Day 9 of #YSJ10DoT: Managing Information
If you’re choosing who to follow effectively, then your Twitter feed should be full of interesting tweets and links to webpages etc which you might want to follow up on. It’s easy to lose track of it all, miss things and mislay things!
Twitter itself has a few features which can help you stay on top of all the information.
If you see a tweet which interests you and which you’d like to come back to later, you can mark it as a ‘favourite’ and it will be stored for you to return to. To mark a tweet as a ‘favourite’, click the star icon.
When you want to look at your favourited tweets, you will see them marked in your Twitter stream, but it’s easier to see them all together. If you click on the top tab with the profile icon and ‘Me’, a menu will appear on the left, with ‘favourites’ as well as your tweets, followers and following. Click on ‘Favourites’ to view. When you favourite a tweet, the person who tweeted it is notified, which may help to gain you an extra follower, but it also gives them feedback on what others are finding useful.
Twitter now allows you to pin 1 tweet to the top of your timeline, on your profile page. This is great feature if you want to draw people’s attention to a particular tweet and it means that this tweet won’t get lost among the fast moving moving dynamic content on twitter. To pin a tweet to the top of your profile page, click the “dots” icon underneath the tweet and select ‘Pin to your profile page’. You may need to refresh your profile page in order to see your pinned tweet.
To unpin a tweet follow the same process, only this time select ‘Unpin from profile page’ from the menu that appears after clicking the ‘dots’ icon.
You can search for tweets by username, hashtag or just by a keyword. The search box is at the top of the screen in the right hand corner. Twitter allows you to organise the search results by top tweets (most popular) or all results. Additional options to filter the search content are available on the left hand side of the timeline. You can filter by People, Photos, Videos, News and Timelines and also by people you follow and people near you.
If you find yourself repeating a search regularly, you can save it so you don’t have to keep performing it. To save a search, select ‘Save’ in the top right-hand corner of the timeline after you have performed it. The next time you want to search for this topic (hastag, person, location) it should automatically appear in a drop-down menu when you select the search box.
Finally, you could also perform an advanced search – this allows you to narrow down the tweets you’re looking for by words, by the person sending or receiving it, by location and by a date range. To access the advanced search feature, click ‘Advanced Search’ in the menu that appears on the left hand side of Twitter (once you have performed a search). Below is an example search for #YSJ10DoT:
Third Party Apps
If you’re feeling more adventurous again today, here are a couple of third party apps which will help you curate all the links which people are tweeting about.
Tweetdeck is owned by Twitter, and is a good way to manage more than one account, if you have more than one (for personal and professional use, or perhaps an individual one and an official one on behalf of an institution). You can also use Tweetdeck to split your Twitter stream into columns divided by people. It will import any lists you have made on Twitter too.
You will need to create an account, with an email address and password. Once you have set up an account, you can connect your Twitter account(s). You can use it as a web-based application to access from anywhere, or you can download the Tweetdeck app to your computer (there is no app for smartphones or tablets). Tweetdeck is organised into a number of columns, and gives you a number of columns automatically, such as your timeline, your own tweets or your @mentions (tweets that mention you), and you can add new columns for the lists you create. You can also create new lists in Tweetdeck. Click on ‘add column’, and choose ‘lists’ (or any other column you want to add!).
You can do everything we’ve covered in Twitter on Tweetdeck too, including shortening URLs. Tweetdeck also makes some other things in Twitter a little bit easier. For example, when you retweet, it will ask you if you simply want to retweet or if you want to edit the tweet, as we discussed in Day 6. On Twitter, you need to copy and paste the tweet if you want to edit it, which can be fiddly; this does it automatically.
Finally, if you perform a search for a hashtag, you can add a new column to your Tweetdeck which will now display all the tweets using that hashtag, whether you follow the people using it or not. This might be useful if you are following a conference hashtag or chat such as #PhDChat but don’t want to follow all of the people tweeting with this hashtag.
Pocket is an application which saves any webpage for you to look at in more detail later, when you have time. It is a bookmarking tool – if you find a webpage via a link in Twitter (or anywhere else), you can save it to Pocket, and then return to it and the other things you’ve saved later on. Pocket is a web browser based service, meaning you can access it from anywhere and any device or computer. To create an account, you’ll simply need an email address, username and password. On your desktop computer, you can download and install it into your browser, so you can simply hit a button in your toolbar to save a webpage (how to install it depends on which browser you prefer to use, but Pocket will take you through the steps – it’s easy!). When you use Twitter in a browser with Pocket installed (and also if you have installed the Pocket app on your smartphone or ipad), then a ‘Pocket’ option appears alongside the other options of ‘reply’, ‘retweet’, ‘favourite’ etc when you hover over a tweet containing a link, so you can save it right from the tweet instead of having to open the link and add it to Pocket from there. You can also access Pocket on the web, if you’re on a computer which isn’t yours, or where you can’t install it into the browser.
