The Day Twitter Followers Made Me “Wash My Mouth Out With Soap”

What can I say?

Well apparently I said a lot more than people have come to expect from my mouth – as you can see from what’s been said in my twitter account!


While some of my followers were a tad offended by my tweets — some actually enjoyed these more than my normal ones plus some choose to follow me!

I’m comforted to know that I wasn’t alone in this – it was happening around the World – even Jeff Utecht and Leonard Low joined me.  Though it looks like my mouth was considerably naughtier than theirs.

Leonard even apologized.


Thankfully my mate Darren Draper came to the rescue, providing a link to the twitter blog post on what had happened.

Twitter was testing a new application server tonight that didn’t work right so they rolled it back. While many people saw the error page other people experienced a more dramatic error which had them accidentally updating other people’s Twitter. Apparently some reported every time they refreshed the page they had another twitter account.

This twitter appears to have enjoyed himself – saying “I posted as 150 different random people on Twitter. It was pretty amazing”.

Meanwhile I was totally oblivious to my twitter antics – which I discovered 2 hours later when I returned to my computer.  The hacking of our accounts was very short lived – stopped immediately Twitter realised the problem – but it did give me a massive panic attack at the thought of my online accounts being hacked.

Glad I use TweetScan tracking to alert me when people twitter my name.

Oh NO! Is Your Scanner Down And You Didn’t Realise?

I use TweetScan all the time to effectively manage conversations in Twitter that I want to track e.g. replies to my twitter name dswaters and any other variations people have used e.g. suewaters and tags like Edublogs.

With the number of people I follow I need TweetScan as my eyes and ears. By subscribing to the RSS feed for the tracking term using my feed reader I’m notified through Google Reader whenever anyone, anywhere, tweeters that term.

Unfortunately – DUH – I have had a bit of a delay in realising that TweetScan stopped scanning 36 hours ago and I wasn’t receiving the updates.

Not to fear! I just changed over to another twitter tracking tool – Terraminds – added these the RSS feeds for my terms to my Twitter folder in Google Reader and programming has now recommenced.

Here is how I subscribed to TweetScan using my Google Reader. You use the same procedure for Terraminds.


Here are some of my other tips for Getting More Out of Twitter.


Proof – it is possible for me to quickly write a post, one handed, while drying my hair, with 2 kids fighting in the background, while drinking a glass of water!

If you aren’t tracking tag terms in twitter I strongly recommend you try it out.

Tagging, Tracking and Using RSS with Twitter!

Beth Kanter and Amy Gahran have been discussing their use of twitter has meant they are less inclined to social bookmark items using While twitter offers immediate gratification and connection with people plus heads-up of latest news/resources it is less ideal for retrieval and sharing at later dates.

Beth thoughts are:

  • If we add tags to Twitter we have a merge between object sharing and people sharing. What’s nice it is that with social booking sites like, it is difficult to know who has shared the item unless their account is appropriate marked. This combination of tagging and tweets gives you both.
  • She is hoping that those nptechers on twitter might adopt using hashtags and share information this way however she can’t figure out how to subscribe to the RSS feed for #nptech at hashtags.

My thoughts, after spending considerable time previously investigating how to get more out of using twitter, would be to use TweetScan rather than hashtags. TweetScan locates all tweets, by any twitter user, that include the term you use (thanks Alan Levine for telling me about TweetScan). With TweetScan you can choose to:

  1. Subscribe to the RSS feed for the tracking term using your feed reader
  2. or join TweetScan and have the search results email to your daily or weekly. Via email can use up to 5 search terms.

I use TweetScan for tracking people’s replies to my twitter name dswaters and any other variations people have used e.g. suewaters. However TweetScan is just as useful for tags like nptech.

To work effectively with a group, you would need to ask all twitters to use the required tag term within their tweet and teach them how to effectively subscribe to the RSS feed.



This is my solution for Beth. Do you have a better recommendation for her? Or are there other Twitter tools that she should also consider using?

Getting More Out of Twitter

Regardless of whether you are into Twitter or not, most people will acknowledge it has been the killer application for 2007. For such a simple application, Twitter has many layers, and it was overwhelming me thankfully my readers helped me out yesterday to get my Twitter magic back.

