Tips for Committee Tweeting
A committee can use Twitter to keep Instruction Section members and others in the profession informed about topics related to their charge. This might involve sharing links to press releases, articles, technologies, blog posts, and more. Instruction Section Twitter accounts can also be used to promote ACRL and IS news and publications. The committee members should be mindful of ALA and ACRL policies regarding communications and political discussion (see http://www.ala.org/acrl/resources/policies/chapter15#15seventeen).
If a group is maintaining the Twitter account, members should sign up for 1, 2, or 4-week shifts to manage the account (the ideal both for ease of management and avoiding Twitter fatigue is two weeks). There should be a primary and backup Twitter manager for each time period, and the backup will support the primary if they are unable to post and/or monitor the stream.
During the period the primary Twitter manager is in charge of the Twitter stream, he or she should post to twitter at least five times each week with a frequency of once every other day at a minimum. These are minimal expectations and can be significantly exceeded. The individual posting to Twitter represents the entire committee and therefore should not express their own personal thoughts and opinions. Tweets should be relevant to the charge of the committee and to the ACRL Instruction Section.
Twitter and other social media accounts need to be created using a valid email address. If the committee has a generic email account (not a listserv address), this might be a good email address to use. Otherwise, consider using the email address of the committee chair. This email address will need to be changed, however, when a new committee chair comes on board.
Following: The Twitter account should only follow other organizations and individuals related to libraries and/or the mission of the committee. Following does not constitute an endorsement of any kind, but it should be done judiciously.
Retweets: Committee members can retweet posts from other Twitter users who write about topics relevant to the committee charge. Members should not retweet tweets that offer a strong opinion or that might be inflammatory or offensive to others. It is OK if a retweeted link promotes a particular opinion, but the tweeted summary of a link itself should not. That said, retweeting does not constitute an endorsement of any kind.
@Replies and Direct messages: Twitter managers should read and respond to @replies and direct messages that require answers within one business day.
Other technologies: Committees should consider using a shared social media management tool like Hootsuite for scheduling messages and keeping track of @replies and direct messages. A social bookmarking tool like Diigo or even a shared Google Doc will be useful for collaboratively gathering possible resources to tweet.
Assessment: Possible measures of the success of a Twitter account include the number of followers and the number of retweets, @replies and direct messages. These measure the reach and value of tweets. Committees should also assess the coherence of the Twitter profile’s voice, especially if multiple committee members are managing the profile.
Written for the Instructional Technologies Committee by Meredith Farkas, Committee Co-Chair, January 31, 2014.