Archiving & Scheduling Tweets
Twitter is ephemeral. Tweets are short, throwaway observations, which capture the present moment, flow past quickly and are succeeded by more recent and relevant ones. We’ve looked at a way to favourite tweets, but once you’ve done this, why would you want to keep a tweet? Why would you want to tweet in advance?
Let’s look first at deleting. You can delete your own tweets by clicking the ‘dots’ icon located underneath the Tweet next to ‘reply’, ‘retweet’, etc. From the menu that appears simply select ‘Delete Tweet’. If you make a mistake in a tweet, it might be less confusing to send another tweet with a correction rather than delete one that people may already have seen. However, you can’t delete someone else’s tweets, so if they’ve already retweeted you, taken a screenshot or archived the tweet using some of the options below, it might be too late to stop your tweet been recirculated!
But what if you want to keep tweets, either your own or someone else’s? Why might you want to do this?
- Perhaps a discussion on Twitter helped you to think something through, and you want to keep the discussion so you can work it up into a blog post, or integrate it into a chapter or article later
- Maybe there was a good twitter ‘backchannel’ of livetweeting at a conference or other event, which you want to preserve either for yourself or others
- Perhaps you want to preserve a selection of good advice or observations on a topic, when you asked for suggestions on Twitter and got some great responses. You might want to keep and share them with others.
- Maybe you want to keep a record of all of the tweets from a particular module instance.
Your Twitter Archive
If you want a copy of all your tweets, then Twitter can send you an archive of everything you’ve tweeted. Click on the profile icon, and select ‘Settings’. On your ‘Account’ page, scroll down to the bottom where you will see an option “Your Twitter archive: Request your archive”. This might be useful if you are using Twitter with your students and you want to capture all your tweets to demonstrate what you have done over a semester (or year) to external examiners etc.
However, one of the nicest ways to keep tweets, especially for others, is a third party application called Storify. Storify is the tool we used to make a narrative overview of YSJ 10 Days of Twitter. Storify is a way to create a narrative out of linking to content on the web, including tweets, websites and blogs, Facebook posts, YouTube videos or photos on Flickr. You can search for content, drag and drop it into a linear narrative, add some comments to contextualise it, and publish it on the web or share the URL. You are linking to the original source, rather than taking the content, so it doesn’t breach copyright. It automatically notifies people whose content you have used in this way, so if they object to your use, you can edit out their material (all the material visible to Storify is publically visible anyway).
Storify is a really nice way to curate, create and share a summary of tweets and other online material around an event or discussion, such as a conference, blog, module or livechat.
Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet
The Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet TAGS v6, developed by Martin Hawksey, is a spreadsheet which allows you to automatically pull results from a Twitter Search into a Google Spreadsheet, just like this one I have done for YSJ10DoT.
TAGSExplorer is an interface to TAGS based Google Spreadsheets of archived tweets. This data is analysed and the conversations between people are extracted and appear as connections. The more conversations a person has with other people increases the size of their screen name.
And what about future tweets?
You can schedule tweets to send themselves automatically later on. Although Twitter is a medium which captures the moment, there are several reasons why you might want to do this.
- If your following contains people in a different time zone who are most likely to be online in the middle of the night, and you want to catch their attention
- If you have collected a lot of links you want to share, but don’t want to overwhelm your followers with lots of tweets at once (see this example of an awesome workflow, from Pocket to Buffer to Twitter!)
- If you want to tweet repeated information, updates or reminders, perhaps about an event you’re organising, a blog or article you’ve written or a deadline for a job or funding opportunity, without having to remember to do it
- If you’re away but want to keep some presence on Twitter
- If you want to release a link to an article, or lecture recording, to students after a lecture or seminar.
You can schedule tweets from both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. To schedule a tweet in Tweetdeck, write a tweet as normal, and then click on the clock icon at the bottom of the window you’re composing a tweet in. This brings up a small calendar, where you can choose the time and date when you want your tweet to be sent.
You could also use an app called Buffer. You can sign in with Twitter (or Facebook, or LinkedIn), add an email address, and install it to your browser. Once signed in, it will ask you what you want to share. Type in a tweet, and click ‘buffer’. You will want to go to the ‘Schedule’ tab and set the timezone, and the day and time you want to tweet!
There’s quite a bit there to play with! Don’t worry if you’re still catching up – so are others, and hopefully the conversation will be continuing on #YSJ10DoT for quite some time!
- Twitter: What is a Favourite?
- Twitter: Favouriting a Tweet
- Twitter: Using Twitter Search
- Twitter: Using Advanced Search
- Twitter: Saving Searches
- Twitter: Pin a Tweet to your Profile
|<<< Day 8: Twitter Lists & Tweetchats Revisited
|Day 10: Exploring Twitter for Learning, Teaching & Research >>>
Ten Days of Twitter for Learning Developers was originally adapted from a similar programme for STEM researchers, also created by Helen Webster. The materials are available under a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA.
The 10DoT Badges are adapted from those issued by University of Sussex’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team, which were also licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Ten Days of Twitter has been adapted by Technology Enhanced Learning for use at YSJ, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.