Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@outlook.com) is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain.

One Simple Way To Make Your Tweets More Credible

One Simple Way To Make Your Tweets More Credible

By Dennis D. McDonald

Rule of thumb: make it easy for the reader to verify your tweet!

Recently I saw in my Twitter stream a statement, unsupported by a link, that the American Medical Association had come out against the Republicans' repeal/replace bill for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I was busy preparing for a conference call but was eager to see the source of the news. Members of my family know what it's like to fear loss of health insurance and I was eager to learn more.

I could not quickly find the link either in my Twitter stream or via a cursory Google search.

Following my conference call I went back and was able to locate the original source, but only after some digging. There were many mentions of the AMA position but they were all highly selective. I needed to see the original since Twitter and "spin" these days are like two peas in a pod.

An easy way to improve your credibility on Twitter is to make it easy for Twitter readers to check out the sources for what you say in your tweets. Here are three simple examples:

  1. If you mention a news item, especially if it's fresh or controversial, include a link to your source.
  2. If you quote someone on your tweet, include a date for the quotation as well as a link to a public source verifying the quote.
  3. If you quote someone in a graphic attached to your tweet, be sure to include the date, source, and link in the graphic itself. Even though the link may not be "clickable" it's possible that the graphic will become separate from the tweet. Including the source info in the graphic will be helpful should the graphic get passed along to others.

The same is true for reporting numbers or statistics, especially when they are time sensitive or subject to change. Again, don't make your users “jump through hoops” to verify what you're trying to communicate.

Looking at things from the other side, don't be offended if someone questions your sources. The requestor may just want to confirm what you're saying or my just want to dig deeper. Even if the requestor is opposed to your point of view, don't resist providing more information under the mistaken notion that making further research cumbersome or difficult aids your side or point of view. If what you post is true then by all means be ready, willing, and happy to provide backup.

Finally, if someone questions your sources, don't respond with, "Just Google It." If you do that, you're automatically on the road to losing the argument since there is no guarantee that the user’s Google search will result in your sources being retrieved and inspected.

Copyright © 2017 by Dennis D. McDonald. Revised and updated March 8, 2017

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