Twitter allows groups and individuals to stay connected through the exchange of short status messages. Twitter encourages frequent updates, engagement and "retweeting" content. Twitter account managers should be able to respond with some immediacy and engage in conversation. Before creating a Twitter account, be sure to read Considering Social Media and complete the Social Media Planning Guide to see if Twitter is the right fit for your needs and resources.
- When you upload your user image, it will only show as a 48×48 pixel avatar when seen via Twitter on the web or a client, but users can click on the image to see a larger version. So, instead of uploading the 48×48 image, upload a larger version (e.g., 300x300px), Also, be sure it is either an image in the public domain or an image that you own the rights to.
- Twitter provides some default themes and allows a great degree of color customization for profile pages. You can also upload a custom background.
- If you are representing a Tufts organization or entity, be sure to include the full name and description in the Bio field
- Since Twitter is a 140-character format, links can take up a lot of real estate. You may want to use a link shortening service, such as bit.ly, to conserve space (it will generate a link such as bit.ly/abc123). If you view a tweet with a shortened link, be sure you trust the source before clicking on a shortened link. Some spammers use bit.ly links to get people to click on sites that could include inappropriate or malicious content.
- "Retweeting" is the primary way of sharing content over Twitter. RTs, as they are called, are typically formatted as such: "RT @TuftsUniversity: Hello world!" If you are posting content you would like to be retweeted, be sure to make your tweet short enough to allow for "RT @yourusername" to be prefaced to the beginning. Use judgment in what you retweet, as you are sharing content on behalf of the university.
- As you gain followers, it is in general good practice to "follow back," in order to build relationships and community. However, as in all aspects of your social media usage, use your judgment. Focus on your community of interest. If you are followed by spammers, you can block them. If you are followed by accounts focusing on inappropriate material, it is not in good judgment to follow them back. You can’t control who follows you (unless you block them, which should only be done in the case of obvious spam accounts and even then it is not a requirement), but you can control who you follow.
- If you are curious to see what people are tweeting about your department or organization, go to search.twitter.com and type in a keyword. You can receive an RSS feed that will provide updated search results on that keyword so you can monitor conversations on Twitter about your brand. Listening is key in social media. Use your judgment if and when you choose to respond. Many Twitter applications such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic allow you to set up standing searches for specific terms.
- Remember, unless you have explicitly protected your account, all of your updates are public and findable.