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How to Use Twitter -
an easy guide for ESL learners

4 reasons to tweet!

  1. improve your English one line at a time

  2. chat with English friends and teachers around the world

  3. receive quick updates on new EnglishClub resources

  4. Share your MyEC Status updates and blog posts with the world

Note: special words and Twitter "lingo" here

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social network (SN). Other popular social networks are Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. People use social networks to share thoughts and information over the Internet or mobile phone. Twitter is a social network that is easy to use for English learners. Many learners complain that using English online is tiring. On Twitter, you only read and write one line of English at a time. This is why users call Twitter a microblog. Each time you visit the site you answer the same question: "What's happening?" (On MyEC your update question is "What's new?") In the language of Twitter, your answer is a tweet.

How do I join Twitter?

Twitter home page
  1. Go to www.twitter.com.
  2. Click on: Join or Sign up
  3. Follow the steps to create a free Twitter account.
  4. Choose your own username (ours is englishclub).
  5. Choose your own password. You must type 6 letters or numbers.
  6. Type in your email address.
  7. Prove you are a human (type the letters you see in the word verification box).
  8. Accept the terms (Twitter users must be at least 13 years old). That's it!

How do I use Twitter?

Create a profile

Now that you are a member, it's time to personalize your Twitter page.

  1. Log in at www.twitter.com (enter your username and password).
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Add a picture (700K maximum) of yourself (or a character or logo). Click on browse and choose a photo from your computer.
  4. Fill out the information in the boxes. If you don't have a website, you can use EnglishClub.com or another favourite.
  5. In the bio section add one or two lines about yourself. You can write in point form.

Example bio:

  • ESL student studying in Japan. Looking for other ESL students to connect with. Love videogames and ice cream.

Start tweeting

Log in at www.twitter.com and type your first tweet. Remember, the question is always: "What's happening?". Write one or two short sentences. If you write too much you will have to delete part of your message. You will see a number decreasing as you write. This will show how many letters you can still type. When you see "-1", that means you wrote too much. You get the same warning if your MyEC status update is too long.


Example tweets:

  • I'm looking for ESL friends on twitter.

  • I want to start an English Club in Toronto.

  • I'm studying for the TOEFL.

  • Thinking about what to eat for dinner...any good recipes to share?

  • My boyfriend and I just got home from the movies. The new Bond was boring.

twitter follows

FOLLOW people

Now you need to make some Twitter friends. Start by FOLLOWING EnglishClub. When you find EnglishClub, click FOLLOW underneath our logo. EnglishClub will get a message that you are FOLLOWING us. Soon you will start seeing our updates (tweets) on your page.

Look for others to FOLLOW. Do any of your English learning friends use Twitter? What about family members or people you work with? If not, send them an email and invite them to join.

Example invite:

Sender: mia@yahoo.com
Recipient: shinobu@yahoo.com
Subject: Join Twitter with me

Hi Shionobu,
Do you want to practise English with me? Follow me! Join Twitter. Go to www.twitter.com. It's easy. Here's a link to help: www.englishclub.com/twitter

Your friend,

On your Twitter homepage you will see a sidebar on the right hand side. You will see the words following and followers. Under each there will be a number. Each time you go to a person's Twitter page and click FOLLOW your following number will increase. Each time a person FOLLOWS you, your followers number will increase.

Search Twitter

Use the Search button at the bottom of your twitter page to follow more people. Look for people you want to network with. Type anything you want in the search box.

Example searches:
  • esl
  • esl students
  • english teacher
  • grammar
  • listening practice
  • japan
  • cosmetics
  • flu

Reply and Retweets

When you see an interesting tweet reply to it. When you click reply you will see @username (@englishclub) in the text box. Type your reply. For example, your friend Shinobu writes: I'm taking the TOEFL tomorrow!

Example reply:

  • @shinobu Good luck on the TOEFL test!

People will reply to you too. Each time you log in, click on @replies in your sidebar to view your messages. To reply back put your mouse over the tweet until you see the curving arrow. You will see the words "reply". Click here and start your reply. Beside the word "reply" you will see the word "retweet". When you "retweet" something that means you like it. Your "retweet" will be sent as a status update from your account. Anyone who follows you will see it.

twitter reply

Share a link

Use Twitter to share links, such as your favourite online English lesson. We use Twitter to update ESL students and teachers about new pages at EnglishClub. You can shorten a link at tinyurl.com. If you don't shorten it, Twitter will shorten it for you. (Don't be surprised when your link looks different.)

Example link share:

  • I just tried these dictations at englishclub: http://tiny.cc/sT9Da

Send a Direct Message

To send a private reply or message, use the Direct Message function. Only you and the recipient will see these messages. Direct Messages will also go to the recipient's email address.

Personalize your Settings

You can change the look of your Twitter page. We use our EnglishClub.com logo as a background image. You can use your own picture or favourite background.

  1. Log in to Twitter.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Click on Designs.
  4. Choose a twitter background or upload your own.

Make more English friends by sharing your status updates (and blog posts) on MyEC and Twitter at the same time. Here's a simple guide.

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