This semester, a portion of the class discussion will occur online via Twitter. Full instructions for how you should use Twitter and how I will grade your tweets is available on Blackboard. For those who have not used Twitter before, this page will cover some of the basics to help you get started. As mentioned in class and in the instructions – remember that Twitter is a public forum. You are not required to identify yourself in any way. That being said, please keep your profile public so I and your classmates will be able to read what you post.
Step 1: Getting Started
To create a new account, go to twitter.com, select “Sign Up,” and enter your name, your preferred username, your email, and a password. Twitter will try to throw several things at you at first – a list of people to follow, etc. To work around this, simply re-type ‘twitter.com’ back into your browser’s address bar and you should see your new timeline. In the top right-hand corner, you should see a small icon of an egg; that is the automatic image Twitter creates for new profiles. If you click that icon, a drop-down menu will appear, and through the ‘Settings’ link, you can personalize your account.
Step 2: Learning the Ropes
Twitter operates in a fairly straight-forward manner once you get the hang of how it operates, but there are a number of terms that you should know.
It will appear in your followers’ timelines like this:
You will also see people reference retweets with the abbreviation ‘RT’.
Hashtag: This aspect is crucial to the way the Twitter assignment will operate this semester. A hashtag refers to a term preceded by the pound sign (#) without any spaces. The hashtag #H4388 will link together our class discussion; in order to receive credit you must include this hashtag in your tweet. You can find this link by clicking on it in a tweet or by searching for it in the search bar found at the top of the page:
Once you reach the discussion, be sure to select the “All” link at the top of the page in order to see everyone’s posts:
Reply: The purpose of using Twitter for class discussions is to encourage interaction with your classmates and the instructor. Three of your required posts each week are responses to another tweet; to reply to a tweet, you can select the reply button located at the bottom of the tweet next to the retweet icon:
You can also send a tweet directly to someone by typing @ followed by their username (without any spaces). For example, if you wanted to send a tweet to me, simply include @KristenDBurton in your tweet. Keep in mind that if you begin a tweet with a username and no other characters (“@KristenDBurton I have a question about…”), only I and the people who follow both your profile and mine will see the tweet. This can restrict access to what you post. To avoid this, either include a full stop before the username (like so: .@KristenDBurton), or just make a point to begin each tweet with the class hashtag, so we will all be able to see your tweet. (“#H4388 @KristenDBurton I have a question about…”).
List: After I receive the username you will use for the semester, I will add your profile to a class list. This will compile all the tweets posted by you and your classmates into a separate timeline. It is important to keep this in mind if you choose to use a personal account for your class tweets. After I create the list, you can subscribe to it; this allows you to access your classmates’ posts from a link found at the top of your profile:
While these are the more common terms you will encounter this semester, you can find a full list of terms people use at the Twitter Help Center’s “The Twitter Glossary.”
Here is a short video that covers the basics on using Twitter to tweet, retweet, hashtags, and keeping an eye on the 140 character limit.
Following/Followers: Once you set up your page, it is good to find people to follow. You are welcome to follow my page; I have a standing rule that I do not follow students back until I receive that student’s permission to do so (in other words, if you would like me to follow you back, tell me). When you follow someone, you will see their posts, but they will not see yours – not until they follow you back. The follow system allows you to choose what kind of network you would like to construct for your timeline.
Here are some suggestions for people to follow who specialize in Alcohol Studies:
James Nicholls: @Jamesqnicholls (He is the author of The Politics of Alcohol, which we will read this semester.)
Mark Hailwood: @mark_hailwood (A historian of early modern English pubs and drinking.)
Intoxicants Project: @intoxproject (A research project that focuses on early modern intoxicants, including alcohol as well as several other drugs.)
James Kneale: @JamesKneale (A geographer and historian of drinking and temperance.)
Josh Feldman: @cooperedtot (A whiskey expert who posts on all things bourbon, Scotch, brandy, and more.)
Lew Bryson: @lewbryson (An author and expert of the American whiskey industry.)
This is just a small fraction of the many people on Twitter who discuss alcohol history, the modern industry, and popular trends in drinking. Feel free to follow and interact with these experts, as well as any others you may encounter, throughout the semester.
Please post any questions in the comments!