Monday, June 24, 2013

Grow Your Twitter Network With a Spiffed Up Profile

Are you an educator just getting started on Twitter? Or have you been on Twitter for a while and would like to increase your ability to connect to others? From my experience on Twitter, here are a few simple tips about your profile that might help you connect to more people. The more people who notice you, the more folks you have to learn from! (Not to mention that more folks will benefit from your knowledge, too!)

1. Choose a username/handle that tells who you are and describes what you are about - For example, I picked the username EdTechSandyK because my main reason for being on Twitter was to connect with others who are interested in educational technology.

2. Make sure your username is easy to spell - I purposefully did NOT use my last name in my handle, because it gets misspelled by everyone. Try not to get too creative with your spellings. Imagine the number of times you might have to spell it out for others who have to say, "How do you spell that?", and that should help you keep it simple. :-)

3. Keep your username to 10 characters or less if possible - I've read this in multiple articles over the past four years that I've been on Twitter. It helps when people re-tweet you. Of course, I didn't know this when I first signed up, so my username breaks this rule.

4. Keep it professional - If you really want to connect for mostly professional purposes, make sure you keep your username (and profile) professional too. "Sexyprof" might be, well, attention getting, but it will also keep you from being taken seriously.

5. Hatch the egg! - If you keep the egg as your profile picture for too long, you run the risk of being mistaken for a spammer. Put a headshot of yourself on your profile or at least an avatar or something that represents you. Your Twitter profile picture will wind up all over the Internet in the many services that Twitter users use to copy, curate, and repost Tweets. So be comfortable with the pic you choose, but hatch the egg!

6. If you choose to do a header picture, make sure your bio and other info is still readable. - The header picture is the larger pic that displays behind your profile picture and bio information. If you pick something that is too busy or the wrong color, it can make your profile difficult for others to read.

7. Fill out your bio! - I have a Twitter pet peeve - EMPTY BIOS! When someone new follows me, I want to know who they are and where they are from and what they do. It helps me determine why they might be interested in what I have to say.  I also want to know those things about people I'm considering following. Sure, I can go to someone's timeline and figure some of that out if they've Tweeted much. But I shouldn't have to be such a detective. When people connect, they want to know a little about each other. At least say what you teach or what position you hold. You don't have to include your school or district if you don't want to. Also, add your location (at least your country; provinces/states/etc. are also nice to know) and a link to a website that represents you if you have one.

Have I given you some ideas for updating/tweaking your profile a bit? If so, then you'll be happy to know that Twitter has recently made it super easy to edit your profile. Just go to your Twitter profile on a computer, log in to Twitter, and click Edit Profile right there under your profile header. You can change anything except your username/handle right from your profile page. (See screen shot to the right.)

OK, fellow and future Tweeps, I'll see you, and your new and improved Twitter profile, on the 'Net! :-)

P.S. - If you found this post interesting, you might also like my LiveBinder full of resources to get you started using Twitter for Professional Learning.