Martin Weller highlighted that effective management of twitter lies with:

  1. Processes i.e. how many people you choose to follow, how you choose who to follow and your purpose for using twitter
  2. Technical i.e. the tools you use to manage twitter


It is really important to decide, when you are starting out with twitter, why and how you want to use it (for ideas read Chris Brogan’s Twitter Revisited post and Beth Kanter’s Twitter tips for Non Profits post). How many people you follow will be influenced to some extent by how you want to use twitter. Chris Brogan, who follows close to 2,500 people makes, an excellent point:

Don’t look at Twitter as a great conversation place, especially once you have a lot of friends. Look at it as an idea bank, a place to gather information or think of new things, or see what your friends are doing.

Most comments on my post by my readers indicated that they prefer to limit their numbers of followers and be selective on who they add.

Brian C. Smith said “he tries to limit who I follow to around 150 people based Gladwell’s Tipping Point The Magic Number 150 (research suggests an individual can only have genuine social relationships with 150 people. Groups larger than 150 are prone to fragmentation, and it is often best for the group’s health that it split) and the fact that I find it simply too hard to filter from too many folks”.

Howard tips are:

  1. Rather than follow everyone in a network, select particular people in a network who are well connected with people/areas with which you are interested e.g. I choose not to follow everyone I think is important in education in the World but to pick the eyes out of the network choosing individuals who look interesting.
  2. Selectively filtering followers e.g. selecting tweeters who extend my thinking and feeling versus those who just provide online bubble-wrap/filler

Alan Levine says “he fails to reciprocate on about 95% of the following notifications I get, and only nab the ones for people I know. Maybe every few months, I go in an prune the accounts where there have not been updates in a long time”.

Susan Morgan told me her “solution is to follow people who follow me AND tend to provide good resources instead of chatter. It’s fun to get to know people, but I didn’t have time to go back through pages of tweets each morning either. If it’s important, I’ll see it somewhere!” Check out Susan’s post for more information on how she uses twitter.

They all reminded me that I needed to make the shift to accepting that I will miss some of the conversation as Martin Weller said “like blog posts – you know you can’t read them all, but accept that you’ll get enough of the overall conversation”.


What tools, and how you use them, impacts greatly on how effectively you will interact with Twitter. This was part of my problem — I was not using the best tools for managing twitter how I wanted to i.e. maximising conversation and effectively accessing overnight twitters.


Warlach suggested that Snitter would probably help and he was right. You will need to download and install both Adobe Air beta 3 and Snitter Alpha but it is definitely worth it. I have used Google Talk, Twitterific, Tweetbar, the Twitter web interface and Snitter is the absolute best of them (perhaps some may say too good because I have been very prolific on Twitter today). Thanks Warlach!

Bookmark Toolbar

John Pederson told me how to use the bookmark toolbar on Firefox and Safari for faster reading of overnight tweets. Excellent idea providing a quick and fast solution.

John said “set up a folder on that toolbar called “Twitter”. Inside that folder bookmark the twitter pages e.g. Twitter1 for home, then go one page “older” in Twitter and bookmark that, calling it “Twitter1″. Continue doing that until you get to “Twitter10″. Then when you want to quickly scan back through all pages go to the Twitter folder and click on open all in Tabs.


As John points out you can’t go back more than 10 pages by pressing on older at the bottom of your twitter page but if you ever want to go back further just type the page number in the URL (tip courtesy of Darren Draper) — interesting though you use to be able to use this to go back through your entire history but this is not possible at the moment.


Tracking Feature

Martin asks if hashtags may be useful however the tracking feature of Twitter may be the better option.

track twitter

Twitter tracking works by setting it up so that anytime someone sends a tweet containing the keyword you want to track it is sent to your IM client.

So I have set up Twitter to notify me of messages to Google Talk and have switched all the people I follow to notify off (because these tweets are already being sent to Snitter). Then to track a term I click on Twitter in Google talk then type track and the term I want to track e.g. people often use suewaters instead of my twitter name dswaters.

Mobile Web

I use to interface with twitter on my PDA.


There is sooo much to twitter that I am bound to have missed tips. Here is a couple that didn’t fit in the above categories. Gigicolo comment that “I wonder if any programmer is trying to develop an application as I can listen (Yes LISTEN) the twitt while I am driving!” was a good one. Can’t support Kevin’s solution of new twitter accounts because I would lose mine.

Please feel free to provide further tips.

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider subscribing for free.

Help Me Get My Twitter Magic Back!

