Mission #2: Twitter Me This

(Mission title runner-up: Tweet Yo Self)

Welcome back! This is Justin Lanier—on behalf of mis amigos—here to present you with your second Explore MTBoS mission. No worries if you haven’t finished Mission #1 yet—I haven’t—but let’s keep the ball rolling, shall we?


Mission #2: Twitter Me This

Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to try your hand at Twitter. Maybe for the first time, maybe for the first time in a while, maybe in new ways, maybe with new people.

This mission, combined with our blogwork in Mission #1, will provide you a sure foundation for all future Explore MTBoS enterprises. You’ll be platformed up and ready to mingle by the week’s end.

Twitter is chatting with the world. It’s microblogging. It’s the world’s best teacher’s lounge. It’s a free-flowing and wide-ranging conversational tapestry, a place to ask a pressing question, let off some steam, share and reshare resources, find inspiration and encouragement, and crack hilarious jokes. It’s a great place to listen in, vet an idea, and let your colors shine through.

All this in 140 character bursts. Day and night. With #copioushashtags and @KimKierkegaardashian.

Having timely, thoughtful, and charming interactions from a whole world of online colleagues? Yes, please.

Step 0: The Account

First of all, if you don’t yet have a Twitter account, let’s get you set up with that. Note that in addition to what I say here, there’s a Twitter sign-up how-to at the “Welcome to the MathTwitterBlogosphere” weebly site. (If you’ve already got a Twitter account, just scroll on down Step 1, demarcated by a picture of a cat.)

First up, head over to twitter.com and start filling in some info under New to Twitter? Soon enough, you’ll need to come up with a username. Remember, characters are at a premium, so you might prefer shorter over longer.

Next, Twitter has you go through a short tutorial. You can probably follow through with these steps on your own, but I’ll provide some commentary anyway. Twitter asks you start “following” people. These are the people whose tweets will populate your Twitter feed. We’ve made a little list of mathy folks to follow if you need help getting started, and there’s a larger list on the mathtwitterblogosphere weebly site.  And there’s a recently compiled list in this spreadsheet, which you can also add yourself to.

If Twitter forces you into following accounts that you aren’t particularly interested in, not to fear—you can unfollow them as soon as you finish the sign-up process. Note that after you follow ten accounts, you can “skip” following more with a small grey button at the bottom.

You’ll want to upload an avatar, or else present yourself to the world for the time being as a dashing and comely default egg avatar. And in your Twitter profile, it’d be a great idea to include the URL to your blog. That’s a great way for people to find their way to your site!

Your first tweet. What will it be? Anything you like. 😀

For funsies, here are our first tweets:

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 2.24.05 PM


Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 6.25.35 PM

(Turns out Tina had no idea there was a math community on Twitter for her first two years of tweeting. Now she only twitters with math teachers. 😀 )

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 8.29.45 PM

The next step in your mission will help you to get going further with Twitter, but if you’d like some further orientation on how math teachers can use it, there’s a great guide over at the weebly site. Here are just a few small thoughts that might be useful to you.

Different people use Twitter in different ways. You’ll find the way that works for you.

Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t reply to you. It may mean they are super busy and might not be checking their tweets a lot—Twitter is a funny combo of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Or it may be that they have a zillion followers and they get overwhelmed and they also have a mile-high stack of papers to grade. And sometimes, you know, they may just not have anything to say. Twitter’s a nutty, fragmented, free-for-all. Things get lost in the shuffle. But think of the insanity as a feature and not a bug, and please don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t respond to your tweets.

Since there are only 140 characters in a tweet, people sometimes write tersely, which can come across as very direct — but mainly that’s because of the lack of characters to type things like “oh wow, neato! one thing i was wondering is if…”. Often sentiments can get truncated. Tone can be tricky on Twitter, but practice helps and you can always ask for clarification. Also, don’t forget that you can always send multiple tweets if your thought needs more than 140 characters to be expressed.

For Twitter to really work, you are going to want to commit to trying it out for a week or more, and that means hanging out. If you just sign up, tweet the mission, and then sign out, you aren’t going to be having mini-discussions and reading other peoples’s mini-discussions! So for this week, at the very least, check your Twitter feed regularly! Write to people and reply to people! Toss out your random musings. Really give it a chance. See what it’s like —and we hope you’ll see what’s caused so many math teachers to fall in love with Twitter.

