Twitter Protocols for Education Professionals

No matter what environment you are in, there are social protocols to figure out and abide by.  The same goes for our online communities.

Twitter for education has protocols (or “norms”) that are not normally stated overtly, but that are important for maintaining professional relationships on the platform.  In the list below, we have shared some of those protocols.  Do you have more to add?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

In general, it is important to remember that when education professionals are using Twitter to self-direct their personal professional learning, they want to find value in the time they are able to spend online.

  1. Should I have different accounts for personal and professional tweeting?

This is a question that has been pondered on social media in the past.

Consider the purpose of your Twitter account.  If you are tweeting with your class or school, you may want to consider an account for that role.  If you are tweeting as an education professional separate from a specific group of students, you might think about it differently.

Here is some further thinking on this topic.

I don’t want two Twitter accounts

An example of a personal/professional account and a classroom teacher account (tweeting with young students) by the same person.


2. What should I tweet about?

Again, many educators have considered this question.

Here are some fun resources that will help you to consider this question.

What should Educators Tweet About?

Twitter as a Creative Outlet


3. Avoid self-promotion on Twitter

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 5.28.02 AM

If you were at a social event with your peers, would you be the loud and obnoxious one in the room, constantly talking about yourself and how wonderful you are?

Don’t be that person on Twitter!

Of course everyone wants you to share, particularly on Twitter chats as you are answering the questions.  However, something YOU have written on your blog is NOT the answer to every question!  And while we are using capitals, capital letters mean “shouting” online, so you do not need to use them in all of your tweets!

It’s more important to think of Twitter as a place where you can add value rather than a place where you need to be noticed.


Shared by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano on
Shared by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano on


4. Respect the filters!

There is a massive amount of information flowing on Twitter.  Learning to set up filters so that you can sort through that information and find things that are valuable to your practice is an important skill.  Please respect the filters people are using and avoid tagging people on your photos and on your posts unless they have specifically asked for the information.


5. Self-proclaimed “Twitter Pros” usually are not – Pros that is!

Be a critical thinker about advice.  Lurk on Twitter and watch.  Just because someone claims to be a “pro” and know it all, doesn’t mean they actually do.  Anyone can pretend to be anything on Twitter.  Have a critical eye to what is true, and teach your students to do the same.


6. Relax and Be Yourself

You will connect with many wonderful people on Twitter.  Many of these people will become your friends as you learn together, and you will meet many of them face-to-face.  Authentic relationships do thrive online, for many of the same reasons they thrive in f2f environments.

Be who you are, share generously, give more than you receive.

Learning Activities

  1. What suggestions can you add to this list?  We welcome your suggestions in the blog comments.



Image Credit: marc falardeau via Compfight cc


Further Resources:

Twitter Tips for Educators (from Twitter)

Kathy Schrock’s Twitter for Teachers

Twitter in 60 Seconds

Beyond Twitter: Connecting Virtually at Conferences

Twitter: PD How and When You Want it! (Lori Armstrong)

Twitter infographics

Twitter eBooks

Anatomy of a Tweet







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s