10 best practices for Twitter for journalists

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become part of a reporter’s toolkit. Yet research shows that media outlets and journalists tend to approach these Web 2.0 services with a 1.0 mindset.

In an attempt to help newsrooms, journalism professors Susana Herrera and José Luis Requejo have put together a list of 10 best practice guidelines for using Twitter.

The article is published in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies (subscription required).

For the guidelines, the scholars looked at the academic research on Twitter and studied the official accounts of leading news outlets such as The New York Times, the BBC, The Washington Post and National Public Radio.

The 10 best practices they identified are:

  1. Have a voice that is credibile and reliable, but also personal and human
  2. Be generous in retweets and credit others
  3. Link to external material rather than simply broadcast your own content
  4. Listen and respond to others
  5. Provide information that adds value
  6. Seek out the views of users
  7. Promote the most interesting and useful content for audiences
  8. Use hashtags created by the Twitter community
  9. Include multimedia with tweets
  10. Link to other networks where a conversation is happening, such as Facebook

The paper includes examples of tweets that reflect the best practices above so you can see how they are implemented by the various news organisations.

(Full disclosure: I am collaborating with Susana Herrera on a research project on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson


  • Frithjof says:

    Thank you for this excellent list! I find it interesting that Journalists working in more dynamic forms like radio have adopted Social Media so much more than print.
    Our local newspapers are rapidly declining in quality and distribution – in the same time neither the publisher nor the content producers seem to be prepared to move beyond broadcasting links to their content.
    Print news media (at least locally) seems to be determined to become a victim of the Social Media Revolution rather than using it as a means to survive.
    Do you agree? May be my perspective is too much based on my local view (BC Interior)

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