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How To Send A Tweet

How To Send A Tweet

When you're new to social media, composing a message on one of the most popular social media platforms can be somewhat intimidating. This article will help newcomers compose a tweet, and offer some insight to new features for the veteran social media user.

In law enforcement social media, or "LESM," every agency that I'm aware of uses Twitter as a staple of their program. In fact, I find more agencies which do not use Facebook, which is the dominating platform in the world, than those who don't use the 140 character-limiting platform.

Twitter is one of the most difficult platforms for newcomers to learn and use. I also have found it is one platform in which users who may not heavily use it tend to forget some of the basics. So whether you are a newcomer or a sometimes user, here's some quick training to help you out.

The Tweet Box

If you are logged into your account and using a desktop or laptop computer, click on the rectangular button marked "Tweet" on the upper right of the page.

If you are on a mobile device, simply click on the icon of a square and a quail pen on the upper right of your mobile app.

A pop-up box will appear, where you can now compose your tweet. Remember, your message can be up to 140 characters, with one exception. If you add a link to another website, you will only be able to type 117 characters.

Adding A Photo or Video

​To add a photo or video, click on the camera icon. On a computer, you will be able to select a photo or video stored in your files. On a mobile device, it's a little different. If you click on the camera icon, you'll see three icons; PHOTO, VIDEO, and LIVE. 

By clicking on "PHOTO" or "VIDEO," this will allow you to take a photo or record a video to use in your tweet. Keep in mind; your video will need to be less than 2 minutes and 20 seconds. You will have the option to clip the video to make it work on Twitter.

If you are taking a photo or recording a video, I strongly encourage you to use the landscape mode, as opposed to the portrait mode. If you're not sure what I'm talking about - the landscape mode is lengthwise or wide, and the portrait mode is thin, or straight up-and-down.

If you click on "LIVE," the Periscope app will open on your device so that you can stream a live video to your followers. Periscope is a live-streaming video app owned by Twitter for purposes of reaching out to the world through a live video feed. 

Underneath the icons, you'll see your camera roll. Tap on a photo or video, and it will load into the tweet.

Adding A GIF

​A Gif (pronounced jiff - just like the peanut butter brand) is a small animated photo file. Click on the GIF icon to insert it into your tweet.

Using a gif can captivate your follower's attention and draw them into reading your message. As with all the techniques in law enforcement social media, it's imperative your message stands above the "noise" on the platforms.

Adding A Poll

​To get your community to interact with you, which in turn increases engagement, consider making a poll tweet. An example of a poll is: 

Q: What kind of information posted on social media from our department is most important to you:

  • Crime news, photos, and videos - Inside the department: 
  • Photos, videos & stories - Legal updates and education
  • General community news

You will see the Poll icon, which is a vertical line and three parallel lines, to the right of the GIF icon. Click this icon to create a poll. 

The cursor will default to the first answer text field. If you click on the text area above the answer field, you can enter your question. After you've done this, go back to the answer field area, where you can enter up to 4 possible answers. Your answers will need to be less than 25 characters. 

The default time frame the poll will be available for people to participate is one day, however; Click on "1 day, " and you can lower it down to 5 minutes or raise it up to 7 days.

Adding A Location

I don't encourage adding a location to your Tweets. If you do add your location, make sure to turn it off in the settings, because your location will be added to every tweet once you turn this feature on.

Adding Hashtags

​I can't say it any other way - use hashtags in your tweets. They increase your presence on social media and establish you as an authority on this specific information or topic, providing your publishing quality tweets. 

Although there is no limit to how many hashtags you use in a tweet, the general rule is not to use more than three hashtags. 

Consider the use of hashtags as a force multiplier. When you tweet, only your followers will see your tweet (unless someone simply visits your Twitter feed, but doesn't follow you). So if you have ten followers, it's safe to say only ten people saw your tweet. 

Now let's say you add the hashtag for law enforcement social media, which is #LESM. Your tweet would be seen by anyone who is monitoring or checking the hashtag. That can be several thousands of people.

Use Handles

When tagging others in your tweets, use their Twitter handle. The only time you should spell out their name is if they are not on Twitter. 

When you use handles, you notify those individuals or departments that you've included them in a message. This serves a couple of purposes;

  • It affords them the opportunity to see your message in their notifications tab and consider retweeting your message
  • You are helping to bring awareness to their presence on Twitter
  • You are notifying other users of the people or departments involved in an incident

Send It!

​After you have checked your grammar, spelling, hashtags, and usernames, click the Tweet button to send out your message.

We've added a graphic in this article for you to download and keep, to help remind you of some of the topics discussed in this article.

If you follow the format we've provided, you'll find composing your tweets less time consuming.

About The Twitter One Series

We have been requested to post more of the "basics" of social media for law enforcement officers who have been newly assigned to their department's social media teams or units. This is our first article for this series and we hope it helps everyone. We're not sure what the frequency of the articles will be, but we will do our best to build up our library. If you have any suggestions or would like to help, send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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