State of social media 2018

social-media-universe 2018.jpg

Visualizing the Social Media Universe in 2018

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Digital time saving tips: how to auto-open the start up web pages you regularly visit

quick tips

When you turn on your computer or laptop, chances are that you will want to access a website you regularly use, your chosen search engine (typically Google for myself) or perhaps a collection of social networking sites. If you use Chrome as your web browser (instead of Internet Explorer) within settings you can easily save your regular ‘go to places’ and these will open automaticaly when you click on the Chrome icon.

To set your start up pages go to chrome://settings/ and scroll down to ‘On startup’. Here you can check ‘open a specific page or set of pages’. You will need to ‘add a new page’ and then paste in the URL. Alternatively if you have your chosen pages already open you can click ‘use current pages’.

The other option is to check ‘continue where you left off’ and those pages will automaticaly re-open. Quite useful if you are working on a project and have multiple pages open!

Chrome settings

You may also wish to choose your preferred search engine. Simply choose from Google, Yahoo, Bing or Ask Jeeves. These settings can then be saved and re-visited at any time.


Further tips from Google Chrome Help

1. Sign in to Google Chrome

When you sign in to the Chrome browser, you can save and sync things like your bookmarks, history, passwords and other settings to your Google account. Then, you can get to them on any device.

Find out how to sign in to Chrome.

2. Make your own profile

You can have multiple people use Chrome on the same device, each with their own settings, bookmarks and themes.

If you have different accounts, like work and personal, you can use Chrome profiles to keep your bookmarks, extensions and settings separate.

Find out how to add a Chrome profile.

3. Make Chrome yours with apps, extensions and themes

Download and use apps and extensions or personalise Chrome on your computer with a fun theme. You can find new apps, extensions and themes on the Chrome Web Store.

  • Apps are programs that can be used within Chrome.
  • Extensions are extra features that you can add to Chrome.
  • Themes appear around the border of the browser and show a background when you open a new tab.

Find out how to use Chrome apps and extensions and customise Chrome with themes.

4. Open a specific page or continue where you left off

Set up Chrome to load your favourite page when you first open Chrome on your computer. Or, you can continue where you left off on the pages that you had open the last time you used Chrome.

Find out how to set your start-up pages.

5. Browse in private or delete your history

If you don’t want Google Chrome to save a record of what you visit and download, you can browse the web privately in incognito mode. You can also delete your history, cookies and other information: remove all of it or just some from a specific period of time.

Find out how to use Incognito mode and delete your information.

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Finding your voice on social media


The language used when talking about social media in business can often seem unrelated to the way we relate to using it in a social context, however there are some useful pointers to gain from.  Lilach Bullock is an online business expert and created the infographic below to highlight the steps business owners can take to gain social influence and become a go-to source in their particular niche. There are a number of points that can be applied as educators using social media to develop personal learning networks; to signpost useful information created by ourselves and also by other educators; and to signal that we are open to providing help to others. Portrayed as wanted to grow influence may make you feel uncomfortable, however if you are using social media, for example a blog to share information as an educator and wish to engage in meaningful dialogues, then there is little point being a ‘shrinking violet’. It is important therefore to find and develop your voice on social media.

If you want to develop a personal learning network, using social media is an excellent way to connect to educators beyond your immediate network. Utilising other social media like Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ can help to amplify your blog posts so that others do actually have the opportunity to read them. As an introvert I have found that a key advantage of using social media to connect with others is that you have space to think. Whether composing a tweet, blog post or a comment, you choose when to do this. You don’t need to feel you have to respond immediately. For me that option of thinking time has helped me to become more confident.

So taking Lilach’s checklist, let me share how I think these apply to educators using social media for learning.

