Keep calm and TWEET on!


When I first heard about Twitter, I was a little intimidated by its simplicity and perplexed at how it was going to revolutionize how we communicate.  With over 200 million users, Twitter has weaved itself everywhere – whether it’s a ticker at the bottom of a news channel, or online – I can’t seem to get away from the Twitter bird asking you to “follow me”.

So after many years of having a dormant account, I decided to open a new account and explore what I had been missing by following groups like the CDC, WebMD, and public health colleagues. So what did I learn? Twitter is a place to get out real-time information and listen or participate in different conversations. This presents both a challenge and opportunity for Public Health organizations.


Here are some tips to keep calm and tweet on:

  1. Creating an account: Align your profile name, avatar and biography with other content you may have already created on other social media tools.
  2. 140 Characters is more than enough:  It may not seem like it but you have more than enough space to share your message. Don’t get hung up on trying to think of something catchy all the time. Sometimes the fastest way to get information out there is to not re-create the wheel.  Retweet another organization’s tweet, or simply share links with existing content related to your message.
  3. Getting your name out there: If your organization is new to the Twitter world, use your existing networks to encourage them to follow you – whether that’s email, Facebook or embedding your twitter name on newsletters.
  4. Keeping your followers engaged: Build tweeting into your schedule and events post topics that are relevant to your audience.
  5. Learning by doing: Follow organizations that are similar and different from yours.  Take note of their tweeting styles and try it out.

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5 thoughts on “Keep calm and TWEET on!

  1. I am trying to “learn by doing.” This twitter thing is soooooooooo different than other social media tools I have learned in the past. In terms of twitter, I am trying to follow organizations that seem interesting to follow. I have joined the Mercedes Benz USA, Bernard Tyson, Kaiser, and other organizations I cannot remember.

  2. Jennifer, this is such a good post! love the title 🙂

    I think your first point is so true: essentially you want to create a brand for yourself so that when someone googles your entity in one form of social media, they might be able to find other social media avenues of the same name! Very smart. I think I went the opposite direction for this class and made new account names and stuff so that my personal life and school life wouldn’t intersect. 😛

    I also think that your message not to re-create the wheel is a good one to note. I think a lot of times people try to go for the next “viral” post or “most tweeted” tweet, and get fixated on making it whitty, catchy, or whatnot. Sometimes the message can be lost.

    I think your third point is also very true – I even see twitter or instagram handles drawn or printed on restaurant windows, menus, etc. This is definitely transposable to the public health industry and having those little icons can likely go a long way.

  3. All very good points. I keep wondering about the first one though. Is it appropriate to have the same public persona and avitar for Twitter for your non-profit that has a specific mission as your LinkedIn account which you may want to use for a job search?

  4. I really like how straightforward and approachable your blog post is. It is very clear to see what comes first and this gives a nice comprehensive view of how to engage with a pretty overwhelming platform.

  5. Jennifer,
    I really like these 5 simple tips of using twitter and I am trying to “learn by doing” which will obviously take time and trial and error.

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