t seem to get out of the cement area. We’re feeding the mole almonds, oats, water & celery.
— David Lynch (@DAVID_LYNCH) May 25, 2012
Once you’ve got a good start on your feed (maybe 20-30 accounts to get you started), start checking in at some point each day to see what you can overhear. Maybe you’ll be able to respond to someone’s tweet. Maybe you’ll encounter an amazing idea.
Eventually, you’ll start gaining followers. Some of the people you follow will follow you back. Sometimes you’ll respond to a tweet, someone will retweet you, and people will find you that way. You might also add your twitter tag to your email signature, vitae, business cards (do people still use those?), etc. And from there, you’ll start shaping your own Twitterverse into something rewarding for you. Good luck!