  • Choose a niche – If you are considering writing a blog that you want others to read, don’t worry about being an expert, but do choose a topic you will enjoy writing about and others will enjoy reading.
  • Online presence – Make sure you populate your personal bio as this information will help others with mutual interests connect with you. Add links to connect your social media spaces, for example your Twitter name on your blog and vice-versa.
  • Social media – Develop useful connections with others and engage in conversations, add comments and like posts that are of interest to you. Over time you will develop followers and build a valued network.
  • Become a go-to source – Take the opportunity to help others by answering questions and when writing a blog post consider adding a question to encourage comments from readers.
  • Share content – This can be information you have created but equally important is sharing what others have posted. For example interesting blog posts, articles, videos or podcasts. Always acknowledge the work of others and where possible tag them using their username to let them know you appreciate their content.
  • Blogging – Add visual interest to your posts by adding images or a video. Consider pulling together useful ‘how to guides’ or a bulleted checklist. Blog posts can be short and punchy, and still be of value.
  • Be up to date –  Share the tips you learn with others in your network. Chances are they will appreciate this, just as you do learning from others.
  • Networking – Reach out to individuals from time to time and take an interest in what they are doing. This can be done publicly or through the use of private messages.

Above all remember that finding your voice on social media is more than just broadcasting. Your experience will be far more fulfilling if you socialise with others by engaging in dialogues with others in your chosen networks.

social influence infographic

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Extending the audience of a blog post


When you start to blog your focus is understandably on the post you are writing. However if you don’t then think about about how you will share this post to an audience that will appreciate it and potentially share with others, then you run the risk of ‘talking’ to the ether…

Connect your blog to your social media accounts

You can save valuable time by automating a tweet or post to LinkedIn which shares the title of your blog post and a link. Within WordPress you need to click on My Sites (top left) and then scroll down to Sharing. Here click on Connections and choose which of your social sites you wish to connect your blog to. Once connected, each time you publish a post, this will automatically be shared in these spaces.

connect WordPress to social

Add social media sharing buttons

As above go to Sharing and then Sharing Buttons. You can then select the social media sites readers of your blog can click to share a post to. This makes it easy for readers to share your post with their own communities. It will automatically take the title of your post and the link. This can then be edited by the individual if they choose to add a further comment.

sharing buttons

Add a subscribe by email box

Readers can choose to subscribe to your blog and receive email notifications when a new post has been published. You can do this by adding a ‘Follow Blog Widget‘ to the side bar.

Promote your blog

Add a link to your blog in your social media bios. That way if someone visits your Twitter account for example they can find the link easily.  Other examples include adding a link to your email signature along with the name of the blog and adding the blog URL to your business cards.

Re-post in Medium

Medium is an online publishing platform developed by Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter). First of all you will need to create an account. Once this is done you can then choose to import your blog post by simply posting the URL. It’s quick and easy to do and your post is then shared to a wider audience.

Import a post to Medium

To import a post published elsewhere onto Medium:

  1. Click your user icon > Stories > Import or go to
  2. Paste the URL of the story you’d like to import into the field.
  3. Click Import.
  4. Click See your story to edit.
  5. Publish your post.

Imported stories will automatically apply a canonical URL referencing the original source material.


Don’t forget to acknowledge shares of your blog post. A simple “thanks for sharing!” goes along way.


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Different ways to engage in a Twitter conversation

Twitter conversations

From time to time it can be useful to keep an ongoing Twitter conversation together. This can be done by replying to a tweet.  Whilst you can also interact through a tweet by mentioning individuals or by adding a comment as a nested retweet, these do not allow you to develop a threaded conversation where the tweets of all those involved in the conversation are kept together.

In the example below you can see 39 people have liked the tweet and 22 have engaged with it (19 retweets and 3 comments).

If you then click on the tweet it will then provide a view of the tweet which includes the comments. You can reply to any of the tweets here and they will be added to this thread of tweets. (As I am viewing from my tweet I can also ‘add another tweet’ to the thread of comments.)

threaded reply


How to reply to a tweet

There are a number of ways to do this.

Direct reply to one person
This is a direct response to a tweet another user has made.

  1. Find the Tweet you want to reply to.
  2. Hover over the bottom left hand corner of the tweet
  3. Click or tap the reply icon
  4. A compose box will pop up, type in your message and click or tap Reply to post it.

