Tag Archives: Twitter

Have you got a handle on it? Tweet!


tweet bird

Each week I read and comment on more than 50 blog posts. If I read a post I enjoy, and I rarely read one I don’t, I like to share it on Twitter. I usually share it immediately and then use Hootsuite to schedule future shares for hashtag days. It is quick, easy, and allows me to assist others to build a wider audience. I am happy to do it and have no expectation or need of “Thank you” tweets in return.

thank you - rose

Some blogs and posts are not easy to share as they have no sharing buttons, or their sharing buttons are difficult to find. While it is possible to copy the URL and paste it into Twitter or Hootsuite, it takes a little more effort to do so and is not something a reader should, in my opinion, be expected to do.

If bloggers wish others to share their posts on any of the Social Media Platforms, I believe they should make doing it as easy as possible.

I am familiar with WordPress only so am not sure how it works with others. However I do know that when I visit non-WordPress blogs, sharing doesn’t seem to be as straightforward.

This next section is for WordPress users only.

To add sharing buttons in WordPress, go to

Dashboard — Settings — Sharing — Publicize

WP -publicize

  1. Select in turn each of the social networking sites to which you belong and add your “address” to each. This is important. It means that people will be able to find you on those sites. It means that when your post is shared on Twitter you will know because the tweet will include your “handle”, your Twitter username.

For example, when my posts are shared the tweet includes my username @NorahColvin and I know it has been shared; like this:

tweet -me

If the username is not included the tweet will have @wordpressdotcom; like this:

tweet - WP

That’s not very exciting and you will never know that your post has been shared.

Sometimes, if I know the blogger’s Twitter handle I will change the tweet to include it, but as I said before

If bloggers wish others to share their posts on any of the Social Media Platforms, I believe they should make doing it as easy as possible.

More often, if the handle is not included, I am less inclined to share more than once.

2. Choose the buttons for each platform on which you wish to share your blog.

sharing buttons

I think it is a good idea to have the buttons appear on every post and page. Remember to save any changes you make!

sharing buttons on

I assume there are similar ways of adding sharing buttons on other sites. I know it is possible in Weebly as Anne Goodwin added her username after I alerted her to its absence. If there are ways, I recommend you use them. If you have chosen to not add your handle to your sharing buttons, I’d be interested to know your reasons.

Earlier I expressed that I have no requirement for “Thank you” tweets in return for my sharing of a post. I consider the best way of saying “Thank you” to be sharing a post of mine in return. If you have shared one of my posts in a tweet, it is extremely likely that very soon I will sharing one of yours. I’m not talking about retweeting someone else’s shares here. I treat those differently.

I mentioned scheduling tweets in advance. There are a number of hashtag days on Twitter. These are the ones I use most frequently. Not all posts are suitable for every hashtag. I generally share a post on each of the next 2-4 suitable days.






#wwwblogs (Wednesday – Women Writers)

#BeWOW (Wednesday – all)


#TBT (Throwback Thursday)

#LinkYourLife (Friday)


#ArchiveDay (Saturday)

Nothing says that I am right of course. What I have shared here is what works for me, at the moment. I’d love to know what works for you. How do you share on Twitter? Do you think it’s important to include the username in tweets? How often to you share the posts of other bloggers?

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

S.M.A.G. is here!


In just a couple of months it will be two years since I started blogging. Writing a blog had never been a goal of mine. In fact it would be fair to say that until I started blogging I didn’t have much of an idea of what it was; or of any social media platforms for that matter. I was a latecomer to the party considering, according to Wikipedia, blogging began in the 1990s!

My goal at the time of beginning blogging was, and still is, to set up a website of educational resources for use in early childhood classrooms or homes. The main message I received when attending a writers’ seminar about digital publishing was the importance of having an “online presence”. I took the advice and started tweeting and blogging.  Here I am now, a semi-experienced tweeter and blogger, still a bit unsure about the online presence.

tweet bird

I started blogging with a goal of posting twice a week, which I have pretty much maintained since then. Initially I had just few readers, all of whom were “real” people, family and friends, I already knew. As much as I was, and am, very grateful for their continued support and encouragement, it was very exciting to receive my first “outside” comment two months later.