Twitter loveLately I am feeling like I have lost the Twitter love. Life was fine when I was only following 150 people but now past 200 I am finding it hard to ensure I don’t miss the important conversations.

Twitter is a very important source for the latest news within our networks — look at the impact on Michele’s quick post as a result of twitter. If you have not got into Twitter and are wondering what all the fuss is about I suggest you listen to this podcast or read the transcript of the podcast.

The trouble is there is a minefield of applications and ways you can use Twitter but not necessarily any quick tips on getting more out of using Twitter. Trust me — I have been looking for the solution to managing my twitter account more effectively with no luck.

SO I am hoping my readers will share their tips on getting more out of Twitter so we can all benefit. I want my Twitter magic back!

Here is where I am at so far:

Prefer Twitter Web Interface

I use Gtalk for twitter notifications but mainly read directly through my twitter web page. Have also added a Twitter gadget to my iGoogle homepage which is really cool except that is only shows the last 20 tweets.

Tried RSS into Google Reader

Overnight twittering is important to me because this is when a lot of important news is shared. Subscribing to my RSS feed using Google Reader is okay except it doesn’t feed through all tweets i.e. doesn’t include tweets from locked Twitter account.

So my solution has been to:

  • Scroll back through my twitter pages which is a slow process
  • Check my replies pages for any tweets directly specifically at me


So what are your thoughts? I don’t want to have to start limiting my followers, or removing followers.

What are your tips for using Twitter more effectively?

Petrol Prices According To Twitter

302602610_6790b857c5_m.jpgFor those into twitter you will already know about the amazing conversations and sometimes it is just good plain fun to learn more about where other people live. Photo by phxpma.

So today when Kristin Hokanson twittered:

at almost $3 a gal cost almost $70 to fill tank…was REALLY running on fumes got me thinking tho…what’s gas cost these days where u r?

I just had to do some research — using Twitter off course!

Price of Petrol Here

We currently pay AUD142.50 cents per litre (US$4.73/gal) in Perth, Western Australia. Here petrol retailers are required to notify their next day’s retail price for each fuel type by 2pm to Fuel Watch. Price boards and bowser prices are changed by the retailer at 6am and remain unchanged for 24-hours. They incur large fines if they alter their fuel prices from what they submitted to Fuel Watch.

So here is what I have discovered for other parts of the World so far:

  • cpbw $4.76/gal for cheapest low-grade in Canada
  • Leah Jones I think it is over $3/gallon in Chicago, most expensive in country last I heard
  • dmcordell in upstate NY gas is $3.19 to $3.29 per gallon; cheaper in New England states because their taxes are lower
  • cogdog – national average in US is about $3.05/gal, quite variable– I paid last about $3.13.
  • pjhiggins paying $3.39 for diesel. Anyone know of biodiesel dealer in Northern NJ?
  • paulhami Petrol is $1.09 per litre where I live in Canada. That’s AUD$1.23/l, US$4.12/US gallon, AUD$4.66/gal
  • LittleLaura Hi Sue, would love to see your petrol results, are we the most expensive here in the UK? Our garage is £1.06 per litre! which equals US$8.14/gal
  • Skytrystsjoy Brisbane petrol AUD$1.18/l which equals US$3.93/gal
  • lenva NZ petrol is $1.70 per litre which equals US$5.01/gal

Please note I used US dollars and gallons because Kristin started the discussion and I just followed up with more research. This is the currency calculator I used for the conversions.

What It All Means

So far the UK is the most expensive for petrol but New Zealanders, Canadians and Western Australians are paying considerably more for their petrol than Americans. We also argued that most British don’t travel far by car — I travel 70 km (44.4 miles) return to work.


Okay not my normal sort of blog post but, like twitter, blogging doesn’t always have to be focused just on getting the work done. Also twitter conversations are lost if you don’t record them.

So what are petrol prices like where you live? Maybe we should compare prices of Big Mac meals next?

Are You Using Twitter Effectively For Your Personal Learning?

twitterBack in August I wrote a post titled Is Twitter shifting blogging to a new phase? I have decided to take it back!!!! Not only is twitter totally shifting blogging into a new phase but it is also changing the nature of our conversations and is incredibly important for our personal learning.

If you are not using twitter and wondering why any one would like to know “What you are doing?” well while you are going this is a Web 2.0 tool I don’t need to know about there are amazing conversations happening in the twitter networks that are important!

So what astonishing events was I involved with today as a result of my twitter universe?

