First, you need an account with Twitter http://twitter.com . In the beginning this is probably sufficient, as you will not have too many contacts.
There are two types: People you follow, and people who follow you. A good way to find out who to follow is to look at the #TT (teacher Tuesday) and #FF (follow Friday) nominations. On these days teachers on twitter suggest great people to add to your list. You can click on their names to find out about them before you decide. You might even like to add people that they follow when you look at their profile. Many people will follow you back. http://screencast.com/t/sNtzi1ESB
But imagine that you want to follow what is happening in BAW.
I suggest that you download TWEETDECK www.tweetdeck.com. This will allow you to put your contacts into columns, such as #BAW2011.
On opening Tweetdeck you will see http://screencast.com/t/rSGeYbsF a list of columns. These are my choices today. I can change the number and category of columns by clicking on the silver button with the plus sign
OK. On the left hand side are two rows of buttons. There are another two rows of buttons on the right, and there are buttons below each tweet.
LHS: Top Yellow button: you don’t need this if you write your message in the large grey box which says ‘What’s happening?’
Silver Plus sign: this will add a column. You can choose between the core columns, your own lists, or add a new column. To do this you write the hashtag# and the name of the column you would like to open e.g #BAW2011. Now you have added a new column.
Red Splodge: if you would like to find out about someone who is sending you tweets you can access their profile information here.
Url shortener: by default this is switched on. If you add a long address to a tweet it will be automatically shortened. Click here if you want to switch the feature off.
Tweet shrinker: You can write a tweet using a maximum of 140 characters, including spaces. This tool will help shorten (e.g. Four will become 4) saving space.
Translate: you can use the dropdown menu and translate into a variety of languages.I don’t know how efficient this is, but try it out.
Recent Hashtags:this will find you the hashtags to add to your message (or you can control this in another way).
RHS: Top Refresh: speaks for itself
Single Column View: You can keep #BAW2011 open and not be distracted by any other tweets at the same time. This is good if you are having a conversation. Wednesday at 12 and 21GMT every week there is a great discussion forum called #ELTchat. It is so fast and furious that anything else would be a distraction.
Spanner: this is a drop down menu for the settings. It is worth having a look and playing with these to customise your tweetdeck.
RHS: Bottom Teardrop:if you want, you can add your location.
Camera: upload your photos or videos here. Make sure that they are not too big. Write your tweet, click on the icon, browse your machine, upload, and press send.
Video: use your webcam to record a video and upload it.
If you want to reply to a tweet:
Click on the thumbnail pic. There are 4 possibilities. You can reply (but others can read your tweet) You can DirectMessage (private), you can retweet, so that others can read it, or you can save it as a favourite to read later.
The Plus sign under the tweet will allow you to add the tweeter to your list of followers, if you want to. If you are not happy to have this person as a contact, you can block them by clicking on the picture, opening the flower on the lower right, and clicking User, Block.
Have fun, and ask if you need help. Everyone is really friendly.