Tracking on Twitter

Quickly, you’re going to reach a frustration level when working with the Twitter web interface to stay in touch with PLP Ontario.  The web interface is great for tracking all of the people that you follow but there are times when you want to look at various components of your Personal Learning Network.

There are many Twitter clients that do a great job.  You’ll see names like Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Spaz, Destroy Twitter, and the lot.  Personally, on my own computer, I use Seesmic Desktop.  The challenge is that all of these require that you have a new piece of software installed on your computer.  There are web based clients that do a great job.

One such client is HootSuite.

You do have to go through a quick registration process and then you’re in.  HootSuite will let you have columns in your browser to follow certain discussions or people whether you actually follow them in Twitter or not.  All that you need to know is a tag, a keyword, or a user name.  Some of the important ones for this project are:

  • #ontarioplp – tracking the Ontario Powerful Learning Practice tag
  • #plpresearch – research resources from this and other PLP projects
  • @snbeach – Sheryl Nussbaum Beach’s Twitter name
  • @willrich45 – Will Richardson’s Twitter name
  • @courosa – Alec Courosa’s Twitter name
  • @shareski – Dean Shareski’s Twitter name

You might also consider following those in your group and in the bigger cohort.  These folks have got learning to do and to share.

Back to HootSuite.  In the top corner, there’s a link to “Add Column”.  When you click on it, you’ll be presented with the ability to tell HootSuite what to put in that column.  You’re going to want to at least have a column that searches for “ontarioplp”.  That way, whenever anyone, anywhere uses that string of characters, you’ll find out about it.  You may also want to follow individual people in a column.

Just add a column and enter their Twitter name.  Any time they post a message or someone else posts a message with their name in it, you’ll see it in your column.  There are boolean operators that let you control the content of a column even further.  Explore it until you get the resource exactly the way that you want it.

So, all you need to do is to get to a computer that’s connected to the internet and you can stay up to date with what’s going on.  Just remember that, if you’re on a public computer, you’re going to want to log out of HootSuite.

HootSuite is located at

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links for 2009-10-23