Well there was so many — here are a few just from this morning!

Social Software07 PD

Woke up early with my Thursday morning dose of Social Software in the Classroom Open PD session. Where I was transported into a classroom in Utah, USA which is being taught by Darren Draper and Robin Ellis (who is in Pennsylvania) and we were joined other educators around the World.

I have absolutely enjoyed attending these sessions — so many highlights but here are a few:

  • Technology wise — how loved seeing Skype and Yugma (free online virtual classroom) used for delivering these sessions. Worked so well!
  • Conversations — many of us are all in these sessions while doing our other commitments so we get an insight into each others lives. E.g. loved how Kristin was participating while braiding her daughter’s hair. While we were on a break her kids were asking me about my strange accents and if I see kangaroos in our city streets — answer yes! Although I did not mention that occasionally cars hit them on our freeway (might have been too much information for that age!)


While in Darren’s social software session I quickly jumped into Leigh Blackall’s keynote address for Navcon2K (NSW, Australia) thanks to Judy O’Connell providing us with twitter updates on the presentation.

Apparently Leigh said “that we ‘caught him out’ – he was surprised” but Judy said “it was cool to see his reaction.” And how did we catch him out — well he asked for questions so Judy twittered it and I responded. He was spun out that global learners were trying to ‘listen in’ – and we had asked a question to him that fit with the keynote!!

Message to all presenters and conferences — we are using twitter and are live blogging!!!

  • Organisers of Conferences — you must provide free wireless access or your attendees won’t be happy! And I would strongly recommend that you set up a conference twitter account to keep participants updated with latest news!
  • Presenters be warned! You are no longer just presenting to the audience in the room you are now presenting to a global audience — yesterday Rachael Boyd invited me through Twitter into Ewan McIntosh’s key note for Ulearn using Skype.

Off to the Pub!

Finally with all the hard work from Darren’s session it was time for a drink so where else should I go but to a pub somewhere in USA with Will Richardson, Steve Dembo and David Jakes being broadcast live via uStream.

Like everyone else I was totally blown away by the quality of the live feed considering they were in a pub on wireless. Incredible! Would love to tell you about the amazing conversations but oops I was paying attention to how powerful uStream could be as a tool!



Today I gained so much from Twitter — and all this happen from my house in Western Australia — great conversations, saw great tools in action and participated in conferences virtually. Thanks to everyone in my twitter network for helping me with my personal learning! If you are in twitter and not using it much — I suggest you rethink it! There is a massive party going on and you don’t even realise it!

So what are your thoughts on twitter? Are you using it? And if you are, how has it changed your life?

Is Twitter shifting blogging to a new phase?


1. twittervision, 2. Twitter Meta Moo! too far?, 3. Twitter via Blackberry, 4. Twitter Firefox Search Extension

While going through my comments history of my blog to select old time readers for Day 6: Email an old Timer reader of the Blogging Challenge I realised that social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are shifting the nature of blogging to a whole new phase. Why – because many of the people whose blogs I read or who leave comments on my site are interacting with me in Twitter and/or Facebook; and they are doing the same with their readers.

This means I communicate with many of them, in some form, on a daily basis so to actually email an old time reader and thank them is ……?

I asked the Twitterers their thoughts on if blogging shifting to a new phase

Here are comments by different people:

  • Twitter forms more connecting relationships as most times you get an instant reply and is more conducive to have a conversation rather than comments on a blog
  • The first people I added to my Twitter account were people whose blogs I read; I comment on blogs to blog posts, twitter to twitter posts; more likely to check out blogs more closely than reading in reader after following the blogger on twitter
  • Twitter has made me closer to people I’m friends with online (most met through blogging)
  • To some extent the blogging relationship for me has changed as a result of twitter
  • Sometimes I’ll push a link into twitter if I think it may interest my twitter friends who I don’t think subscribe to my blog. I blog less and I think my twitter friends do also now because of twitter. I try to comment directly on posts, rather than to the author via twitter if I think something is particularly good or worth commenting…but will you twitter to discuss third party’s posts…which may well have previously gone on my blog or theirs.
  • There is more connection with twitter
  • Not overall – not many twitterers compared to blog readers. But some are changing this and my tweet list is mainly my blog list! I think we are creating a change. Same question in 6 months will have a different answer
  • People are becoming aware of my blog through twitter

How it has impact on me

Twitter and Facebook has created more connection with my readers and subscribers to my podcast but in doing so I feel that I have become less inclined to comment on their really good posts. It is like I am taking my friends for granted – and expected them to realise that I think they are fantastic. Sorry every one!!

