What Is Popular This Month?

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What was the most influential content in February 2016 and what can social media analytics tell us?

It appears – but not exclusively – that tweets that contain an engaging statement, an image, a hashtag and a hyperlink to a website (for further reading) engage a wider audience.

Here are the most popular tweets from Teacher Toolkit Twitter account during the month of February 2016. This information has collated by Twitter Analytics and Buffer. You can click on any of the images to open up the original content.

This will prove an interesting read for educators keen to explore the potential of social media.

The Story So Far:

In February 2016, I have tweeted over 1,000 times, averaging 40 tweets per day.

Typically, I send more information in the evenings and at weekends. Please note, I programme tweets so that I can continue with my life at work and at home. I am not on a device 24/7. Instead, I make social media work for me using coding and applications to share content.


Twitter Analytics


Over 7 million people have seen my tweets this month, with 60,000 of you visiting my Twitter profile. Over the past 25 days, 3,750+ people have chosen to follow my tweets with 3,750+ copying me into your messages! That’s a lot of content to read too!

My tweets earned 7.5M impressions over this 28 day period with 266.6k impressions per day; 40,000 more than January.


Twitter Analytics

Most Impressions:

This tweet gathered the most impressions, with over 25,000 people seeing the content (without clicking). This means at the moment they are using their device or PC, they will have seen this tweet. The tweet contains this blog: 7 Traits of Effective Teachers.

Twitter Analytics

You can click on the tweet to open the content and data.


This tweet gathered the most engagement, with many followers clicking to read more. When content is properly engaged, you will see a couple of hallmarks of that connection:

People will retweet you.

  • People will @Mention you.
  • People will favorite your tweets.
  • People will follow you.

Twitter Analytics


The following two tweets are shared here because a) they have been popular this month – in terms of social media analytics – and b) need to be read with context beyond the 140 characters shown.

Last week, I took part in a forum via The Guardian Teacher Network: How teachers can use social media to boost their CPD?

For those interested in my stance, I started tweeting from @rossmcgill in 2008. Twitter was still unknown and at that time, it merely was a status update. For example, ‘I’m off to work’ or ‘I’m currently eating a pizza’. It was that bland. But, as the platform grew, teachers started to understand its potential in the classroom. I did too, using Twitter for revision, sharing content, web-links and photographs.

I soon realised that having a personal account, where I shared my ‘status’ at home and at work, alongside images of me at home, and images within the classroom raised a huge conflict of interest in terms of safeguarding and the Teachers’ Standards. More importantly, I needed to protect myself and my professionalism.

I then launched @TeacherToolkit in 2010 so that I could share all-things-education – via social media – from a dedicated account. At the time, I decided to use it transparently without the need to hide behind anonymity. I wanted people to know who was behind the account; to reflect, to share ideas and resources with colleagues and could see that using social media in this way would not create any problems or result in my employer wanting to lock down my account (or stop me from using it altogether). So far, so good!

The following tweet left over 18,000 impressions with many readers engaging (1,000+) with the content. It left many who responded, divided in their opinion.

Twitter Analytics


We all have a choice to use social media how we want. I am no advisory panel and I am certainly not saying that teachers cannot have a life outside school. However, what I am saying, is that teachers should be mindful of attributing themselves to a place of work (i.e. in their profile) and doing this without the account having some form of privacy in place.

Over the years, and I am no angel, I have discovered the hard way using an open account to tweet about education and my place of work, mixing this with my own views about politics, education and my workplace. After all, we are only human. I’m consciously avoiding photographs with students, wary that anything I say or do online can be read by my colleagues, parents and students. In fact, I do know students say they can find me on Twitter via TeacherToolkit and some say they do, but I have no reason to engage with them or encourage them to do so. If anything, it is very helpful to know that this is happening to keep my safeguarding ‘alarm’ firmly on and in-check.

Personally, @rossmcgill is a locked account where I can tweet personal thoughts to my readers without fear of being observed by others. It is our decision to use social media how we see fit, using a personal and/or professional account, or both, with transparency or anonymity.

The above tweet was to encourage teachers on Twitter to consider their stance.

Read 10 Tips for Tweeting Teachers.


22,000 people saw the following tweet which some may have been forgiven to be upset about. It would be easy to take this out of context. Why? Because I didn’t offer any beyond the 140 characters shown.

For readers that are interested, this was posted online – not to any particular individual – but in the hope that one follower, who was being abusive, rude and too explicit online would see it. It was an advisory message, rather than singling or identifying anyone in an attempt that this tweet would be seen and that theirs would not be seen by my readers.

Twitter Analytics

Part b) would have been better written as: “uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school.”

Confident that the tweet was seen, to the detriment and anger of many others, it served its purpose to raise awareness about professional behaviours …

The long story, short, is that in a haphazard way I came to encounter this person (IRL) in real life. The final straw came when they bad-mouthed colleagues, a [school] and posted inappropriate (sexual) content online(!) to me directly. Sadly, this person is a teacher and does not have a private (locked) account. Some bloggers and tweeters took it upon themselves to pull me up on this, saying the ‘Twitter Police’ were now stopping teachers expressing themselves. This is justifiable, but not without both sides of the story which I am offering here (without the images).

The fact of the matter is, it was only me on the receiving end of the content and it would have caused much more harm to expose the individual to the world through sub-tweeting, causing damage and retribution. If it were someone I could speak to face to face, I would have probably advised them that their behaviour could result in potential disciplinary by [a school].

Sadly, you can only take my word for it – with only 1/2 the evidence shown – and trust my decision.

The person has since rescinded their tweets, [claiming] that their account was hacked. I hope we always re-consider our approaches online and are more mindful of the pitfalls of social media. And yes, I’m no angel either!


Away from personal views, despite only 3 retweets and 3 likes, this tweet referencing a blog on 30th January 2016, reached over 205,000 people and their timelines.

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics Buffer


as did this tweet about TeachMeet London reaching 203,000+!


Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics Buffer


Most Likes:

The following tweet generated 199 ‘likes’ online. For me, this type of tweet allows followers to see the ‘real you’. Something which is very difficult to comprehend online from blogs and tweets. It is so easy for us all to build up an image of how we perceive others …

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics


Twitter Analytics:

If you are interested in what works on social media, you should really be looking at this data. It’s not for everyone and there is so much to discover. Without it, I would not be able to know what works.

Why not try Twitter Analytics? You may find yourself saving time and avoiding idle chit-chat, unless that’s what you want from Twitter?


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