You might be tempted to make your Twitter account private/protected when starting out. This might provide you with a sense of security, but people can’t see what you tweet if you’re private. It’s a good idea when you’re first starting off and trying to find good people to interact with—and they’re trying to find you—that you should probably keep your account public. And in a while, when you have a good number of people to tweet with, then you can switch your account settings. Also, I’d say the majority of math teachers hearabouts have public profiles. Again, you’ll figure out what works for you

The advice on this page for getting started with Twitter is good to read if you’re still apprehensive. And if you think it will help, you can read the experiences of how some math teachers started out with Twitter here. But our hope is that with this flurry of people using twitter this week, you’re going to have a comfortable way to get involved. Jump in!

This is the cat picture.

This is the cat picture.

Step 1: The Mini-missions

So you’ve got a Twitter account, and you’re not afraid to use it. Fantastic. Below you’ll find a list of some mini-missions. Don’t dawdle, because they’ll self-destruct in three minutes. #jk You’ll engage with them as you wish—as many or as few of them as your schedule and taste admit—but here are two arbitrary goals for you that I just made up, one qualitative, one quantitative.

  1. Make sure you do at least one Twitter mini-mission that sounds superfun to you, and do a Twitter mini-mission that is outside of your comfort zone—that gets you to try something new.
  2. Pick a number between 5 and 10. Got it? Now double it. Add two. Cut it in half. Do at least that many mini-missions.

All right? All right. Let’s go.

Twitter Mini-missions:

  • If you’re new to Twitter, announce and introduce yourself in a tweet and include the hashtag #MTBoS. (Note that a hashtag it’s simply a tiny phrase included directly after a pound symbol in your tweet. That way if you want to see all tweets about the mathtwitterblogosphere, you can tell Twitter hey, find all tweets with #MTBoS in it and Twitter can show you all tweets with #MTBoS in it! At heart, it’s a search tool. There are hashtags for all sorts of things, but no need to worry about then now.
  • If you’ve done Twitter for a while, announce and introduce yourself in a tweet in a way that sheds some new light on who you are. Surprise us. Include #MTBoS.
  • Pick three people you follow, but with whom you haven’t interacted—recently or ever. Say hello and introduce yourself to them, beginning your tweet with @theirname.
  • Pick three people who follow you, but with whom you haven’t interacted—recently or ever. Say hello and introduce yourself to them, beginning your tweet with @theirname.
  • Open up the #MTBoS feed and peruse it. Retweet something that you find compelling.
  • Announce a blog post you’ve written, new or old. Include #MTBoS.
  • Share a blog post that you’ve read recently that blew you away. Include #MTBoS.
  • Share a question that’s been on you mind about your classroom practice. Include #MTBoS.
  • Take a photo of your chalk-or-smartboard, or of a piece of student work. Tweet it and include #MTBoS.
  • Share an online math resource you really love. Include #MTBoS.
  • Tweet something mundane about your life. Include #MTBoS!
  • #makeupawackyhashtagandtrytogetittocatchon.
  • Respond to a famous person or guru’s tweet.
  • Tweet a favorite quotation or fact about mathematics. #MTBoS it up.
  • Share something awesome about your day of teaching. #MTBoS.
  • Share something hard about your days of teaching. #MTBoS
  • Open up the #MTBoS feed and find some new tweeps to follow.
  • And while you’re there, send a reply to a few interesting tweets you see.
  • Tweet a tweet that’s exactly 140 characters long. #sosweet
  • Think of someone whose tweets you appreciate. On Friday, give them a #FF (Follow Friday) shoutout.

Step 2: The Blog Post

After you complete Step 1, you’ll have some new Twitter experiences under your belt. What better way to reflect on them than to blog about them? The interplay between the longer-form reflection and exposition of blogging and the rapid-fire conversation on Twitter is part of what makes the MTBoS tick.

Here are a few writing prompts that you might convert into a blog post.

  • Pick a tweet that you read and liked. Blog about what it made you think about.
  • Or maybe it wasn’t a single tweet, but a conversation you had. Blog about those ideas.
  • If you’re new to Twitter, what is something that has surprised you about it?
  • If you’re an experienced Twitter user, describe and reflect upon how you tend to use it.

Also, something worth noting about blogs is how to handle comments. In your blog’s Settings—perhaps under Discussion or Comments—you probably have several comment moderation options. This video explains it all. Moderating comments give you more control over what shows up on your blog—and not after the fact—but it can slow down conversation. Not moderating comments can let conversations proceed more naturally, but it may mean having to delete a little spam here and there. Just some thoughts for your consideration.

