On joining twitter, you can create any twitter username that you desire- this is a twitter “handle” like @ontarioextend). Keep in mind this is your account name; you can always use your real name (or anything else) for displaying beside it.

If you have concerns about personal information online, we suggest that you create a twitter username that does not include any personal identifiers (e.g. that includes your real name). Use a nickname, a cartoon character, a favorite movie character, maybe a username that you use elsewhere.

Start by visiting https://twitter.com/ When you get there click the Signup button.

When you create a new twitter account, you will be asked for your full name. You are not required to use your real name; maybe start with just your first name. Or create a name for a character.

Likewise it will ask for a phone number. This is not required; look closely for an “email instead” link so you can create an account.

If you have a twitter account already associated with your email, you will need to try a different address. Gmail users can try the “trick” of creating a variant address. If your gmail account is superteacher@gmail.com you can create what acts like a new address (but still gets sent to your Gmail) by appending a + something to it, like superteacher+ontartioextend@gmail.com (this is a neat trick worth knowing).

Whether you provide a phone or email, Twitter will send a verification code needed for the next step.

More steps follow- choosing a password and a profile image – it need not be your own picture.

Twitter will ask for upload your contacts; definitely skip this for now. Knowing you are connected to is a valuable piece of data for them. Let’s not just give it away now.

You will then get more questions- Twitter will ask about interests. We suggest just skipping this too. Twitter keeps wanting more information.

Next Twitter will suggest people to “follow”, mostly celebrities, politicians, maybe even a US President. Again we suggest a minimalist approach. Skip this step too.

For new accounts, Twitter will create a username like @superteacher14567 based on whatever you entered for your name. You can change this later by editing your account information. There’s more settings to experiment with later; for now, just make sure you have an account set up.

Composing your first tweet, make it memorable!

Just go as far as getting ready to send a first tweet. You are poised to answer that philosophical question “What will be my first tweet?”

Make it a good one, something maybe more profound than “My first tweet”. But here is the first lesson– hashtags — these are the ways your message can be grouped with others of the same interest.

So we suggest you say something about twitter, or this project, or a photo of your cat, BUT include #oextend (and/or #oextendMOOC) in your message. Trust us. This generates an easy way to see all other tweets that have used the same tag.

So what happens after you tweet?


Nobody knows you are here.

There is a chance that someone else who is part of #oextend or #oextendMOOC will see your first tweet and reply. But don’t count on it.

The first days on twitter  are a time to build up your network by
following other people, reading tweets, replying if appropriate, seeing who others follow and converse with. When you follow someone all of their tweets show up on your twitter home screen. Start by visiting the profile of the account for our project @OntarioExtend and click the orange Follow button; this way you will see our announcements.

In our account we assembled a list of people involved in the project, and that is a good place to start choosing colleagues to follow https://twitter.com/ontarioextend/lists/extenders/members  Now when you click the Home button in twitter, you will see tweets from these people in your timeline. You might want to just read, check out links they are sharing, or reply.

The “@” symbol signifies a mention in a tweet. If you include a mention of @greeneterry in your tweet, then Terry will see the tweet in his mentions. It’s a way to draw someone’s attention.

Locating the menu item for editing your twitter profile

Lastly save this URL or use #oextend in the search box to see all the tweets with that tag. That’s the best way to see what’s new in the Ontario Extend twitter stream.

Don’t worry about “figuring out twitter” now. That will come with practice and participating. You can also explore the ways to customize your profile. Look under the icon on the top right.

I got my twitter on, what’s next?

Featured Image: Red Robin Young Chick pixabay photo by Finy shared into the public domain using CC0