It was over four months before any new readers visited and commented regularly. Some of those first readers are still with me (Anne and Caroline), others have moved on, and others have since joined. Now I have a wonderful group of online friends. As with offline friendships we interact when we can, exchanging comments and ideas with each other, mostly on our blogs and Twitter.

I have been as fortunate with my online friendships as I have with my offline friendships. (I was tempted to use the word “real” instead of “offline”, but I consider my online friendships no less real.) We don’t have to see each other every day, every week, or even every month, for the friendships to flourish. Wherever the friendships form, they require certain ingredients to keep them strong, including:

respect, acceptance, attention, appreciation, gratitude, and open communication that goes both ways.

I really appreciate people who challenge and extend my thinking as much as those who are happy to jump on my bandwagon with me, or just come along for the ride.

During the past few months when some of my blogging friends and I have been sharing appreciation for each other and our comments, I have suggested that we belong to S.M.A.G.: The Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude.

It started off in a light-hearted way (yes, I coined it) but others seemed to appreciate the thought and welcomed the idea of belonging to a group that required of them no extra effort. I decided that a S.M.A.G. badge to be displayed by anyone who wished was in order.

In a previous post, I discussed the need for Making choices in how I allocate my use of time while working towards achieving my goals (including posting twice weekly). I shared thoughts about using a contest on 99designs to obtain illustrations for some of my work. While I was very happy with the illustrations, I was a bit uncomfortable with the contest process. However I decided that engaging each of the three runner-up finalists to do other illustrations in a guaranteed one-on-one project would (in my mind) help, in a little way, to make up for all the work they had done without reward. I have since done this and feel much happier about the process and am pleased with the results.

One of the designers, Kari Jones (ArtbyJonz), is now illustrating a second book for me and I approached her for the S.M.A.G. badge. This is what she produced. I love it. I hope you do to.

SMAG ccbyncnd

If you would like to display it on your blog, and share it with your blogging friends, I would be honoured for you to do so, but please attribute it to me and link back to this page.

I have found Kari wonderful to work with. She has been very helpful and accommodating and I am delighted with the artwork she has produced for me. If you are looking for illustrations I am happy to recommend Kari. You can check out some of her other work on her ArtPal page and contact her on Facebook if you have any queries.

So thank you, all my friends, for your continued support and readership. Whether or not you choose to post the badge, you are still part of S.M.A.G. and it is a pleasure knowing you.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.

Online friends – real or imaginary?

In a previous post Will you be my friend? I asked the question

“Should one maintain separation from one’s online friends, or take the risk of meeting in person should the opportunity arise?”

The reason for my asking the question, although I didn’t state it openly at the time, was that I was planning a quick visit to the UK to visit family and wondered if there may have been some of my online ‘friends’ who would like to meet up while I was there.


In the short time that I had been blogging I had become part of a friendly little circle of writers who frequently visited and commented on my blog, and whose blogs I visited and commented on. Sometimes we would have quite in-depth discussions about a range of topics, and these discussions would often spill over onto Twitter. Few days would go by when we weren’t communicating with each other in some way and we were developing a certain amount of comfort with each other and our discussions.

Since some members of this group lived in the UK, I wondered if it might be fun to meet up with them in person but was concerned about what might happen to our online relationship if I didn’t live up to their expectations or we didn’t get along in face-to-face conversation.

I decided to ask the question via my blog to see what responses I would receive, and indeed to see if any of those I was thinking about contacting would respond and give me an inkling about their thoughts on the matter.

The responses I received were encouraging.

Joanne, who blogs at Writeaway, said that she had met one of her online friends in person. It obviously went well because she said that she wouldn’t be averse to meeting others though she considered geography to be a restriction. I had thought about that too, for although it’s a long way from Australia to the UK, travel distances within the UK could still be great and, while I was going to be based in London, I didn’t know where my friends lived.

Bec, who blogs at There’s no food said she believed there was a lot of value in online friendships. I knew she would because she and her partner of almost ten years met online! I wasn’t looking for a partner though. I already had one of those!