And speaking of comments…

Step 3: The Comment (Comment, Comment, Comment, Commet Chameleon)

Once you’ve written your Twitter-themed blog post, drop a comment at the bottom of this here Mission #2 post announcing it and offering it up for others to comment on. Also, you should tweet out your post on your Twitter account! Include #MTBoS.

Finally, just like last week, you’ll go comment on the blog posts of the three people who commented directly above you. You’re of course welcome to comment on any of the other blog posts, too, and we encourage you to browse the comments to see which posts sound most interesting to you. But, if you play along with this chain mail flashback, then everyone gets at least three comments on their blog—at their site, not a response to the comment here—and everyone likes comments. So please play nice!

Stay safe out there, agent. See you in the Twitterverse!


76 thoughts on “Mission #2: Twitter Me This

  1. Me: Jim Doherty
    Blog: http://mrdardy.wordpress.com
    Twitter: @mrdardy

    Just sent out my first ever tweet at Justin’s urging. Kind of combined goals above as my tweet directs folks to my newest blog post about a school visit for a professional day.

  2. Twitter Blog Post: http://pythagoraswasanerd.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/tweet-yo-self-mtbos-mission-2/
    Twitter handle: @stoodle

    Not new to the twitter-sphere, but quite new to the Math Teaching side of it.

  3. Just made my post: http://hermathness.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/mission-2-twitter-me-this/
    So much fun!! Thank you @jlanier, @jreulbach, @samjshah and everyone else who is running this.

    • Hey Ray, since your blog won’t allow me to reply in any other way but from my Google account which I really don’t use and have not properly set up, I’ll reply here. Nice blog post, I’m really going to have to get my act together and participate in one of these twitter chats one day!

  4. I’m going to cheat on this one and go to the well.

    I wrote this post based on a tweet from James Cleveland (@jacehan) in the summer. The summer. That oughta count for something.


    Also, I picked up on one of Christopher Danielson’s (@Trianglemancsd) interesting tweets and wrote this: http://reflectionsinthewhy.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/teaching-improper-decimals-using-ten-frames/

    Kinda related to his TDI.

    twitter: @ChrisHunter36

  5. MTBoS Mission #2 Blogpost Teaser: Dear Facebook, Our little fling is over. I’ve found something new….It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I need more than Candy Crush updates. I need to feel like I’m part of a bigger picture. A community….
    Read more at: http://unmuddlemath.blogspot.com/2013/10/mtbos-mission-2-twitter-me-this.html
    Twitter: @unmuddlemath

  6. What Would Neil deGrasse Tyson Do?

    New to Twitter, still testing the waters here, but got a new blog post, just the same.

  7. I guess Twitter isn’t as intimidating as I thought… hooray for learning new things!

  8. So, I have had a number of previously voiced concerns – both out to the interweb and in personal conversations. But tonight I send out a plea for help and get a lovely, helpful response in minutes from someone with whom I have never conversed. I think I may be a convert. I’ll have to take back my previous grumblings.

    Thanks for the push, Justin and MTBoS crew

  9. My short post about me trying something new with Twitter. http://wp.me/p28vhF-3v

  10. Twitter @d_hazelton

    #MTBoS mission #2: Confessions of a Twitter-Stalker http://wp.me/p3Z7Hx-m

  11. Twitter: @lsquared76

    #MTBoS mission 2, working through my homework and effort issues with my seniors in calculus: http://wp.me/p3OxkP-6k

  12. Kevin Cunningham


    New post on handling all of the ideas on twitter and the blogosphere:

  13. So I’m Cav, (@srcav on Twitter). I blog at http://cavmaths.WordPress.com and my blog in relation to mission two is here: http://wp.me/p2z9Lp-52

    A Snippet: “..it turns out that quote a few people did already know about it and teach it this way. I’ve never encountered this method before….”

  14. “I want to read everything written about teaching math and absorb it all and redo all my lesson plans!” but yikes! How do you find the time?? Read my response to my first week with Twitter: http://algebrasfriend.blogspot.com/2013/10/twitter-me-this-how-do-you-get-anything.html

  15. Heidi here… This should take you to my blog where I talk about this week’s mission: http://www.crazymathworld.blogspot.com/
    My Twitter handle is @heighdeigh99

  16. I’m Andrew Shauver. My Twitter handle is @hs_math_phys and I chose to blog about how #MTBoS model applied nicely to activate some Twitter-based student-to-student math discourse. Check it out at http://wp.me/p1AxHx-iF

  17. Megan Schmidt @veganmathbeagle
    Wrote some really HEARTFELT STUFF about how my brother’s twitter jokes opened a whole new twitter world.

