9 rules of etiquette for academic Twitter use

Adjunct Professor Anne G. Barretta describes how she’s learned as much about Twitter use from her students as they’ve learned from her

Many CIOs are active on Twitter.

During last year’s Super Bowl, I gave my public relations students an assignment to tweet their reactions to advertisements and identify persuasive techniques used in the ads before, during, and after the game.

The assignment was very successful and generated a great deal of discussion on how companies use Twitter and other social media to brand their products, generate cost-free publicity, and elicit feedback from their customers.

I had used Twitter in class before to share links to news stories, trade publication articles, or simply to update the class on assignments. Last winter, I even used it en route to campus to cancel class during the many snowstorms we experienced in the Northeast!

Using social media to interact with this demographic (18- to 24-year-olds) can often be challenging. My students use their own language and assume everyone else understands it, and perhaps they do. But in my writing classes, I always caution them not to use jargon, colloquialisms, or slang unless they’re absolutely positive their target audience will understand their meaning.

But to borrow a cliché (another thing I always advise my students not to do, but which works here), you can teach an old dog new tricks. I always say I learn as much from my students as they learn from me, and Twitter is a perfect example.

I’ve put together a cheat sheet of Twitter etiquette for my students, and I think it applies to all professional Twitter use, as well.

(Next page: Twitter etiquette for academic use)

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