How to write a good tweet

Linda Barclay Isles
Saturday 10 February 2024

There are certain conventions and styles for tweets:

  • The conversational style, as in “What I had for breakfast” etc., fragmented and makes use of abbreviations.
  • The official, or substantive, style, written in complete sentences often with a link to another document.
  • A middle ground, more informal than 2., but still containing important information a link and relevant hashtags

Note that abbreviations and textspeak, except in the case of very informal tweets, are less likely to be read.

When sharing collaborative research on Twitter you can ‘tag’ in relevant other people with their handles (username) or research institutes/funders to your tweet – this involves adding their username in to your tweet, by doing so you leverage their audiences on Twitter and increase the opportunities for people to see your research.

Below are some examples of good practice for tweets taken from the University’s Twitter – as you can see these link to news stories (with links to the research paper) and tagging in of relevant users and organisations related to the research:

Chocolate is eggcellent for birds

Animal behaviour

New RSE fellows

Syria Studies on the BBC

Examples of academics and institutes sharing research effectively on Twitter: Muge Cevik, James Rae, Maria Dornelas, Third Generation Project, Centre for Syria Studies. 

With more content being created than ever before it can often be hard to get your posts to stand out on a news feed. However, there is some best practice advice you can follow to help increase the engagement of your posts.

Users respond better to posts which contain either an image or a video, it is also a good way to make your post stand out on a page. Always try to include a relevant image or video on a post. Make sure that you have permission to use the media and give credit if necessary.

If you are struggling to find appropriate media try one of the following:

  • The University photo gallery provides a range of St Andrews photography.
  • Get creative and try taking your own photos using your phone.
  • Although Corporate Communications is against using stock images on websites, they can be added to social media and blog posts. Sites like Unsplash provide free, ready-to-use images.

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