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Social Networking Guide | Twitter
Twitter: What is it?

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers (followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends, or by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter Web site, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. While the service itself costs nothing to use, accessing through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

What can I do with it?

For business purposes, think of Twitter as a blog. Post often, use it to educate, send alerts, etc. but know that your account will need constant maintenance.
You can link Twitter to your blog, Web site and your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Doing so will drive traffic from one to the other, increasing your internet visibility.
If you start with Twitter and post interesting tweets, others will start to follow you. You can, and should, follow others, as well. If you are working on a subject and need information, you can tweet about it and someone may quickly provide the answers you need. You can tweet about an interesting matter you are working on and others can respond.
Notable usage includes use in campaigning, use in legal proceedings, use in education, use in emergencies, use in protest and politics, use in public relations, and use to survey opinion.

Before setting up your Twitter account, consider the following factors:
  • How many twitter accounts does your agency need? Should you establish a single agency account, an account for each division, or accounts for specific employees? The answers depend on your communications objectives and the tactics you use to reach those objectives.
  • How often should you “tweet”? Again, the answer depends on your objectives and tactics.
  • Permanency of posts: You can delete a tweet if you make a mistake typing it in, but if someone picks it up before you delete it, it’s out there.
  • Tweet often. Maintain your account on a regular basis.
  • Twitter is not for occasional use. For example, we would not use Twitter to announce building closures that occur maybe once or twice a year.
  • Use Twitter to educate your followers.
  • Make it a two-way conversation where possible -- like a blog.
ODOT on twitter tweets to educate its “followers,” to link to items of interest, to send alerts about construction projects, lane closures, and upcoming storms.
Oregon Emergency Management on twitter tweets to educate its followers, send out urgent weather updates and link to articles of interest.

The Oregon National Guard on twitter tweets to link to articles of interest, videos, the department blog and Web site. The Guard also uses the site to educate its followers and pass along tidbits of news items.
Click on the following for more State guidelines.