Welcome to UCD Ten Days of Twitter, or in Twitter speak #UCD10DoT.
Twitter is a very public social media channel so you can see people’s tweets without an account, by viewing their profile or by searching for a keyword (e.g. #UCD10DoT). However without an account you won’t be able to join in the conversation, and that’s the first and main thing to learn about Twitter – Twitter is a conversation.
Setting-up an account on Twitter is straight-forward, however there are a few things to think about in terms of creating an engaging and effective profile.
Step 1: Set-up Your Account
- Log onto Twitter at http://twitter.com/
- Enter a real name, email address and password. Click Sign-up for Twitter.
- On the next page, you can select a username (i.e. your @name or your handle). Our focus is on using Twitter in a professional academic context, therefore you should use some version of your real name so as you’re identifiable. If your name is common it may already be taken – Twitter will make some other suggestions or you might come-up with your own variation of your name. Then click Create my account.
- On the next page Twitter will take you through finding people to follow, but we recommend you skip this step for now – we will cover this in detail Day Three. Twitter will ask you to follow at least six people before you can skip on to filling out your profile, so here are some suggestions to get you started: @UCDTL (the Teaching & Learning team at UCD); @ucddublin (main UCD account); @UCD_Research (UCD Research); @UCDLibrary (UCD Library); @leonegately (Leone Gately, Educational Technologist); @aine_galvin (Áine Galvin, Director of Teaching & Learning); @Bentonra (Prof Ben Tonra, Head of UCD School of Politics & International Relations); @ColizScott (Prof Colin Scott, Principal, UCD College of Human Sciences); @McNulty_J (Dr Jonathon McNulty, School of Medical Sciences).
Step 2: Create Your Profile
- Upload a profile picture. When skimming through a twitter feed of all the people they follow, an eye-catching profile picture will help them pick your tweets out. It could be a picture of you – opt for a good, clear shot of your face. It could also be an abstract image, as long as it’s striking. Make sure the image is clear enough, as it appears as a small icon. Don’t leave your profile picture as the default Twitter ‘egg’ – this suggests that you are either very new to Twitter or a spammer!
- Add your real name. This will appear on your profile, so if you use an abstract pseudonym and picture your Twitter account can still be identifiably ‘you’. If you use Twitter to represent a module, programme or group, then the ‘full’ version of its title would be something to add here.
- Add a location (or an institution or other affiliation). Your followers might be from anywhere in the country or the world, so this gives people a bit more context about which university, professional groups you are affiliated with.
- Add a URL to a personal website (staff/research profile) or school/unit webpage. People can then find out more about you than is possible in your Twitter profile.
- Add a ‘bio’. You have 160 characters to sum up who you are and what you might be tweeting about, to encourage people and give them a reason to follow you. Again, a blank or minimal bio isn’t very inviting, and suggests that there is little to be gained from following you, or you are a spam account. A well-thought out bio is an important part of gaining new followers. Have a look at the bios on other tweeters’ profiles, and see what you find inviting or off-putting. Some people like to add that they are “tweeting in a personal capacity” or that the “views are my own” to clarify that their tweets do not reflect the views of their employer. Be aware of the public nature of the medium and conscious of your digital footprint at all times.
- People will often view your profile page when deciding whether to follow you, and you might give out the URL to your profile page e.g. on your email signature or business card if you want to ask someone to follow you, so it is worth making it informative and distinctive.
Step 3: Customise your Twitter Profile Page
- Click on ‘Edit Profile’ to add or change your Header Image – the one that sits behind your profile picture.
If you are setting-up an account to represent your school, or other activity such as a conference team, journal, research group or programme, give careful thought to your @name and profile, ensuring alignment with any branding of your unit/activity.
Now, to let us know how you’re getting on, why not drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your Twitter handle and a link to the URL of your profile? Or if you have any other comments or questions, let us know.
So you have an account on Twitter now, with an engaging profile which invites others to follow your tweets. That’s enough for day one!