What is a hashtag? What is the stuff next to a tweet?

Free twitter badgeImage via WikipediaA day or two ago I received a couple of questions from a friend, Yvonne Hynson, about Twitter: “Can you point me to somewhere to learn all about these hashtags and how to tweet @ without getting all tangled up! Please… I am really enjoying Twitter and finding it much more useful than Facebook for finding out ESOL stuff. Just don’t understand all the other stuff next to the tweet!” So, I decided to collect together a couple of resources around Twitter, and some of the basics around using it.

In a nutshell, the # symbol is called a ‘hash tag’, and it indicates a key topic that you might want to find out about, and you’ll also be able to find the trending topics on the right hand side of your Twitter page. I’ve included a video below where facebookmari explains it way better!! The @ symbol is used with a Twitter user’s username e.g. mine would be @howen. It indicates a reply, mention, and / or a re-tweet, and is a form of providing links in a conversation, as well as being a type of attribution if you are sharing a resource or comment. It means that other people can also join the conversation, especially if you use a combination of @ and a hash tag. For example, I might see a great resource from @playnice about #elearning – the two symbols mean that I can re-tweet her link and other folk know that playnice found and shared the resource, and that the topic is eLearning.

Clear as mud? Never fear – the following resources should shed more light on the basics of using Twitter.

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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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