Direct reply to a tweet  with multiple usernames
As above. If the original tweet was sent to more than one person, their usernames will also be included in the reply. To remove any mentioned in the original tweet, click on reply and then click on the names and then these will be displayed as a list. You can then uncheck the names you wish to remove.

reply options

Nested retweet
This is where you retweet with a nested comment. This will appear above the original tweet.

  1. Hover over the bottom of the tweet and click or tap on retweet.
  2. Add a comment and then click or tap on retweet again.

A nested reply will look like this. However it will not be linked to other replies.


Who sees your reply?

This will depend on whether the person follows you.

  • Not following you: The tweet will show in their notifications (unless they have chosen to mute these)
  • Following you: The tweet will appear in their timeline and notifications


What you will see when someone replies to you 

  • Not following you
    If someone sends you a reply and you are not following them, the reply will not appear in your Home timeline. Instead, the reply will appear in your Notifications tab.
  • Following you
    When someone replies to one of your Tweets you will see Replying to you before the Tweet and you will receive a notification in your Notifications tab.

If you click or tap on a reply in your timeline, it will expand to display the Tweet that was replied to.

To view conversations on other’s profiles go to their home page and rather than view just Tweets, click on Tweets and Replies.

tweets and replies

Protected Tweets
Replies from people with protected Tweets will only be visible to their accepted followers.

Muting notifications for a conversation

If you would like to stop receiving notifications for a particular conversation, you can choose to mute it. When you mute a conversation, you won’t get any new notifications about that conversation. You will, however, still see Tweets from the conversation in your timeline and when you click into the original Tweet.

To mute a conversation via, or from your Twitter for iOS or Android app:

  1. Go to the Tweet detail of any Tweet or a reply in the conversation you wish to mute.
  2. Click or tap the  icon.
  3. Tap Mute this conversation.

Maximising visibility of your tweets

If your Tweets are not protected, then all replies are public, but only relevant people, such as those who follow you and someone who is part of the conversation, will see your reply in their Home timeline, even if you begin your reply with “.@”.

There are times when you would like all of your followers to be able to see your interaction with a tweet. You can do this by Retweeting or Retweeting with a nested comment.

How to add media to a tweet

  1. Type your Tweet into the compose box at the top of your Home timeline, or click the Tweet button in the top navigation bar.
  2. You can include up to 4 photos, a GIF, or a video in your Tweet.
  3. You can include a URL link in your tweet by typing or pasting this into the message
  4. Click the Tweet button to post the Tweet to your profile.

How to mention someone in a Tweet

  1. Type your message in the Tweet compose box.
  2. Type the “@” symbol before the username(s) when addressing a particular account(s). Example: “I’m Tweeting on @Twitter!”
  3. Click or tap Tweet to post.

Deleting a Tweet

Now and again you may spot a typo and want to delete a tweet. To do this:

  1. Visit your Profile page.
  2. Locate the Tweet you want to delete.
  3. Click the  icon
  4. Click or tap Delete Tweet.

Further help

Twitter help:

A caveat to this post is that Twitter has a habit of continually changing things so do make use of their help pages for up to date guidance!

Posted in Communication tools, Twitter | 3 Comments

The Google Yourself Challenge

Google challenge

When was the last time you googled yourself? If not recently (or indeed if you never have) then now’s the time to do this. Dismiss the idea that this is some sort of ‘ego surfing’ exercise. This is an opportunity to check what your online presence looks like to others.

You may not be aware of the many times you are searched for as an individual. This could be in the quest to find your contact details, information about your research/projects/teaching, or as a prospective employer to get an overview of your online profile. As social media use ranks highly anyone can quickly find your most recent activity. It is therefore important to understand what information you are sharing is private and  what is public; and also how this could impact on your career prospects and overall safety. Giving away too much personal information could result in a stolen identity.


Questions to ask yourself?

  • What do people want to know about you?
  • Where will they use this information?
  • Why is your profile important?
  • When and how often do you update it?
  • How will you use your profile to your advantage?

