DAY TWO - Twitter Digital January

OK, so yesterday you started to get fit using Endomondo - today we need to tell people all about it via social media, and Twitter is a great way to do it - let's get to know Twitter a bit better!

Twitter is technically known as a micro-blogging service. It's been around since 2006 and now carries over 500 million tweets per day. Its purpose is to convey a short message or communication - you only get 140 characters to play with in a tweet, so it pays to be concise! It's probably not the best place to hold an in-depth conversation, but it is good for keeping up to date with topics or ideas, or with news.

If you've set up an account or were already a Twitter user why not let us know by Tweeting something using the hashtag #digitaljanuary - tell us what you think of Digital January so far, and maybe what other tools or applications you'd like to see in the next few weeks.

What does it do?

Individual users set up accounts, which allows them to Tweet on any topic they wish. Common topics can be identified and searched for by the use of the hashtag symbol, e.g. #dundeeuni, #RogueOne, #brexit. Contributing to a particular discussion topic using the hashtag means that anyone 'following' that hashtag will be able to see your Tweets on the subject.

Other Twitter users may choose to follow you - they then see your Tweets on the rolling 'Twitter Feed'. You can follow them (or not) if you wish to see what they Tweet. The more users you follow the more Tweets you'll see - follow too many and it could become difficult to keep track of everything, so if you're new to Twitter it may be useful to gauge how 'connected' you want to be. Anyone you follow you can 'unfollow' if you decide they aren't saying anything worth listening to.

Some people use Twitter to follow celebrities or organisations, but remember - Twitter is used as a marketing tool just like TV, radio and advertising, and what may appear to be a democratic and individualistic environment may still be a source of disinformation, misinformation and opinion posing as fact. Everyone can say something, but not everyone has something to say!

When would you use it?

If you're a student you may find Twitter is more useful as a social tool than a study tool, but it's also a good way of assimilating news and current developments in the world in general or at a local or personal level. News of major events tends to break first on Twitter before it appears in other media.

It can also be used as a tool to gather feedback or ideas from a community of users using hashtag chats. It's also useful as a collaborative tool for sharing links to websites, video content or online text, so it can help a small community of students to stay connected for assignments and group activities.

As a more detailed example (from Fractus Learning) "students can use Twitter for research on a particular topic and start their own hashtag to quickly and collaboratively save all their findings into one common stream. By adding the hashtag to each relevant tweet they find they will each individually be able to search for it and see the results collected by other members of the team or class, regardless of whether they are in the same location".

If you're a teacher there are many ways that Twitter can enhance learning by providing another channel for communication, sharing and collaboration. There are lots of examples on the TeachHub website

Here at Dundee University, the Medical School have used Twitter to run a series of learning scenarios using the hashtag #fluscenario (search for it on Twitter to see what sort of discussions the fluscenario initiative generated). More information is available here and you can request a copy of a Conference Paper about the initiative from here

How do you access it?

Twitter works with smartphones, and can be downloaded for an Apple iPhone, an Android phone or a Google phone. It's free. You can also access it on the Web via the Twitter homepage.

Where can you get help to use it?

There is an introductory video here

For a more in-depth look at Twitter you may like to watch this half-hour introduction

What Digital Literacy skills will twitter help you to address?

The University of Dundee has a Digital Literacies Framework which sets out what sort of digital skills you should have, whether you're a student or a staff member. It's unlikely you'll have all the skills contained in the Framework, but this project can help you get started in developing some new ones. To see the Framework click here and click on Digital Literacies Framework at Dundee University to download a copy.

Using Social Media is an aspect of DIMENSION 5 - Collaborate and share digital content as outlined on Page 9 of the Framework.

COME BACK TOMORROW and throughout january to learn more about going digital

Credits:

Created with images by LSC - "tit bird spring" • cambodia4kidsorg - "Twitter Logo" • paz.ca - "Larry si è tagliato i capelli e guarda in alto: vi piace?"

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