Gina Stoneheart, who blogs at Walking in the Write Direction, one Story at a Time, shared her story of meeting a friend on Twitter through following the same favourite children’s book author. They live close enough to meet up in person. She also met her partner online.

However she did have some words of caution. She said,

“Make sure you have spoken with them on the phone and have had quite a few emails exchanged. Also, see lots of pictures of them! You never know… there are some crazy people out there!”


Although, like Joanne citing geography as a restriction, Gina’s strong recommendation was to ‘go for it’.

Terry Tyler, blogging at Terry Tyler, said that she had met a few online friends in real life and had even “ended up marrying one!”  Although Terry said that meeting online friends wasn’t something she would go out of her way to do, when she does meet them she really enjoys it.

Kimmie, who blogs at Stuckinscared, said that she had met some online friends and, although she had felt close to them online, she was still nervous about meeting them face-to-face but is glad that she did; and would meet others if  “courage and circumstances” allowed it.

Hope of Nanny SheCanDo has met quite a few of her online friends and is glad she did; and Donna Marie from Writer Side UP! said that she has many online friends she would love to meet up with if she had the chance.

The only one (from the little group that I was thinking about contacting) to respond to my question was Geoff Le Pard who blogs at TanGental. He was enthusiastic because, he said, he loves meeting people and talking. He suggested there would be risks such as people not being as articulate in person and jeopardizing the relationship that had already formed. But he also said there would be the benefit of not being constrained by the ‘blog and comment structure’ so the conversation could be more organic, flowing from one topic to another.

The eight responses to my question were overwhelmingly encouraging so I decided to go for it.

I was delighted to receive an enthusiastic response to my rather tentative request from all four friends that I contacted: Anne Goodwin, Lisa Reiter, Geoff Le Pard, and Caroline Lodge. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to arrange a suitable time or place with Caroline, but Anne, Lisa, Geoff and I exchanged a flurry of Tweets and emails and were able to arrange a time and place that suited us all.

Norah, Anne, Geoff, Lisa beside the lock

Norah, Anne, Geoff, Lisa beside the lock

We had a wonderful afternoon and evening together, meeting at the British Library for lunch and doing a little sightseeing afterwards. I even “took” them somewhere that none of them had been before (and probably won’t again!) I got to see a canal lock in action for the first time! (We don’t have those in Australia.)

It was great: more like catching up with old friends than a meeting of strangers. There was not an axe murderer among us, and no one made an excuse for a hurried retreat until after a tube ride to Covent Garden and dinner, when it was time to catch the late trains back home.

For me, meeting up with this group of online friends, was a memorable experience which I am very pleased I took a risk in initiating. I think the reason it worked is that we already knew each other quite well through our lengthy online discussions, and we were all keen to meet. The friendship moved out of the imagination and into reality.

Anne, Geoff and Lisa and a floating bookshop

Anne, Geoff and Lisa and a floating bookshop

These positive feelings gave me the confidence to arrange a meeting with another online friend when I travelled to Tasmania shortly after arriving home from the UK. I met up with Sue Wyatt who hosts a Student Blogging Challenge. Although Sue and I hadn’t had a great number of in-depth conversations, we had exchanged a few Tweets and comments and had a lovely morning together discussing two of our shared interests: education and blogging!

So, combining the recommendations in the responses to my questions with the results of my action research, I would agree strongly with Geoff who finished his comment with the words:

“Depends on your attitude to taking risks. Personally I’d welcome the chance of the upside.

It was definitely an upside for me, and I’m pleased I took the chance.

Thank you


I welcome your feedback. Please share your thoughts. It’s not too late to tell us about meeting your online friends!

Mouthing the words – the golem effect

Singing is a wonderful gift. To be able to entertain oneself and others with no instrument other than one’s voice must give enormous pleasure.

But I can only imagine the joy it must bring, for I am no singer.

When I was at school and we were all lined up and squished in on the stairs performing for parents in our end-of-year concerts, I was told to mouth the words.

Unlike the recommendation in the song written by Joe Raposo for Sesame Street and made famous by the Carpenters “Sing a Song

“Don´t worry that it´s not good enough for anyone else to hear.
Just sing.
Sing a song.”

