Twitter Etiquette

Vol. 12 No. 2


Twitter is the place to be—if you know how it works. As in every Web community, there are rules to follow when engaging with members and sharing your interests. Twitter, unlike other online platforms, limits your character count and minimizes your profile exposure. But it’s a great community for educators linking to thousands of great bloggers and resources. In fact, Twitter has more educators than almost any other social media site.

Before you send your next tweet, let’s take a moment to review what’s good Twitter practice, both to get noticed and to contribute to the Twitter community as a whole.

Character count. You have 140 characters to say what you need to say, including the character counts of your link’s URL. (You can save on character counts by using a link-shortener such as Bitly or Owly.) Keeping it simple is the trick to Twitter—and will help your tweets get retweeted.

Report spammers. Do yourself as well as everyone else on Twitter a favor and report spam accounts. Simply hover over the account name and click “Report Spam” when the window opens. It’s that simple.

Be you. Don’t try to appeal to the masses on Twitter (or anywhere on the Web for that matter). You might be part of the trending opinion or you may not be. Either way, express your own thoughts and links that appeal to you and your tweets will come naturally. HOWEVER, if your school has a strict social media policy, you will need to follow the standards that are outlined.

Don’t start your tweet with a #hashtag. Put your thoughts out there first. Create a persona for yourself. Hashtags should support your thoughts, not be your thoughts.

Don’t aim for popularity. If you’re authentic, people will follow you. You don’t need to strive for them. Share consistently and they will come.

Share more than links. It’s all too easy to click the tweet button on an article you’re reading and go on your way. But, twitter is about more than link sharing—it’s about conversations. Mix up your conversations so your followers have different experiences with you.

Follow up. A lot of new tweeters think they must thank and follow up with everyone who joins their conversation. It’s a nice habit to get into, but it’s not required nor is it expected. If your account generates a lot of chatter, don’t feel pressured to reach out to everyone.

Keep it light. Try not to lash out on Twitter. It’s easy to want a sounding board when something angers you, but social media is a permanent record of your thoughts. If you’re voicing frustrations over a new policy, a personal relationship, or a person in particular, it could come back to sting you.

Additional ISM articles of interest
ISM Monthly Update for Division Heads Vol. 9 No. 4 For Teachers on Twitter: Hashtags to Follow the Conversation

Additional ISM articles of interest for Gold Consortium members
I&P Vol. 35 No. 1 Faculty and Staff Use of Social Media: Sample Policy

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