Use Twitter

This semester, our class will use Twitter a way to write online and participate in a public world beyond the walls of the university. So you’ll need to sign up for and get to know this microblogging social network.

Getting Started

  1. If you already have a Twitter account that you want to use for this class, great. You’re done. If you don’t want to use your personal account for this class (which is fine) or don’t already have a Twitter account, proceed to step 2.
  2. Visit Twitter. Click “Sign up now.”
  3. Enter your Full Name (you can use a pseudonym), User Name (you can choose anything you want, but it is better to choose something short), Password, and Email Address (you can use your Penn email or something else). Create your account.
  4. The email address you entered will receive a confirmation email. Click the link in that email to confirm the registration process. Now you’re officially on Twitter!
  5. You have the option to customize your Twitter account by uploading a photo of either you or something else (a LOL cat, favorite food, whatever), filling out a brief bio, and modifying the settings.

IMPORTANT: In your Settings (found in the drop-down menu in the top right of your screen: click on the gear icon to see the menu), you have the option to protect your tweets. Do not protect your tweets! If you protect your tweets, they will not show in the class hashtag list.

Accessing Twitter

You can access and post to Twitter in several ways, all of which are fine for the purposes of this class. Some options:

  • The web: You log into Twitter and post things from the internet using a computer/tablet.
  • A computer Twitter application: You log into Twitter and post things from a software program you’ve downloaded, using a computer/tablet. There are a bunch of free Twitter apps you can download to your computer. Some options include Tweetdeck and HootSuite.
  • A smartphone app: You log into Twitter and post things from an app on your phone. There are a bunch of free Twitter apps you can download to your phone. Check your apps store for options.
  • Text messaging: You log into Twitter and post things using text messages on your phone. Twitter text messages work like your regular text messages and are subject to your phone plan’s text messaging charges. If you have unlimited text messaging on your phone plan, this is not a huge deal. If you don’t have unlimited text messaging, this will get very expensive and I recommend one of the other options listed above. I don’t want you to have to spend money on this assignment.

How to Tweet

  • Type your tweet in whichever client you’ve selected (web, Tweetdeck, Twitterific, text message). Twitter forces you to be concise, as you only have 140 characters.
  • Somewhere in your tweet, INCLUDE OUR COURSE HASHTAG (#queerfemfilm) so that anyone who searches for that tag will see your tweets.
  • For practice, send a tweet with your course hashtag right now, telling us a movie you love and why it is awesome.

What to Tweet:

  • For this class, you’ll need to tweet a minimum of twice a week: comments/questions about AT LEAST 2 of the following 3 things: assigned films, course readings, and class discussion from that week. So you can tweet once about the assigned film and once about class discussion, or once about the course reading and once about the assigned film, or once about the assigned film and once about the class discussion. You can also tweet additional comments, questions, and links that relate to the course topics and material.
  • In every tweet, you’ll need to include our course hashtag (#queerfemfilm) for your tweet to appear in our feed and for you to earn credit for it. Please read this post by film studies professor Kelli Marshall for an explanation of hashtags, how to use them, and why they are important.
  • As media studies professor David Silver states in his blog post “The Difference Between Thick and Thin Tweets,” tweets can be “thick” or “thin.” Thin tweets convey one level of information, and are usually declarative statements (ex: “Butler’s article is confusing”). Thick tweets, on the other hand, “convey two or more [layers of information], often with help from a hyperlink” (ex: Pondering how gender performativity is at work in MEAN GIRLS. Judith Butler interview: (Silver). For this class, post “thick” tweets to keep us engaged and participate in a public online conversation about exciting issues related to gender and society. Here is also another excellent blog post by Kelli Marshall on the difference between thick and thin tweets in the classroom.

The Public Nature of Twitter

  • Every tweet posted to Twitter that is not “protected” is publicly viewable to anyone with the internet. Like our course website and blog, our course Twitter feed is a representation of our class. Please be mindful of this when posting. You are responsible for the things you post online in the same way as you are responsible for the things you say in the classroom, write in your assignments, and shout aloud in the middle of campus.
  • Things to NOT post on Twitter or our course blog: You should never post someone’s personal information online. Refer to your classmates and others by their online usernames, not their “real” names unless they tell you otherwise. Additionally, hate speech (including but not limited to racism, homophobia, transphobia, and sexism) will not be tolerated and you will face reprimand for this. And in general, don’t post jerky or rude comments about people, ideas, or texts. Disagreement, debate, and critique are great, jerkiness is not.


  • You can follow people, organizations, hashtags, and other entities on Twitter that relate to this course, feminism, gender, sexuality, and social justice. Some ideas: Frameline LGBT Film Festival (@framelinefest), Bitch Magazine (@BitchMedia), Pedro Almodóvar (#PedroAlmodovar), Queers for Economic Justice (@Q4EJ), Sylvia Rivera Law Project (@SRLP), Aisha Simmons (@AfroLez).

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