Anatomy of a tweet

Just for fun.

This Twitter message flew across my timeline the other day.  Now, the first inclination is to “favourite” or “like” it.

Until I checked the message sender’s profile, that is.  (name withheld)

The person is a new Twitter user, with very few messages, at a university studying education and the timeline is all about resources available for teaching.  That sound you just heard was my ego deflating.  The message wasn’t inspired by my insights and over the top writing style; it was probably a class assignment.

I know the routine – I used it as a way to get teacher candidates interested in taking a look at what’s available and, hopefully, get the message that being isolated in education these days is a choice that they can make for themselves.  It doesn’t have to be that way; there are all kinds of educators sharing and connecting.  You just need to jump in so the activity is a very helpful one.

So, let’s analyse this message.

  • “Check out”
    Always a good lead in.  It’s a call to action right up front.
  • “@
    This could be a challenge to this person’s classmates if they’re new to Twitter.  You don’t typically precede a URL with a @.  That’s reserved for usernames.
  • “very interesting thoughts”
    Perhaps a little redundant.  The opposite would be “very boring thoughts” and hardly worth a recommendation.  I’ll live with “very interesting thoughts”.  They typically were at the time that I wrote them.  (at least to me)
  • “variety of topics”
    The blogger obviously has a lack of focus on a particular topic.  Or, perhaps, the blogger has an opinion about everything.  Or, perhaps, the person has a wide variety of interests.  Let’s go with that one.
  • “witty”
    Finally!  Someone recognizes that.  It’s a far cry from the Christian Science Monitor that called me “snooty”.
  • “veteran educator”
    I remember the first time I was called “veteran”.  I had just turned 30.  I’m sure older than that now.  I’m glad the high road was taken and the term “old fart” not used.

Enough of this silliness. 

Let’s go back to the original assumption that it was a class assignment. 

I really do think it’s a good assignment for teacher candidates.  I’m humbled that either this student or the professor involved chose to look at doug — off the record for this purpose.  It’s also a reminder that there are people who do read your blog.  So, if you do blog yourself, it’s your incentive to keep on keeping on. 

Hopefully, at that education school, teacher candidates are encouraged to get actively connected to other educators – veteran or not – because there’s so much to know and learn to be the best in your profession.  While at it, I think it would be a great idea for them to create a Twitter list and a Blog Roll of their classmates so that they can remain connected after graduation.

The more connections; the more options.



  1. I’ve had a couple of blog posts given as assignments to read or included in professor’s lists of resource materials. It is a lot of encouragement to continue.
    I’ve never had the Christian Science Monitor call me “snotty” or anything else though. A case of any publicity is good publicity though? Better than being ignored.


  2. I think that last paragraph of yours is one of the best ideas around. I pitch it whenever I get a chance to speak to B. Ed. students. If there are classmates you’re learning from now, why not create an opportunity to continue that learning. I know I appreciate what I continue to learn from Paul Murray, who’s my classmate from B.Ed. Class of 92, UWindsor via Twitter.


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