Here is my explanation of why I am:

What are your thoughts?

BTW in case you are wondering if I have failed the Blogging challenge task – nope – have emailed a few old timer readers 🙂 Remember to read Darren’s post on Day 6: Email an old Timer reader.

Do you believe blogging is entering a new phase? And if so, how will this impact on the different types of bloggers?

Twittering the day away

Well thanks to the help from friends, I have started “to get” Twitter . Thanks especially to Kate, Alex and Sean. We all know I needed another addiction – twitteraholic?

One criteria that I have mentioned in the past is the more intuitive an application the more likely I will use it – i.e. if I can work out what to do without wanting to read instructions on “how to” then it passes this test. Unfortunately with Twitter , for me, they made the site so simplistic and uncluttered (with very little information on the site) that it actually made it less intuitive and less obvious for me to work out what I could do with it.

Any way one of the most impressive aspects of Twitter is the fact that you can set it up (Go to Settings>Notifications) so that if any of your friends twitters it is sent immediately to your IM service – in my case this means they immediately appear in Google Talk. I can also type my own twitter or response in Google Talk instead of going to my twitter page.

Okay – so that does not appear such a big deal – but it is if you want to sent the same message very quickly instantly to a large number of people. For example: you have set up your Learnscope project. Trained all your participants on how to use Google Talk and are making them using Google Talk for communication. All you need to do is set up a Twitter account for your project e.g. Learnscope07, get all your participants to set up a twitter account and change their setting notification to Google Talk. As the manager of the project you could log into Twitter as Learnscope07 and send mass IM to all participants via Google Talk without any fuss.

Thankfully Alex educated me on the fact you could actually really personalise your twitter site – by showing me examples of sites. So I immediately twittered “I did not realise that you could set up your twitter page to look cool – thanks Alex – I will have to think about coolness now”. Kate immediately responded with a link to read about coolness is not always cool.

So after my education I have gone for pretty is better than cool:


And final point I don’t know why I tried to Google information on “how to” use twitter. I was looking at the answers the whole time – Help section!!!!


BTW I did get work done as well today – have finally finished the section on “how to create audio podcasts“.

Giving it a try!

In my post on the Fickleness of Consumers and its implications I talked about the “Word of Mouth” by one of the most powerful reasons why I will give a Web 2.0 application a try. If I hear enough noise (e.g. people talking about them on blogs) I will give it a go – even if I can not immediately perceive a benefit.

There are lots of Web 2.0 applications that I just “didn’t get” when I first started using them (e.g. flickr,, blogging, wikis) – many of these it has taken me a year “to get them.” However it was worth persisting because once I understood how to use them effectively – WOW they are great!!!

If enough people, who I follow, are using an application they must “get” what I still need “to get”. So currently the two Web 2.0 applications that I am going to persist with are:

1. Twitter

If you want to read a post that has great information on Twitter read This Twittering Life by ELT Notes. If you want to try out Twitter you can follow me at Although I don’t “get” twitter yet I must admit it is pretty cool how twitters from my friends can be set to forward to my GoogleTalk account.

2. Facebook

If you want to learn more about why Facebook may end up being more important to us than we realise check out Facebook’s new face by David Kirkpatrick. If you want to join me in Facebook you will find me as Sue Waters.

Thankfully a couple of my students that are into Facebook are trying to educate me. Sorry to all my friends in Facebook who are receiving invites but my students keep sharing Facebook applications – if they find them cool they must be?

Final thought

Lets hope the people who I follow (Sean, Darren, Kathryn, Vicki, Kate, Jacinta, Stephen) that are using these applications are actually getting them …. because I am hoping that the Wisdom of Crowds is going to help me here.

Maybe I just Got TWITTER hehehe

Just wrote a message in Twitter about “Writing a blog post about trying to get Twitter and Facebook”. Kate instantly sent the following message back to Twitter which was delivered to my GoogleTalk before I have even finished the post. Her was her twitter back.


My answer is I have no idea. I could not get it working initially either. I know I installed two versions of Twitter application into Facebook by accident. One works and one doesn’t. It was also annoying me that Sean could easily post from Facebook into Twitter and I couldn’t.