Using Twitter to Promote Prevention



Date of Publication
March, 2012

Twitter is a social networking tool that allows people to share short messages instantly. Messages are called Tweets and must be equal to or less than 140 characters. You can easily share information and see what others share.

Read Twitter 101 to get started!

Using Twitter

It's up to each individual and/or organization to determine which social networking tools are most appropriate and meet the desired outcomes. However, there are some general reasons why it may be useful to join the Twitterverse*!

  • Keep up with news and pop culture.
    • Have you noticed over the last few years how some large social movements have used Twitter to organize? This is tool that has the capability to engage folks!
    • Are youth or other groups in your community utilizing Twitter to communicate and stay in touch? Find out!
  • Share links to your website, resources, events... anything!
    • Want to share the training, meeting, or event info easily and quickly to all your volunteers and community members? You could Tweet it!
  • Connect with others in the field doing similar work. This is a great space to network!
    • At an exciting training or conference? Share experiences and bits of knowledge with your colleagues through Tweets!
  • Create a presence for sexual violence prevention in the Twitterverse.
    • Use hashtags to start a trend. We have seen many pop culture events and social norms end up as trending topics and they are not always the message we want to send, so get out there and make your own trends that promote positive prevention messages!
    • For example, for this year's SAAM campaign folks are encouraged to Tweet messages of community action by using the hashtag #InMyCommunity.

*What's the Twitterverse, you ask? Read "Welcome To the Twitterverse" from NPR's social media strategist to learn more about their take on the growth of Twitter.

Twitter Basics

It's time to learn the essentials of Twitter! You can read through the Using Twitter

  • Watch short videos on the layout of the homepage and how to create a tweet!
  • View screen shots to learn about mentioning Twitter users, following trending topics, searching for users to follow, sending direct messages, and more!

Get Started!

  • Create an account
  • Search for keywords, hashtags, trending topics, or users to see what the buzz is at the moment
  • Start following Twitter users that interest you. You can browse the followers of Twitter users you like to find more folks to follow. Here are a few suggestions:
    • Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs - @WCSAP
    • Washington's Sexual Assault Awareness Month - @WASAAM
    • National Sexual Violence Resource Center - @NSVRC
    • Prevent Connect, a prevention project of CALCASA - @PreventConnect

Twitter Glossary

There's a lot of Twitter lingo that can be found in the glossary. Here are some of the highlights of very commonly used terms and symbols:

  • The @ symbol is used to mention a Twitter user. Type the @ symbol anywhere in the Tweet to mention another user and link to their profile.
  • The icon is the Reply option. Once you click on the button, you will see the @ symbol at the beginning of the Tweet.
  • The icon is the Retweet option. This allows you to share another Twitter user's tweets with all of your followers. Once you click the button it automatically sends the Tweet out. If you want to retweet and add your own comments, type the letters RT then add the user's name using the @ symbol and then copy and paste the content into a new Tweet.
  • The icon is used to mark another Twitter user's tweet as a favorite. This allows the other user to know that you liked their Tweet. This is a way to help promote the work and resources that others in our field are sharing on Twitter.
  • The # symbol is called a hashtag. This is used to track topics through keywords.
  • Trending is the term for words that have been marked with a hashtag and have become very popular with many Twitter users.
  • Follow is the term for subscribing to another Twitter user's Tweets; their updates will show up on your homepage. Additionally, every user that follows you will see your Tweets on their homepage. Following is a way to stay up-to-date with information from people or organizations you are interested in.


  • What information is personal? What is work related? Is some both?
  • Do you want your presence to be personal? For work? Or can it be both?
  • Does your organization have social media or communication policies to consult?
  • Learn about public and protected tweets