For many of us it is likely you will have a collection of online profiles which might include your staff profile on your employer’s website, clubs or societies, and social networking sites. It is the later that potentially needs the most attention. Some will be used purely for social and informal interactions and others for professional reasons. It is important that these are reviewed regularly to ensure your online presence there is seen in the best light irrespective of whether the profile is private to a circle of friends or public. Remember it is your reputation that is at stake. Let your profile work for you not against you!


Googling yourself

Take the time to ‘google’ yourself. The same process can be repeated with any other search engine of your choice.

  • Type your name in the search bar within quote marks as this will bring more accurate results
  • If you have a popular name, expand your search by adding further keywords e.g. your employer, town you live in


Taking control of your online presence

Checking the privacy settings on the sites you use is a must. For more information visit the Help/FAQ/Privacy Policy page of each website. It is important that you take the responsibility to understand how your information may be accessed or used.

Be aware that once you share information online, be this personal information or through posting comments/photos/videos, you have little control over who can see it and what individuals might do with it. It is quick and easy to screenshot (take a digital photograph) anything seen online and this becomes a permanent record despite the fact that you might choose to delete the information.

That said it is still worth investing time to ‘tidy up’ your online presence and remove posts or photos you are no longer happy with. You can also untag yourself from posts and set up measures to stop others tagging you if you wish to.


The infographic below highlights the key points to consider

Google yourself infographic




Posted in Digital Skills, Google, Tips | Tagged | 2 Comments

Creating a set of threaded tweets

Twitter icon

Sometimes one tweet is not enough to express the story you want to tell. You can create a connected collection of tweets known as a tweet thread. Now some of you might already be thinking if 280 characters is not enough then write a blog post or upload a deck of slides to SlideShare. These are useful ways to share information. Threaded tweets adds a further option that is quick and easy to do whilst staying within the Twitter app. Below are some examples of how this might be used.


  • A running commentary of a live event – this could include text plus images or video
  • Connect a list of instructions – this way the entire list can be viewed together
  • Curate tweets at a conference – a useful way to make notes at the different sessions you attend or if you are big Tweeter during one session
  • Build a connected quiz – here you would be posting a series of questions to prompt replies

How to do this:

  1. Click the Tweet button to draft a new Tweet.
  2. To add another Tweet(s), click the highlighted plus icon  (the icon will highlight once you have entered in text).
    Note: If you go over the character limit, the text that is over the limit will be highlighted for easier editing before you post.
  3. To delete any of your Tweets, click the delete button
  4. When you have finished adding all the Tweets you’d like included in your thread, click the Tweet all button to post.
  5. Once you have posted a thread, you can always add additional Tweets from the thread detail page. Simply click or tap Add another Tweet to post additional Tweet(s).

This GIF demonstrates what it looks like:

As you can see a thread will  appear on your timeline connected by a line to distinguish them as a bundle. When there are 4 or more Tweets in a thread, the Tweets will be truncated, and you’ll see an option to Show this thread. Click or tap this message to expand the full thread.

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10 Ways to Use Twitter in Teaching

10 ways to use Twitter in teaching

  1. Resource building – tutors AND students can use a course hashtag to share links to relevant resources. These could include websites, news articles, videos, podcasts, images, SlideShare presentations as well as books and journal papers.
  2. Interactive lectures – ask students to answer questions during a lecture. Or, get people talking before the lecture or the seminar by raising questions.
  3. Quick-fire recap of a lecture – ask students to summarise key points
  4. Instant feedback – areas they would like to go over again
  5. Reminders of deadlines and events
  6. Set up a Twitter chat with an industry expert, client group or professional community
  7. Research ideas and opinions using the advanced search
  8. Reviews – write a concise micro review of a book, an article, a film or event
  9. Survey – set up a poll or an online questionnaire and tweet the link
  10. Direct messaging – use DM for private tutorial questions


Previously shared via Slideshare


Posted in Twitter | 4 Comments

Taking ownership of the LinkedIn notification updates you receive


The Notifications tab is your hub for notifications about you, your content, and your connections. You’ll receive notifications for updates about people in your network, the activity of your shares or posts, as well as career opportunities.

