What I learnt from my first 100 tweets

My first 100 twees

I lost a bet on this one (I owe you Kate!): I really didn't think I was going to get to 100 tweets. They were supposed to be one a day but it in fact took me 123 days to get there (stats shown were gathered with metricspot).

The figures shown must have been calculated on the first 99 for some reason. There are more details below but you can see that I probably didn't enter into nearly enough conversations (only 5% of my tweets were "replies") to fully appreciate that interesting Twitter avenue.

What the people I follow tweet
This is actually my second go with Twitter and, though I got to 100 (and beyond!), I'm still not convinced.

Occasionally there's something that makes you stop and think:

And occasionally, amongst all the chatter, there are practical ideas which are actually useful, like this:


And jobs! For anyone job-seeking, Twitter does seem useful, with sites like TEFL.com being worth following (see @tefldotcom).

What I tweeted
You can see below what I tweeted most. Apart from posts on my own blog (!), things on TeachThought were most common: what I like about it is that it makes you think about what you're doing in the classroom, particularly with regard to how technology is being used.

Next was The Guardian: I scan it every morning, not because I agree with its politics but for things that might make good materials for class (I loved the idea of learners creating something like this or this for example).

What I tweeted

Among the "mentions" I made, two of my favourite sources of materials for class: Kieran Donaghy's wonderful Film English and Luke Neff's brilliant Writing Prompts.

Twitter with learners
But what I was really interested in when I began back in June is discovering ways in which learners could use Twitter. Getting them to "follow" celebrities Kate tells me "works" for some but by no means all learners, with a big drop in interest after a week to ten days. There were several other projects we came up with but in the end — due to considerations of privacy (we're talking teens) — used Edmodo for them.

One that has worked really well (though again not with all): having teens "follow" feeds pumping out "inspirational quotes" (like @DavidRoads, for example), which really got learners — especially the girls — interested in reading (albeit in 140 character lots… or less!). Thanks to Sandy for trying that idea out.

And this idea for creative writing with Twitter is one I like a lot.

100 tweets later…
So, all in all, I'm surprised that — despite the appalling amount of frankly pretty pointless tweeting that goes on — Twitter actually can be useful; I am going to continue my one-a-day tweets (@Tom_IHBCN); but still think an RSS reader (I've been using theoldreader, since the demise of Google Reader) is way more organised and more useful.

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. From the OUP blog, of interest to anyone thinking of using Twitter with students.

  2. Yay!!!!! Number 1 thing I learned on Twitter: never follow anyone who posts more than about 3 times a day! Un beso, K.

  3. I think I'm with you on that one, Kate ;-)!

    On the other hand it could just be an age thing: I find I ignore and tweet that is not more or less written in plain English. I can't skim read and puzzle out what a bunch of acronyms mean: I just ignore that sort of tweet.

    Younger people (or perhaps those with more experience on Twitter?) perhaps deal with it better but skimming +acronyms +super short text +abbreviations +limited time to devote to the task is way too much cognitive load for me.

  4. Here's another one from The Guardian: Students: 10 ways to beat stress".

    I love brainstorming lists of 10 (etc) as a class activity (great as a pyramid discussion), and then getting the learners to compare their list with an article and discuss it further.

    One of the few things I've found that always works well on an interactive whiteboard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *