Tweet Travels

This morning, while enjoying my second cup of coffee, I saw a tweet from Kim McBrien in Canada (@indigodragonfly on Twitter). She wanted to show her students how far a message can travel on Twitter. The way her message spread throughout Twitter provides a great example of how retweeting works, and why hashtags matter.

First, hashtags. Kim wasn’t in my Twitter network until this morning, but because someone added the #edchat hashtag to her original message, I saw it (I have a column for #edchat on Tweetdeck). Then, Kim included a unique hashtag to mark her own message: #artscouncilhaliburtonhighlands. This allowed her to keep track of all of the messages labeled with this hashtag. It’s like attaching a homing device to your tweet–you can always find it by searching for the hashtag.

Second, Kim asked people to retweet her message. Most people will retweet, if asked.

Throughout the day, I noticed the same message moving through my own network, and into new networks. I became interested in mind mapping after Hobie Swan wrote a guest post about the topic on this blog, so thought I’d try to show the tweet’s progression graphically.

The tweet is still going strong around the world, so this map is already outdated. But, it’s an easy way to see how retweeting works in Twitter.

My network is just one small branch of this tweet’s path. Just glancing through replies, I’ve counted replies from members from coast to coast in the US, and from a couple of dozen additional countries. This was for a class project. Imagine if you had a question about teaching, or materials, resources, or tools. The same power that sent a simple request around the world is available for you, too.

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