Notifications prompt you to congratulate connections for starting a new position or for work anniversaries, and to wish them a happy birthday. You are also notified about the number of the searches you appeared in and views of your profile, as well as likes of your posts.

I’ve noticed that for some this is information overload and found to be annoying! If this is the case then read on and find out how you can stop the notifications you would rather not see cluttering up your feed.

You can manage these updates directly from the Notifications tab to determine which types of notifications you’d like to receive. You’ll have the option to:

  •  Delete a notification – Removes the notification from your Notifications tab.
  •  Mute a notification – Stop receiving updates on a particular post on your feed. You can also disable future updates for that thread.
  •  Unfollow a notification – Stop receiving updates from that particular connection, such as job changes, likes, or work anniversaries.
  •  Turn off a notification – Stop receiving a certain type of notification, such as likes or job changes, from the people you’re following.

To turn off a type of notification, for example birthdays, then you need to select a notification from one connection who’s birthday notification shows in your feed and click on the three dots. This will then display a drop down menu. From here click on ‘Turn off’ and you will stop receiving all birthday notifications like this. Apply the same method for work anniversaries (or any other type of notification) by again choosing one connection with this type of notification.

LinkedIn notifications

Once you’ve turned off a notification update, all existing notifications for this type will be removed from the Notifications tab and you’ll no longer receive these alerts. You can find a list notification updates you’ve turned off, on the Notifications tab.

If you’d like to see notifications appear again, once you’ve turned back on a notification update, you’ll start receiving these alerts again. All previous notifications of this type will also be surfaced on the Notifications tab.

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How to change your Twitter username and not lose a single follower

Follow the Leader

There are times when you may wish to change your username, the name or photo on your profile, or any aspect of your bio. You can do this easily by following the steps below.

A common change is your username. When initially choosing your username it may be that your exact name has already been taken. People then go on to choose an abbreviated name, add numbers or characters to their name, or choose something more random. Whilst this provides you with a unique username, you should question how easy is it for people to find and remember your chosen username.

Another reason might be that the name of your team or organisation has changed. Rather than create a brand new account and risk losing your followers, simply change your username (and other details on your profile).

Changing your username will not affect your existing followers, Direct Messages, or replies. Your followers will simply see a new username next to your profile photo when you update. It is helpful to alert your followers in a tweet before you change your username so they can direct replies or Direct Messages to your new username.

Change your username

  1. Sign in to or open your Twitter app (iOS or Android).
  2. Click on Settings and privacy from your profile icon drop down menu.
  3. Under Account, update the username currently listed in the Username field. If the username is taken, you’ll be prompted to choose another one.
  4. Click the Save changes button.

Change your name

  1. Sign in to or open your Twitter app (iOS or Android).
  2. Go to your profile.
  3. Click or tap the Edit profile button and you’ll be able to edit your name.

What’s the difference between your username and your name?

Your username appears in your profile URL and is unique to you. It’s used for logging in, replies, and Direct Messages.
Your display name is a personal identifier (sometimes a business name or real name) displayed in your profile page and used to identify you to friends, especially if your username is something other than your name or business name.

How long can names and usernames be?

  • Your username can be up to 15 characters long.
  • Your display name can be up to 50 characters long.

How to customise your profile

  1. Sign in to or open your Twitter app (iOS or Android).
  2. Go to your profile.
  3. Click or tap the Edit profile button and you’ll be able to edit your:
  • Header photo (recommended dimensions are 1500×500 pixels)
  • Profile photo (recommended dimensions are 400×400 pixels)
  • Name
  • Bio (maximum 160 characters)
  • Location
  • Website
  • Theme color (only editable on
  • Birthday

Click or tap into any of these areas and make your changes.

When changing a profile or header photo, click or tap the camera icon and select Upload photo or Remove. Photos can be in any of the following formats: JPG, GIF, or PNG. (Twitter does not support animated GIFs for profile or header images.)

You can also choose to Show my Periscope profile through your Twitter profile (available if you’ve connected your Twitter account to your Periscope account). Click or tap Save changes. If your Periscope account is connected, your Twitter profile will show LIVE on #Periscope when you are broadcasting.

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