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All People > Laura Gibbs > Laura Gibbs' Blog > 2018 > March
2018

I'll have lots to say about the power of Twitter hashtags in upcoming posts, and I just wanted to quickly share a great example that happened to me today, March 31, 2018. Today is the holiday of Hanuman Jayanti, the birthday of the monkey-god Hanuman, and so the Twitter hashtag #HanumanJayanti is helping me today to find great materials to share with my Indian Epics class via my OnlineMythIndia Twitter stream; Hanuman is a main character in the Ramayana, which is one of the epics that we read.

 

So, as I was going through the items in the hashtag stream, I found this beautiful tweet:

 

tweet about Hanuman painting by Ramesh Gurjala

 

I was curious about the account, ArtAware, so I clicked to learn more: "Your Daily Art Fix brought to you by an art collector and an author/screenwriter. Trip out on the colours of contemporary Indian Art!"  That sounds exactly like the kind of Twitter account I like to follow in order to find artwork to share with my classes, and sure enough, when I clicked to go look at more from ArtAware, I found so many lovely items to share... and I am sure I will find many more in the future now that I am following this account! For example, look at this gorgeous porcelain of Damayanti and the hamsa:

 

Damayanti and hamsa in porcelain

 

That's the kind of serendipity that makes Twitter hashtags so powerful: it allowed me to connect to another Twitter user who shares my interests, and my students are going to benefit from the wonderful new art that I learn about by following ArtAware. And, if you want, it can all show up in Canvas... in fact, that will be a topic for my next post. I'll create a list of Twitter accounts that share a lot of Indian art, and write up a step-by-step for how to embed that list in Canvas. So, until next time, tweet on, people!

With Twitter widgets you can embed live Twitter content in another webpage so that instead of looking at Twitter at Twitter.com you are looking at Twitter content in your own website (like a Canvas course website), in the sidebar of your blog, etc. etc. Here's a screenshot of a Canvas Page that has a Twitter widget; it's the Twitter stream for the weekly #FolkloreThursday event, which is always useful for my classes. Every time someone tweets a new item with that hashtag, it shows up automatically in my course space:

 

screenshot of FolkloreThursday widget in Canvas

 

How does it work? You go to publish.twitter.com to create a widget, specifying the content you want to use. The content that I find most useful in widgets would be a handle (i.e. a specific Twitter account), a hashtag (like #FolkloreThursday above), a list (multiple Twitter accounts displayed as a single stream), or a moment (a group of individual tweets that you create tweet by tweet). I'll have more to say about each type of widget in future posts.

 

screenshot of publish.twitter.com options

 

How do you get it in Canvas? After you configure the widget at Twitter, you will end up with a HTML snippet of javascript. It might look something like this: 

 

<a class="twitter-moment" data-dnt="true" href="https://twitter.com/i/moments/964963060015419392?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Myth-Folklore 3043</a> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

 

See that <script> part? That is what makes life tricky in Canvas: you cannot copy and paste a javascript into the HTML editor in Canvas. Instead, you have to upload it separately as a file, and then use iframe to display that file in a Canvas Page. I'll have more to say about that step by step process in a later post. For now, suffice to say that I can upload that snippet into a Canvas File like this:

File: Moment3043.html

 

And I can then iframe that Canvas File into a Canvas Page using this HTML code which does not contain a <script> tag:

 

<p><iframe style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/56095/files/9818553/download" width="600" height="11000"></iframe></p>

 

Here's the result:

Moment: Myth-Folklore: Twitter4Canvas 

 

Depending on when you click and go to the Canvas page, you may or may not see the same item here in the screenshot. The Twitter widget updates in near-real-time, which means that when I add a new tweet to this Moment and change the cover tweet (more about all that later), you will see something new... automatically.

 

And that is the value of Twitter widgets: they bring live content to your Canvas course space with just a single click as you tweet or retweet in the Twitter-verse. I'll have more to say about all of that in future posts. Meanwhile, feel free to chime in here with questions or ask me @OnlineCrsLady at Twitter. I'm hoping very much that in the process of "spring cleaning" my Twitter4Canvas materials, I can make them more useful and more user-friendly to all!

 

 

screenshot of Myth-Folklore Moment in Canvas

Thanks to Alan Levine and Robin de Rosa at Twitter, I learned that Twitter is about to phase out the old system for building widgets (the system you accessed via your Settings in Twitter) to the new system which you access at publish.twitter.com. Basically Twitter has been running two different widget ecosystems for a while now, and the old system is now going to be phased out: Deprecating widget settings - Twitter Developers.

 

At first, I was worried: Twitter announced that the "search" widget would no longer be supported, and in the old system, the hashtag widget was a type of search widget. But thanks to Alan, I learned that in the new system, the hashtag widget is just that -- a hashtag widget -- so it will still be supported. That was a big relief! When I first thought that hashtag widgets were going away, I started brainstorming alternatives; as it turned out, that resulted in some good ideas, but I'll save that for a later post.

 

screenshot of Alan Levine tweet showing new hashtag widgets at Twitter

 

So, the biggest consequence is that any widgets that were created under the old system will need to be re-created using the new system. Yes, it's a pain, but it's also a good excuse to do some serious spring cleaning. When I built my Twitter4Canvas site, I had a mix of old widgets and new widgets because I happened to be creating that site right around the time Twitter started rolling out the new system. Over the next month, I hope to go through the Twitter4Canvas pages and fix those up with the new widget codes, while also writing up some documentation for what I've since learned about Twitter widgets and Canvas. 

 

And this post will be my first post here at Canvas using #Twitter4Canvas as a hashtag here. And that, I think will allow me to use posts from this blog over at my Twitter4Canvas Canvas course site. I'll update this post with a screenshot when I get that up and running!

 

Update. Whoo-hoo: it worked! I took the RSS feed for the #Twitter4Canvas tag here at my blog, subscribed to that feed in Inoreader, created a rule to automatically tag new posts, and then created an HTML clippings view to put in the front page of the Twitter4Canvas course space. That way as I add materials and work on this spring cleaning, the blog posts will be immediately accessible from the homepage of the course space:

Twitter4Canvas Canvas Resource site

 

screenshot of Twitter4Canvas course site