What is Microblogging?

As a form of blogging, Microblogging is a broadcast medium that differs from traditional blogging. Its content is typically much smaller in actual size and aggregate file size. A microblog entry consist of a short sentence or sentence fragment, an image or an embedded video. [Wikipedia]

What is Twitter?

  • Tool for Microblogging;
  • Communication platform;
  • Social network - meet old friends, new and/or interesting people on Twitter;
  • Messaging service (quality of the messages is important).

Characteristics of Twitter

- Messages on Twitter are no more than 140 characters (Tweet).
- Tweets are really easy to write and read.
- Messages on Twitter are public.
- Messages are opt-in. People choose to get a stream of others' messages (Following).
- Twitter can fit with nearly anyone's workflow (mobile phone, PCs, websites, desktop programs).
- Tweets are distributed in real time.

Why use Twitter?

  • Find a community of peoble who care about the same things you do.
  • Get news and recommentations from that community.
  • Let them know what your're doing and thinking.
  • Share ideas and links that matter to you.
  • Learn social media skills: what works, what doesn't.
  • Just to have fun.
[O'Reilly 2009]

Interesting questions

  • What is the educational potential of Microblogging (Twitter)?
  • How to use Microblogging (Twitter) in Teacher Education and Teacher Training? (Application fields)

Application scenarios in education

  • Twitter challenge: Teacher asks questions via twitter. Learners twitter the answers. Who has the right answer first? For every right answer the learner gets points. Winner is the learner that reaches 100 points first.
  • Sharing information through Twitter in real time: Teacher and/or learner share links to interesting websites, documents, literature, projects, etc. via Twitter. They use hashtags to tag these tweets. Through these hashtags learners can filter the tweets and create lists.
  • Team up to write a short story in a foreign language 4 Collaborative Writing
  • Create a glossary collaboratively: Explain terms with 140 characters. Use #hashtags for additions and comments.
  • 10 top uses of twitter in education from Steve Wheeler:
    1. ‘Twit Board’ Notify students of changes to course content, schedules, venues or other important information.
    2. ‘Summing Up’ Ask students to read an article or chapter and then post their brief summary or précis of the key point(s). A limit of 140 characters demands a lot of academic discipline.
    3. ‘Twit Links’ Share a hyperlink – a directed task for students – each is required to regularly share one new hyperlink to a useful site they have found.
    4. ‘Twitter Stalking’ Follow a famous person and document their progress. Better still if this can be linked to an event (During the recent U.S. Presidential elections, many people followed @BarackObama and kept up to date with his speeches, etc).
    5. ‘Time Tweet’ Choose a famous person from the past and create a twitter account for them – choose an image which represents the historical figure and over a period of time write regular tweets in the role of that character, in a style and using the vocabulary you think they would have used (e.g. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar).
    6. ‘Micro Meet’ Hold discussions involving all the subscribing students. As long as everyone is following the whole group, no-one should miss out on the Twitter stream. All students participate because a sequence of contributors is agreed beforehand.
    7. ‘Micro Write’ Progressive collaborative writing on Twitter. Students agree to take it in turns to contribute to an account or ‘story’ over a period of time.
    8. ‘Lingua Tweeta’ Good for modern language learning. Send tweets in foreign languages and ask students to respond in the same language or to translate the tweet into their native language.
    9. ‘Tweming’ Start off a meme – agree on a common hash-tag so that all the created content is automatically captured by Twemes or another aggregator.
    10. ‘Twitter Pals’ Encourage students to find a Twitter ‘penpal’ and regularly converse with them over a period of time to find out about their culture, hobbies, friends, family etc. Ideal for learning about people from other cultures.
  • How to use Twitter for Social Learning (C4LPT)

Twitter Tools and Services

Twitter, Yammer

10 Twitter tools that will make your life easier:
  1. The Archivist (to save and analise tweets),
  2. Tweriod (to analyse your followers' streams, work out when they are online the most and let you know the best time to post your tweets),
  3. ManageFlitter (Twitter account management),
  4. Buffer (simpler and hassle-free solution),
  5. Hashable (to document all the relationships you make on Twitter and other social network),
  6. Qwerly (a place to put all your Twitter contacts and other social networking profiles in one place),
  7. TwileShare (upload and share files on Twitter),
  8. Twoolr (gives you detailed statistics about everything happening around your Twitter account),
  9. Deck.ly (to send longer posts),
  10. Proxlet (allows you to mute certain tweets without unfollowing the person altogether).

How Twitter works

Twitter - Video Tutorial

Twitter Search

See in the video Twitter Search in Plain English how Twitter Search creates new opportunities, tracking news in real time and discovering trends.

For tweets related to the Share.TEC project and this Share.TEC pilot we use hashtag #sharetec. Search for it and use #sharetec in your tweets.

Webcast Twitter Power Tips

O'Reilly, T. & Milstein, S. (2009)
"In this webcast, Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein, Twitter experts and coauthors of the The Twitter Book, will show you how to use Twitter more effectively, whether you're on the site for personal socializing or to meet business goals. They'll explain why Twitter is emerging as an important channel, and they'll share key tips--along with compelling, real-life examples--from power users." [Twitter Power Tips]

Tim O'Reilly about Twitter


Literature and Studies


Buchem, I. (2010). Blogging und Microbogging für Lehrende.