Public Health

Tweet This: CDC Offers 9 Pages Of Twitter Advice

Since hopping on the Twitter train a while back, we can hardly imagine living without it.

The CDC offers tips on how to use Twitter.
Twitter

We follow smart folks and learn about cool stuff in a hurry. When we have something to tell people, we can pump out a tweet in a matter of seconds. Unlike so much of the Web, Twitter just seems so intuitive.

Maybe that's why we are transfixed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's nine-page primer on Twitter, part of a bigger package on social media. Hey, CDC must know a fair amount about what works on Twitter. The feed CDCemergency has nearly 1.3 million followers, including us. But what's with the nine pages?

OK, so maybe we're underestimating what it takes to cover some of the basic territory for newcomers. And it's clear that the CDC gang is way ahead of the folks at the Food and Drug Administration.

We're happy to give CDC props for some best practices that are well worth sharing:

  • Limit tweets to 120 characters or fewer, to encourage retweeting;
  • Post regularly and on some sort of schedule to attract followers;
  • Shorten URLs with an online tool, such as http://tinyurl.com

Then there's the CDC's advice on "best practices for creating viral tweets." When it comes to contagiousness, who knows better than CDC, right? So the communicable disease experts recommend picking an engaging topic, posting at the right time of day (though they don't say when that might be), asking people to share and saying "please."

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