LS Quick Start Guide for Gravatar, Twitter, & Wordpress

General Guidelines for Social Media Participation

Establishing logins and passwords

  • You will need to choose a login and password (pw) for each of the tools that we are using.
  • Please use the same login and pw for each of your accounts.
  • Use a name that will remind you of the professional nature (rather than personal) of your work on these sites – for example my login is drpwhang. If you are digital footprint wary, feel free to use your First Name and Last Initial. Using the same pw will save you from the aggravation of constantly having to try a series of possibilities.

A picture is worth a thousand words -or- no eggheads!

  • For each social media platform, please upload a picture or avatar of yourself. If you don’t have a picture that you want to use and want to try making an avatar. I have used the free service below for my avatar. Try it, it’s fun.
  • Create a “gravatar” for yourself at using the email address you most likely will use for course work (if you are not using your CSUMB email, please start doing so). Once you do, many sites will automatically use this image to represent you (you do not want a default generic icon representing you, right?)
  • Want to learn more about gravatars and why you need one? Well, here are some sources:
  • Global Recognition
  • What is a gravatar and why you should start using it right away.

Tools to start exploring now:

Twitter (micro-blog and professional development tool)[1]

  • We will be using Twitter in class to micro-blog that spark discussions and contributes to our professional development. Please note that you do not need an iphone, smart phone, or any other expensive, portable media device to use Twitter. You can create a free account on a computer at the library or college. You can also access Twitter via smartphone app or text messaging (see here for Twitter via text instructions).
  • Twitter limits you to 140 characters (minus our course hashtag), forcing you to be creative and succinct at the same time. If you don’t have a Twitter account or if you have a private Twitter account, you should sign up for one.
  • Your weekly  tweets that must be tagged with our course hashtag#
  • Think of this mini-blog as a digital journal. Many writers find keeping a journal a valuable exercise. In it, they record ideas for writing, interesting details, dialogue observed and overheard, respond to readings, letters they will never send, dreams, and just let their thoughts flow freely. The purpose of this mini-blog is to keep you writing and thinking about writing in order to help you develop your voice, and to give you the opportunity to practice, practice, practice.

To Open an Account:

1. Go to

2. Enter your basic information on the home page and click “Sign up.”
3. Come up with a username and password. Agree with the Terms of Service (TOS). Click submit.
In order to get credit for your work on Twitter, I have to be able to see your tweets. This means you CANNOT set your account to “protected.” If you wish to keep your personal account private, then please create an account that you can use for class purposes.
Once you’ve signed up…
1. Send a tweet using the hashtag and course number so that I know you are able to get online. Send a message of greetings to your instructor by starting it with @drpwhang. Also include the #ls300sp14 hashtag in your tweets- this is how other people can follow the stream of communication related to this class. Learn how to search on the #ls300sp14 hashtag to see what others are saying.
Some useful Twitter lingo…
Tweet: a post.
Retweet: post someone else’s post.
Trending: the most popular topics on Twitter at that moment.
Hashtag: the use of the “#” sign before a phrase to help tag/categorize posts. This makes them easier find through the search engine.
• For more terms, see Twitter’s Twitter Glossary.

WordPress (blog)[2]
1. Sign Up
Go to and “Sign Up.” Your username will show up under all of your posts. You cannot change your user name, so use the professional login you selected earlier. .
Pick a URL that fits with the title or subject of your blog. You can change the Title of your blog, but not the URL.
Click on Create Blog.

Click on Create Blog.

For a video demonstration of this, click here

2. Pick a Theme

a. Click My Blog > Dashboard at the top left corner of your page

b. Click on the Appearance block at the bottom left hand corner of your


c. Select a theme to set as your blog’s theme from the multiple choices

on your screen. *The theme should have at least two columns to allow for easier viewing of your “tag cloud” (see below)

d. Continue down the tabs on the appearance block to add any widgets,

extras, or menus you want included

-Two or three column themes are best. Check out some of the other features that each theme has to see if it will fit what you want to do.

-Once you pick a theme, explore some of the options (i.e., some themes will let you create additional pages, select colors, etc).

–A theme with a Custom Header means that you can put in your own image. If you have a Custom Header, put in an image that sets a style and tone for your blog. You can take your own photo. Or if you are looking for free images, try Flickr Creative Commons, Openphoto or some other free photo services.

Don’t steal images you have don’t have the rights to or permission to use. Always give credit to the photographer. See the About page of the class blog for an example of how to give a photo credit.

For more, check out the Themes Support page.

3. Adjust Your Settings

Click on Settings at the bottom of the left hand navigation bar.

Under General Settings:

  • Give your blog a title and tagline.
  • Timezone – Set timezone to “New York”

Click “Save Changes.”

Also under Settings, click on Discussion
-Make sure your blog allows comments, but select the level of security that you wish to have.

4. Add Widgets

Click on the Appearance tab. Click on Widgets. You can pick from a bunch of widgets which are items that will appear on the side or bottom of your blog. To add a widget, drag it into the box on the right, then click “Save.”

Add a widget for Archives – so the reader can see what you have posted.

Add a widget for Blog Stats so I can get a quick sense of your traffic. This is different than the Blog Stats function in your dashboard, you have to add it.

You can add others if you wish. Suggestions are a Twitter feed, RSS feeds, tag cloud, or delicious.

For more, see What is a Widget?

5. Create a Blogroll

Create a blogroll with a list of at least 5 blogs/web sites that are related to education.

Creating a blogroll is a two step process:

1. First add the Links widget to your side bar. Drag the Links title over. Click “Save.”

2. Click on the Links tab on navigation bar on the left hand side. Delete the other ones that are there by default. Click on Add New Link Add new linkyour blogroll links here. Put in the name of the blog or web site and the URL. This will add it to your blog roll.

To find sites for your blogroll, look at the blogrolls of other publications on your subject or try using these blog search engines:
Google Blog Search

For more on how to add a blogroll, click here.

5. Write Your First Post

Click on Posts on the left hand side navigation bar. Delete the “Hello World” placeholder post. Click on Add New. Write an initial post to introduce yourself, your blog, what you hope to cover over the course of the semester.

See How To Post for instructions.

You can view your blog post in Visual or HTML mode by clicking on the tab.

6. Create a hyperlink

In your post, highlight a word or phrase that you want to link to another Web site or blog with your cursor. Then click chain link icon. Add the address to the Link URL. WordPress puts http:// in the field so make sure you don’t put it in again. Select “Open link in a new window.” Save. Make sure it works.

6. Create Categories and Tags

Tags – a list of keywords that describe your post (5 tags for each post is a good number).

Categories – are broad areas within your blog topic.

For example, if you are writing a food blog, a post titled “Last Night At Burger King” might be filed under the “Dinner” category, but could have tags like, “burger, chicken fries, chocolate shake, dr. pepper”.

For more, see the difference between tags and categories.

7. Take responsibility for your publication.

Your full name must appear on your blog. Create an About page. (Here is info on how to create a new page.) Or you can add some text to the sidebar of your blog using the Text Widget and put your name there.

8. Spend some time exploring your Dashboard and learning how to use it.

9. Double check everything.

Go back, look carefully at your blog. Look for typos, misspellings, weird things. Always use the spell checker before you publish a post.

For more info, check out the Getting Started help page.

Also check out the links to helpful info on the “How To” page.