I was told to not sing, for it was not good enough for anyone else to hear. I accepted the verdict without question, as was expected of us at school, and mouthed the words.

Of course, my school days were long over before Joe wrote his wonderful song, and maybe no one since then has been subjected to the same humiliation.

Over the years various family members and friends have tried to be encouraging but their words have seemed hollow, for I “knew” the truth to be otherwise. One family member even told me that, when I “sang” nursery rhymes, I sounded just like Patsy Biscoe. But that’s not true. Patsy has a beautiful voice. You can listen to her here.

Sometimes it is difficult to not sing along for music is so inviting, often almost demanding that one join in.

In an early childhood classroom, music is a very important part of the day; and as an early childhood teacher, I incorporate music and singing into the program, always at the beginning and end of the day, and many times in between. I have blogged about this before here and here.

Fortunately for me, and the students, music is so readily available on CD or the internet, that finding songs for the children to sing along with is no longer a problem.  I apologise here to all the students who have had to suffer my joining in and “singing” along with them though, when I couldn’t resist the temptation. I must admit that none of them ever complained when I joined in. But I have no idea what they went home and told their parents either!

I believe strongly in the power of positive encouragement to improve children’s self-esteem, confidence, willingness to have a go, and learning outcomes.

I also know that a negative attitude encourages children to have a negative attitude towards themselves and their abilities, decreases self-esteem, erodes confidence and creates anxiety and a fear of trying new things or of having a go.

According to Wikipedia

“The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. The effect is named after the greek myth of Pygmalion.

A corollary of the Pygmalion effect is the golem effect, in which low expectations lead to a decrease in performance. The Pygmalion effect and the golem effect are forms of self-fulfilling prophecy. People will take the belief they have of themselves (negative in this case) and attribute traits of the belief with themselves and their work. This will lead them to perform closer to these expectations that they set for themselves. Within sociology, the effect is often cited with regard to education and social class.”

Surprisingly I had never thought of this in relation to my singing disability, until recently.

Engaged in a Twitter discussion with Anne Goodwin (@Annecdotist) and Caroline Lodge (@lodge_c) I mentioned that I listen to audiobooks on my drive to work. Anne replied that she listens to music on long journeys, trying to “fix choral music in my head”.

I replied, innocently enough, I thought:


To which they both responded with the type of “encouragement” I had heard many times before “Give it a go. Everyone can sing.”

So I told them about being told to mouth the words, and I was both surprised and challenged by their responses:




I had never thought of my singing disability as a learned disability. I had always thought of it being a physiology issue and, later, perhaps a hearing issue.

I am not very good at mimicking vocal (other than speech) sounds, or at identifying which note, of two given notes, is the higher or lower. I did enrol in a brain training program which included aural exercises involving recognition of higher or lower pitch. While I did make some improvement, my scores weren’t high (I could tell that high/low difference).

The comments of Anne and Caroline made me think about this:

What came first: the singing disability or the disability teaching?

Could I have learned, if given the opportunity, to sing a least a few bars in tune? Could I still be taught?

It has sometimes crossed my mind that singing lessons could be an interesting experiment.

Anne and Caroline are both encouraging, and Caroline commented:


I do love music and perhaps, one day, I will go for it and find out the truth about my singing ability.

Perhaps I will learn to sing and fulfill the dream “to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”.

But for now, the experiment will have to wait, I have other things to learn.

What do you think?

Do you consider yourself a singer?

Can everyone learn to sing?

Is it a human right?

Could my singing ability really be a “golem effect”?

What disability have you learned, if any?

As a parent or teacher, how do you ensure your children do not suffer from a learned disability?

You can read more from Anne or Caroline by clicking on their names.

Flag this Twitter advice

stop email

I have just read a very helpful post by Claire Diaz-Ortiz explaining how to unsend an email.

Reading it prompted me to write me this post which I have been mulling over for some time now. I would like to read a post entitled:

“How to unflag on Twitter”.

You see, I am a newcomer to Twitter; reading, tweeting and re-tweeting for just over two months now.

