SMUG Twitter Group

As part of our ongoing exploration of Twitter, I’ve formed a couple of new outposts to explore ways to enable SMUGgles to get to know each other and interact.

The first is a Social Media University, Global (SMUG) Twitter Group, on the TwitterGroups site. The user interface reminds me a bit of Craigslist, and it seemed kind of odd that although I’m the group creator, when I went there today it gave me the “Join Group” option instead of knowing that I am a member.


So, I joined again. Now I’m on the list.


I hope you’ll join too, so we can explore together and see whether this service is worthwhile.

That’s part of the idea of SMUG: Get hands-on experience with social media tools, so you can see whether they make sense for you to use in your own business or non-profit organization.

So if you post tweets about it, use the #smug hashtag, and we’ll see if they get pulled into the group.

I’ll be interested to see what you think!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Twitter 102: Creating an Account

This slidecast is part of the Twitter curriculum at Social Media University, Global. It takes you step-by-step through the process of creating your Twitter account.

Below is a narrated slidecast from If you like, you can click this link to open another browser window at the Twitter home page, and then come back to this window and start the slidecast. Hit the “pause” button whenever you’d like, and go back to the other window and do your own Twitter signup.

Creating an account in Twitter really isn’t that hard, but if you’re just starting I thought having this step-by-step illustration might be helpful.


  1. Create your Twitter account.
  2. Follow me on these two Twitter accounts, @LeeAase and @SMUG_U. I’ll follow you back. And that will enable us to create a much more interactive community of SMUGgles as we learn about Twitter together.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Twitter 111: Twitter Badge on – Showing Tweets

In response to this post about how you can put a “Follow Me” Twitter badge on your blog, budgallant says:

that’s interesting, but definitely not at alternative to actually displaying the twitter updates…. what is up with wordpress? do they have a bias against twitter?

It’s not an anti-Twitter thing; it’s about stripping any javascript that you attempt to paste into one of its widgets. They say it’s a security measure, and I’ll take them at their word. I suppose if you have several million blogs on one server domain, you don’t want one with malicious code to bring the whole platform down. So the easy way out is to not allow anything but straight HTML in sidebar widgets.

Thankfully, there is a way around the problem, that lets you both have a badge people can click to follow you, and also display your latest Tweets.


You do the first part by following the instructions I had in the previous post.

Putting the latest Tweets in is actually easier, because Twitter provides an RSS feed that you can pull into an RSS widget in

Continue reading “Twitter 111: Twitter Badge on – Showing Tweets”

RAQ: What is the # in Twitter?

Ryan Link, a SMUGgle from Virginia, asks…

What does it mean/do when a word on Twitter is preceded by a #?

Answer: The # is called a hashtag, and is described in detail on the Twitter fan wiki.

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.

Hashtags were developed as a means to create “groupings” on Twitter, without having to change the basic service. The hash symbol is a convention borrowed primarily from IRC channels, and later from Jaiku’s channels. provides real-time tracking of Twitter hashtags. Opt-in by following @hashtags (on Twitter) to have your hashtags tracked. Similarly, Twemes offers real-time tracking without the necessity of following a specific Twitter account. Also, with their purchase of Summize, Twitter itself now offers some support of hashtags at their search engine:

See the Twitter fan wiki for more details on how to use hashtags, as well as some examples.

Hashtags are especially useful for conferences, meetings or events, to enable you (and others) to follow specific topics. During the recent election in the U.S., a special site was established that filtered all Tweets with the tags #obama, #mccain, #palin or #biden. This enabled a conversation among people who weren’t following each other. The same thing happened with the #mumbai terrorist attacks.

On a less global scale, if you have a conference or seminar and want to engage the participants (instead of having them be “the audience”) you could create a hashtag and encourage everyone to use it. It’s a great way to gather feedback from everyone in the room. Instead of standalone audience response devices, you could just ask people to tweet from their cell phones, wifi-enabled laptops, Blackberrys or iPhones.

And instead of just gathering feedback, you’re actually enabling your participants to interact with and build upon each other’s ideas. It could have an undesirable snowball effect if a tough crowd gangs up on a speaker (see this example involving Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg being interviewed at a conference), but the the positive potential also is great.

So you can be proactive and enable this kind of discussion at your meetings, and hopefully steer it in a positive direction, or you can be oblivious. I recommend the non-oblivious strategy.

Thanks for your question, Ryan.

To submit an RAQ (that’s a Recently Asked Question), just comment on any post or send me an email (see the Contact the Chancellor box at right.)

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine