Twitter inside of Blackboard

By guest poster Erin, one of our fabulous Student Technology Assistants!

twitterI’ve been working on a technology project on Blackboard lately with a professor that involved fixing a Twitter feed embedded within Blackboard.

Problem: The Twitter feed, which theoretically would update whenever the professor’s students tweeted something with the hashtag “#usdirstudents”. However, tweets were not showing up in the feed – the only ones that showed up were the test tweets from the beginning of the semester.

Experimentation: I created a separate Twitter account like the rest of the students (her students were worried about using their personal accounts to tweet things for a class, as they wanted to keep their personal Twitters private). I tried tweeting with the hashtag but my tweets were not showing up as well. I looked up possible solutions online and none of them seemed to fit the problem. However, I found one blog that suggested because my Twitter was new and had no followers, Twitter would assume it was spam and therefore would not index the tweet, even on Twitter when you searched the hashtag. (Indexing a tweet means adding it to the Twitter feed – only Twitter can do this.)

Solution: I spent a week from my new Twitter account tweeting things completely unrelated to the subject matter of the hashtag (international relations) and tried to gain a couple followers. Before I tweeted again with the hashtag, I had around 27 tweets and 5 followers. I tweeted the hashtag with a link and it ended up showing up on Twitter and (lagging several seconds behind) in the Blackboard feed!

Things to Make Sure of:

  • Your Twitter account is not private. Chances are this could prevent tweets from showing up as well. This can be changed in the settings preferences of Twitter.
  • You are spelling the hashtag right and using the “#” symbol beforehand as well. I often misspell hashtags because there’s no spaces in between words.
  • You are showing “All Tweets” rather than “Top Tweets,” which is at the top of the searched feed. This feature is only present on the desktop (web) version right now.
  • Twitter has often had problems when tweeting hashtags with links. Unfortunately there is no real solution to this problem, but I would try tweeting without the link first and see if it really is just the link or whether it is one of the other issues described above.
  • If there is a large volume of tweets related to said hashtag, Twitter will not index them all. Rather they will filter through them and only index the tweets that seem most relevant.

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