  18. Val Barsevich
    Just posted my thoughts on Mission #2 in my blog: http://sixthgrademathdodge.blogspot.com/
    Anyone else besides me feeling a little lost and overwhelmed in this new adventure?

    • Wouldn’t let me comment on your post without a google+ acct even though I do blogger and google…Anyway, I am also overwhelmed a bit, but have really made some great connections via Twitter. Like you, I am “alone” at my school, but I am the only math teacher at my middle school! Twitter is a great place to get connected and find resources. Just take it slow!

    • Couldn’t manage to leave a comment on your blog so will comment here instead. Twitter can be a little overwhelming at times. I think the chats are great ways to connect. I’ve found #mathscpdchat particularly helpful. Will look for you on twitter now.

  19. My week 2 blog post follows a twitter chat about supporting less mathematically able children. #mathscpdchat takes place very Tuesday evening 7-8 pm (BST) and is always a source of good ideas.
    My blog is at http://supportingmaths.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/less-is-more-supporting-less-mathematically-able-children/

  20. Mission 2 complete! Some thoughts and rambling on the experience (plus picture of food) here! http://mathishappeningnow.blogspot.com/2013/10/exploring-twitter.html

  21. Mission #2….done. How I “met” one of the Twitter rock stars–Fawn Nguyen! http://growingmathematicalminds.blogspot.ca/2013/10/explore-mtbos-mission-2-twitter-me-this.html

  22. Just finished Misson #2: Reflected on Tweeting and where it has taken me. http://palmersponderings207.blogspot.com/

  23. Week 2 of #MTBoS http://www.brandonbarrette.com/blog/ The joys of iPad + Notability + Twitter. Follow me @mr_barrette

  24. After lots of Twitter this week, I took some time to reflect this evening. Thanks for all the fun missions!


    And to the three of you before me, I’ll probably have to wait to read and comment on your blogs tomorrow (Sunday).

  25. Gregory Taylor (@mathtans)
    “The Art of the Unfollow” is here:
    “I’m going to use this post (and Twitter) to explain the following phrase: Your plans will not always be successful.”

  26. Nik (@nik_d_maths)


    “It has helped change the way I collaborate, communicate and develop as a teacher. It has connected me with so many people I now consider among my best friends. It has given me an outlet for passion, frustration, failure and success. And yes; I do see tweets about people’s breakfast/lunch/dinner/shopping trip/child/pet/anything else that happens to be going on in their lives. And that’s ok”

  27. I have thoroughly enjoyed this task! Finding out that there are good math teachers, that we all care deeply about what we do, and that everybody is so very helpful makes me proud to be a teacher. I’ve rattled on a bit in my blog ( http://wp.me/p3V9nx-3v ) about SBG and #MTBoS and some of the great resources others have shared with me on this subject. If it were Friday still, I’d give a big #FF to them all! (I feel like I am speaking a new version of pig Latin! Lol)

  28. Heather Kohn (@heather_kohn)

    For the Week 2 Challenge, I wrote about how my tweeps came through for me with awesome graphing calculator resources!

  29. @rtstadt

    My response to Mission #2 is here: http://bit.ly/1i6meqd

  30. Oh, no, Mission #3 is out so I’d better finish #2. Here’s a link to my blogpost on reactions to twitter: http://allrealnumbers.edublogs.org/?p=47

  31. I’ve been on holiday so I’m a little late to the party with my blog but better late than never: http://wp.me/p40fOj-W
    I was really challenged by the mission this week! Hope you enjoy…

  32. I agree better late than never:) Posted my blog yesterday, but have been working on the Twitter interaction all week. You can read here my experience http://faithhopeandmath.blogspot.com/2013/10/mtbos-and-twitter-changing-teaching-one.html
    I have to find a way to balance my need to interact on Twitter and also to keep track of the precious time needed for everything else.

  33. Hello fellow math magicians. I’m a little late but I’ve just completed my blog post, ingeniously dubbed “Twitter” for the second mission. You can find it at the link below- in a nutshell it is a meandering two paragraphs reflecting about what I’ve learned about Twitter and how I can see it changing the quality of my instruction.


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