Directions for using WUTexter
- You must have a twitter account, and you may want a special one to use for WUTexter and this course, but you can also use your existing account just fine.
- If you do not have an account, you can set one up by by visiting twitter.com or you can use your cell phone
to set up the account (which is handy because you will probably use your cell phone to tweet) by following the
- If you already have an account and want to use it, then skip this part.
- You may already have an account, but you want a special account just for this course:
If you already have a twitter account and you want to use the same email address for your new one, you may seem stuck,
but there are at least two solutions:
- Here is how to associate
multiple twitter accounts with the same gmail address. This approach uses aliases and labels to create multiple apparent email addresses that really forward to the same account.
- Here is another solution that can work for any kind of email address, because twitter will ignore periods within an email address.
If you set up a new account to tweet for this course, you may want to limit substantially the notifications you receive from activity on this account.
- Your twitter account must be set so that your tweets are not protected. To ensure this:
- Log into your twitter account.
- Under your name in the upper right corner, click and drag to Settings.
- Scroll down and make sure the box next to Protect my Tweets is not checked.
- You must be able to tweet in the classroom. There are at least two ways to do this:
- If you have wifi access, simply log into twitter and tweet as directed by your instructor to register your votes.
- If you have cell phone access, then you can tweet using SMS. You essentially send a text message that
ends up as a tweet from your twitter account. See the directions below to learn how to do this.
Registering your cell phone to tweet
There is a simple process to set up your cell phone so that text messages you send to a specific phone number (40404) will be translated into tweets.
The technical name for this approach is SMS (Short Message Service).
When you send a text message to phone number 40404, the recipient looks up your registered
twitter account based on the phone number from which you sent the text. Your text is then turned into a tweet, as if you were
logged in to your account.
To register your cell phone to a twitter account, follow the directions here.
Note: Feel free to disable notifications on this account so you can reduce the email you get when using it.
Using WUTexter in class
You can send responses or questions using either of the following approaches.
- WUTexter will pick up messages that mention a class account name.
For example, if the class has account name WUClass101, then the tweet:
@wuclass101 this is my message
will cause WUTexter logged in as wuclass101 to see what you tweet. The at-sign is necessary in front of the account name for the mention to
One side effect of tweeting using mentions is that everybody who follows you can see what you are tweeting. It's not particularly private, so we have
another way to tweet: read on.
- Direct Messages
- You can send a direct message to the WUTexter account, but this is permissible only after you have tweeted using a mention. The reason for this
is that the class account must follow you before you can send it a message. While the request to follow you is made just after receiving a first
mention from your twitter account, twitter may take some time to process the request.
You can tweet a direct message using the dm directive:
dm wuclass101 this is my message
will send a direct message to the wuclass101 account. Nobody else will see the message, not even those who follow you. The message will be deleted automatically by WUTexter when it is received.
Direct messages are preferred (over mentions) for
- The message is private, so none of your followers except the class
account will see the message.
- There is no prohibition against tweeting the same direct message twice.
Ordinary tweets with the same text are suppressed because twitter considers
Currently supported messages
Each message sent to WUTexter should be of the following form:
@wuclassname single-char 3-digit-key rest-of-message
A direct-message form is obtained by dropping the at-sign and using the
command dm to introduce the message.
dm wuclassname single-char 3-digit-key rest-of-message
These items are defined as follows:
The at-sign (@) is a mention for twitter, and it causes the mentioned
account to see the message. The account is the wuclassname and it
must be provided by your instructor. It will probably vary from class to class.
- This single character is usually a letter near the beginning
of the alphabet, in response to a multiple-choice question; or, it may be
the question mark (?), in which case your message is a question to be asked
of the instructor.
- To protect this application from spamming, a quasi-secret 3-digit
decimal numeral is generated and displayed prominently each time the application starts. Messages will
only be accepted if they contain the required 3-digit key.
Thus, only those who have visibility of the running application can supply
responses or questions.
- If you are asking a question, here is where you place the text of your
question. Twitter limits the length of messages, so you may have to be brief.
You can always send in multiple messages to split up a long question if necessary.
- @wucse131 c 342 logs your response as c to a multiple-choice question. Note that you can tweet again with a different response
and it will override your previous choice. The key for this session is 342. Any message missing the key in its proper place will be ignored.
- dm wucse131 d 342 is the direct-message form of a tweet,
specifying d as the response.
- dm wucse131 ? 342 What time will the exam be tonight sends
a message for the instructor (and class) to see. The message as displayed
is anonymous to encourage you to ask questions.
Copyright WUTexter is copyright 2011-2012 by Ben Murray and Ron Cytron, of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Washington University. All rights reserved.