Unless your school has a well established Twitter culture where all teachers/classes use it regularly, you’re probably not going to have many families follow you here. Depending on the age of your students, you may not even find many kids following you.
Then why bother with it?
Because it can help you connect to all sorts of different people and groups! Follow professional ensembles, music advocacy groups, local colleges and universities. Many will follow you back and even share your tweets.
Just because they don’t use it doesn’t mean that students don’t understand it. A local university’s music department retweeted us a couple of times and the students were really excited! The Detroit Symphony Orchestra even responded when we asked a question through our account about some of the percussion heard in a performance we attended.
Twitter is also a great place to seek feedback and ideas. While working on Genius Hour projects at the end of the school year, we used Twitter to share links to student blogs to gain feedback. Students got responses from as far away as Beijing! Earlier in the year we were also able to connect with a group in California (we’re in Michigan) playing one of the same pieces as us and ended up sharing recordings for students to compare.
Here are some important things to know when so you can get the most out of a class Twitter account:
- Twitter limits posts to 140 characters, so brevity in your posts is important. While it’s supposed to change in coming updates, remember that for now, pictures, links, and videos take up part of your character count.
- Hashtags are the key to making Twitter work for you. A hashtag (which is the # symbol before a word or phrase) is like a folder in a giant filing cabinet. Anybody who sends out a tweet with a specific hashtag is adding it to that folder for others to see. For example, one of my favorites to use is #musedchat. On Monday nights at 8PM (EST), this tag is used by music educators all over to discuss teaching music. The rest of the week, people tweeting content related to music ed will continue to use the tag so that others can see what they’re sharing. Hashtags count as a part of your character count too, so keep it in mind when tweeting. (Here are some reasons why more music educators need to be on Twitter as well.)
- Staying on the subject of hashtags, find out if your school, district, or department has a unified one and be sure to use it (them) in your tweets to be a part of the larger conversation. Be a team player and retweet your school/district every now and again too. They’ll return the favor and share what you post as well.
- Unless you lock the account (which makes it very difficult to connect and share your class), all tweets are public. In the case of inappropriate replies or unwanted followers, simply click on that person, find the gear on the right side for settings, and block them.
- Use your class account to reach out and ask questions. You can even tag professional musicians or organizations in a tweet and see what responses you get back!
- Just like with Facebook, Canva has a pre-made template for Twitter headers that can be used to help promote your band and upcoming events.
- If you have multiple Twitter accounts (I have a personal account, one for our bands, and one for our school Makerspace club), try TweetDeck. You can be logged into multiple accounts at once and have them all easily on display rather than constantly logging in and out or jumping around between accounts on your phone/tablet.
Check out the image below for a rundown of what a tweet looks like! Have other questions that weren’t covered here? Please comment in the Facebook post or contact me through my site The Noisy Room Down the Hall.
Anatomy of a Tweet
Amy Rever is a 6-8th Grade Band teacher at Hart Middle School in Rochester Hills, MI. She earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Oakland University in 2015. Amy has been teaching eight years and spent the first seven of her career as the K12 band and music director of a small district where she also served as the social media coordinator. She has shared new technologies with colleagues at staff meetings, spoken on utilizing social media at district professional development, and recently presented how to use Twitter for professional learning at the Michigan Music Conference. When not teaching, Amy enjoys laughing loudly and often with her family and walking their two rescue mutts. She also blogs regularly on her site The Noisy Room Down the Hall.
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