USC Annenberg Media Resources

Best practices for Twitter

Social media is a storytelling tool. Be sure to think about how best to use it for every story you are telling. Before tweeting or posting to any platform, you MUST check in on the #socialmedia Slack channel and say what you are doing. ALWAYS check previous posts to make sure you are not duplicating work. For more on social media guidelines, see our Universal Style Guide.


  1. Accuracy and transparency are important above all else. This means we MUST:
    1. Proofread ALL TWEETS
    2. Confirm news before tweeting about it
    3. Cite our source if we are going off a report from other news outlets (ex.: citing AP for election calls, Daily Trojan for an exclusive report on USG)
  2. Do not delete tweets!
    1. To issue a correction to a tweet containing a factual error, reply to the tweet, delete @annenbergmedia, then re-write the tweet with the correct information
    2. There may be rare circumstances when a tweet needs to be deleted. If this is the case, it must have faculty approval
    3. If you make a typo that is not a factual error, just let it live. Do not delete or correct the tweet
  3. Do not use colons before the link on tweets
  4. Use hashtags sparingly: Hashtags are kind of passé on Twitter unless they are part of a trending topic or event. Look for such trends and use hashtags in those cases, but otherwise avoid them
  5. When tweeting opinion pieces, always label as opinion or otherwise indicate it’s an opinion piece or a review
  6. Do not tag @annenbergmedia when tweeting from the field. This wastes characters, and social editors can monitor your tweets using lists
  7. All tweets should be comprehensive and should stand on their own. This means when live tweeting, use at least last names to give context of who is speaking, etc. Tweets should not be continuations of the tweet before them, especially if they are not done as replies

When tweeting a post from another platform, ALWAYS rewrite the tweet text. Automatically generated text rarely sounds authentic or conversational. Tweets generated by Anchor are a good example

Live-tweeting tips
When you go out to report, you should also be tweeting:

  • Prepare when you can. Write down (on paper) the correct spellings of the names and titles of any key subjects who will be there. Do research on all relevant Twitter handles to make sure you have them exactly right.
  • Include a photo whenever possible.
  • Use most relevant hashtag for the event to join the bigger conversation.
  • Tweet out key facts or quotes and follow up with updates.
  • Be accurate!


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