Luckily for me there are many wonderful bloggers who generously share their tips and information to help newbies like me get started. I have read and re-read some of these blog posts many times in order to glean as much information as possible in order to avoid making it obvious to everybody just what a newbie I am.

Just as an email can be unsent, the delete button on Twitter can be used to withdraw a message tweeted by mistake. That’s easy.

However it is not so easy, in fact it is impossible, so far as I can see, to unflag a flag.

Now I’m a reasonably intelligent person, and I have used a number of computer programs and applications over the years, and one thing that I have discovered is that learning is transferrable. What is learned in one program or application can generally be applied in others. I have also learned that one should not worry too much about clicking the wrong button because most things can be undone and not much harm can be done anyway.

I had plenty of prior experience with flags to understand their use.



In Microsoft  Word, the little flag icon is used to bookmark a part of the text one wishes to locate later.

The flag in Microsoft Outlook is used to mark an email to follow up.

I may use a flag to highlight a section of text in a book if I consider its content important or interesting enough to revisit another time.

swim between the flags

Flags on the beach indicate areas where it is safe to swim.

Flags on a car-yard are there to entice would-be buyers.


Party time!

In all these instances flags are used to draw attention to items of interest or importance to make them easy to locate. So it follows that I should be able to transfer this knowledge to other applications. Right?

Well, usually; but not with Twitter.

tweet bird

A little Twitter panic!

I learned this from my own first-hand experience though, so the learning is powerful and permanent and I will not need to revisit this situation again to make sure I have got it right. The learning was also accompanied by quite a degree of embarrassment and anguish, so if I can prevent anyone else from making the same mistake, my purpose in writing this post will be accomplished.

tragicmaskThis is how the tragedy unfolded:

One day I encountered a tweet with a fun poem attached as media. I wanted to be able to come back to this poem at a later time to reflect on it some more. I wondered how I might do that.

Flag media

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a little box down to the right that said “Flag media”.

“Great,” I thought, “Easy,” and pressed the button.

Immediately the button changed to “Flagged learn more”.

Now where there’s a link there’s a way to new learning, so of course I clicked on it . . .

and was totally aghast when I came to the Twitter Help Centre “Flagging media violations”.

flagging media violations

I hadn’t wanted to flag the poem as a media violation. I just wanted to read it again later.

“Quick,” I thought, “better unflag it before anyone notices; especially the author!”

As I frantically searched the Twitter Help Centre, the panic started to rise as I could find no instructions for unflagging.

I couldn’t remember it being mentioned in any of the articles I had read, but I went back and checked, just to make sure. Nowhere could I find mention of flagging, let alone unflagging. I just had to let it be and hope that when the Twitter team checked the flag, they would realise that an error had been made. However, I do sincerely apologise to George and can only be thankful that my followers were few, and hopeful that nobody, especially George, noticed.

So here is my number one piece of advice when using Twitter: Don’t flag!

don't flag

Not unless you consider “there is content you feel should be reviewed by the Twitter team because you believe it should be behind a warning message, or because it contains illegal content”.

I wish I had read that before I flagged George’s poem, “Everything is a car!”


However you could use this strategy if you wish to come back to a tweet later:

favourite it.

That way it will turn up in your favourites list and you will easily be able to locate it.

Just be wary of favouriting too many tweets as advised by Mary C. Long in the Social Times earlier this year. However Mary’s warning doesn’t apply to favouriting a tweet in the way I have just suggested.

What have you learned about Twitter that you think I should know?

What learning experiences would you like to share?

Here are seven great bloggers or websites with useful advice about using Twitter appropriately:

Mom this is how Twitter works

The eLearning coach Ten ways to learn from Twitter

Claire Diaz-Ortiz How to create your own Twitter profile (and others)

Belinda Pollard Why emerging authors need Twitter (and others)

Molly Greene  Ten tweets you should never send (and others)

Jeff Bullas 10 tips for creating marketing and sharing content on Twitter

Judy O’Connell Being web savvy includes twitter

Rachel in the OC Ten quick tips to help any author

And don’t forget the Twitter Support Centre

Happy tweeting!

All clipart courtesy of  www.openclipart.org  some with minor modifications and additions.