Before You Tweet…

Screenshot of composing a tweet

It’s only 280 characters and an image or three. How hard can it be? A well-crafted tweet takes time and thoughtfulness, as all social media-savvy communicators know. For those just getting started – or who simply need a refresher or reference list! – here are some best practices to consider before you press “Tweet.”

  • Have you checked your grammar and spelling? Is the copy clear and easy to read?
  • Does the tweet state what you want people to do and give them a way to do that? (Ex: A link to read more, a link to register)
  • How does what you’re sharing connect to your department or unit? If you don’t tell people, they won’t know! (Ex: “our faculty member” or “English student Kathryn Kennedy” or “program alum Quantá Holden” or “our course on…” or “an event/guest speaker we are hosting”)
  • Can any person you’re tweeting about be tagged? And if so, are they active? (Note: I generally consider activity within the last six months, and make sure there’s nothing that could be reputationally damaging in what they regularly share.)
  • Are there other departments, Duke entities or collaborators (universities, colleagues, journals, funding agencies) who should be tagged?
  • Have you included alt text for the image to serve users with screen readers?

We’ve found that a list like this can also be helpful in illustrating to non-communicators (i.e. your academic bosses and partners) all the work that goes into what may appear to be a simple type-and-post process. Happy tweeting!

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