To Tweet or Not To Tweet

Twitter. It is everywhere. It helped save people after the storms, and it has created a few storms of its own. Check out this week’s CLP Current Event Twitter: To Tweet or Not to Tweet and learn more. In addition to current news articles and stimulating and provocative prompts, you will find connections to the Constitution, how to use Twitter in your classroom, and more.

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.


twit·ter verb
(of a bird) give a call consisting of repeated light tremulous sounds.
synonyms: chirp, chirrup, cheep, tweet, peep, chatter, trill, warble, sing
make a posting on the social media website Twitter.Twit-ter noun
Social networking website that allows users to publish short messages known as tweets that are visible to other users. These messages can only be 140 characters or less in length. Uses for twitter may include basic communication between friends and family, a way to publicize an event, company’s marketing device, politician’s communication tool, and so on. Twitter was founded in 2006; as of 2008 Twitter was estimated to have between 4 and 5 million users, and was the third most popular social networking site after Facebook and MySpace.

Adapted from


News Sources

The Anatomy of a Trump Twitter Rant: From Scotland Yard to “Chain Migration”
by Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, Sept. 15, 2017
CLP says: partisan but considers what fuels the President’s tweets.

Twitter Prepares Tweetstorm Feature
by Paul Rubens, CCM High-Tech, Sept. 11, 2017
CLP: this could change the way Twitter is used!

Using Twitter to Save a Newborn From a Flood
by Marina Koren, The Atlantic, Aug. 28, 2017
Search and rescue is evolving fast in the social-media age …
CLP says: short, solid, good article

A professor tweets about Trump and Harvey. Like others, he’s no longer a professor
by Linda Robertson, Miami Herald, August 31, 2017
… think twice before posting provocative comments on social media …
CLP: tweeting and responsibility

Can Twitter Aid Disaster Response New Research Examines How
by Penn Sate, Science Dailey – WuFoo, August 18, 2017
“… investigating innovative ways to use (500 million tweets daily) to help communities respond …”

All the President’s tweets
by Amanda Wills and Alysha Love,, ongoing updates
President(‘s) … Twitter account as leader of the United States …
CLP says: find them here. Tweets as primary sources.

CNN Poll: Voters Want Trump to Stop Tweeting
by Theodore Bunker, Newsmax, Aug. 8, 2017.
The majority of American voters think Trump’s tweeting habit is a problem. … (but) mixed on whether his tweets effectively “share his views on important issues,” …
CLP says: poll numbers found here. If you like numbers, check out Who Tweets and How Often in Background & More.


Questions to Consider

  • Should leaders in government and other fields use Twitter? Why or why not?
  • How has Twitter changed social media? How has Twitter encouraged social change? How might Twitter cause loss of positive self-image?
  • Why does President Trump use Twitter? What are the advantages and disadvantages of tweets from the President?
  • What is Twitter? What are the requirements to tweet?
  • How does Twitter’s 140 limit on characters affect communication?
  • Is Twitter a generational mode of communication? Is there a gender difference in those who tweet?
  • Does twitter simplify issues or make them more complicated?
  • Is the value of immediate communication contradicted by not enough time to think through tweets?
  • What are the etiquette rules on Twitter? How might a tweet cause the tweeter to lose his/her job?
  • What changes would you make to Twitter to advance its effectiveness?
  • What are alternatives to tweeting?
  • What is defamation? How does defamation relate to insults on Twitter? Who is responsible for creating policy for the responsible use of Twitter? Is this a matter of law or responsibility?
  • How do news organizations use Twitter? How does the government use Twitter? How do political parties use Twitter?
  • How might Twitter be used for educational purposes?
  • Is Twitter, a private company, protected under the First Amendment “free press” clause? What rules apply to content on Twitter?
  • Is tweeting a form of fact checking? Is tweeting an opportunity to distribute incorrect facts? How are tweets checked for accuracy? What responsibilities do we have to respond to tweets with background information, or correction of untruths?


Background and More

University of Missouri study: Tweeting during debates increases political knowledge
by Alisa Nelson, Missourinet (Univ of Missouri), Sept. 5, 2017
CLP notes: positive educational use of twitter

20 Essential Tips for Better Twitter Etiquette: Twitter Manners 101
by Jeff Goins, Internet writer.
Example: Refrain from flaming; use your words to encourage and lift up rather than to tear down; never underestimate the power of a tweet.
CLP recommended reading!

Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest
by Zeynep Tufekci, Yale University Press. May 16, 2017.
In Twitter and Tear Gas a scholar-activist explores the links between technology and mass protest.
CLP recommended reading: an insightful and worthwhile book review on Twitter’s perils and plusses.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…That is the Question
by Dana Brownlee,, Feb. 22, 2017
… whether leaders should gravitate to these newer, hipper, quicker communication modes … One obvious risk … impulse control …
CLP says: a provocative piece but written for a corporate/workplace audience

Social Media update — 24% of internet users (21% of all U.S. adults) use Twitter …
by Pew Research Center – Internet & Technology Nov. 11, 2016
CLP says: about social media generally including commentary about Twitter.

The American Idea in 140 Characters
by Vann R. Newkirk II, March 24, 2016, The Atlantic.
In 10 years of existence, Twitter has given rise to forces that are completely reshaping the course of political dialog.
CLP says: interesting, straightforward overview

Twitter at 10: the good, the bad and the ‘where does it go from here?
by Gary Marshall, Techradar, March 21, 2016
CLP says: good overview and intro

On Its 10th Birthday, A Short History of Twitter in Tweets
by Julia Greenberg, Wired, March 21, 2016.
As it enters its awkward pre-teen years … Twitter has become a powerful force, but it wasn’t always that way.
CLP finds a fun, short history in Tweets

Who Tweets When and How Often
by Pew Research Center Journalism & Media Staff, November 12, 2011
CLP says: interesting graphs

Twitter Co-founder Jack Dorsey On Using Twitter For Social Change
by Shams Kazi, Impact-Huffington Post, Updated May 25, 2011
During the Iranian elections, when news … was hard to find, people … used Twitter to get news out …
CLP says: don’t let its past-due date dissuade you from reading

Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society?
By Pro Con
CLP says: if you are looking for history, use of pros/cons, then go here


Lesson Plans

Tweeting History: A Digital Literacy Lesson, grades 9-12, Education World
Students use history knowledge, critical thinking and digital literacy skills to tweet clues and guess the historical figure, period or event related to those clues.
CLP says: this lesson is about a method to review other content and identifies a positive use for Twitter in the process.

The Twitter Guide For Teachers
by Christoforos Pappas, eLearning Industry, August 6, 2013
Using Twitter in the classroom, videos, how to create an account, terminology, etc.
CLP says: it may be an oldie but it’s a goodie

A Lesson Using Twitter Must Have a Social Component
by Michael Catelli for Teachthought
CLP says: great stuff especially #3 Have an Ongoing Class Twitter Chat Around An Essential Question

Using Twitter For eLearning: 8 Pros and 6 Cons To Consider
by Christoforos Pappas, eLearning Industry, May 11, 2015
CLP says: exactly as its name implies


Constitutional and Legal Connections

You’ll Never Guess This One Crazy Thing Governs Online Speech. Hint: It’s not the First Amendment!
by Kate Klonik, Future Tense, Aug. 24, 2016
… corporations, like Twitter, are not covered by the First Amendment and can curate or even censor speech without violating the law …
CLP notes: important distinction!

Trump’s Blocking of Twitter Users Violates U.S. Constitution: Rights Institute
by Dustin Volz, Technology News/Reuters, June 6, 2017
Twitter likened to a modern form of town hall meeting or public comment periods for government agency proposals, both venues where U.S. law requires even-handed treatment of speech.
CLP asks: consider what is different about this and Klonik’s Future Tense/Slate article above.

Courts Considered Trump’s Twitter in Ruling
by Joseph P. Williams, U.S. News & World Report, June 12, 2017
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the executive order singles out Muslims — and points to the president’s Tweets as evidence.
CLP notes: potential disadvantage of the President’s prolific Tweeting. Advantage of Presidential Tweets might be “Only way for me to get the truth out!” See Trump: Only ‘Fake News Media’ and ‘Enemies’ Want Me to Stop Tweeting by Jordan Fabian, The Hill, Aug. 1, 2017, 


Oregon & the Northwest

Why a few Oregon legislators swear by Twitter – and the rest don’t use it
by Jacy Marmaduke, The Oregonian/OregonLive, July 16, 2015
CLP notes: a tad dated but interesting.


Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.17 Examine the development of political parties and interest groups and their affect on events, issues, and ideas.
8.21 Analyze important political and ethical values such as freedom, democracy, equality, and justice embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights
8.26. Examine a controversial event, issue, or problem from more than one perspective.

HS.28 Evaluate how governments interact at the local, state, tribal, national and global levels.
HS.33 Explain the role of government in various current events.
HS.34 Explain the responsibilities of citizens (e.g., vote, pay taxes).
HS.35 Examine the pluralistic realities of society (e.g., race poverty, gender, and age), recognizing issues of equality, and evaluating need for change.
HS.57 Define, research, and explain an event, issue, problem or phenomenon and its significance to society.
HS.58 Gather, analyze, use and document information from various sources, distinguishing facts, opinions, inferences, biases, stereotypes, and persuasive appeals.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.
HS.63. Engage in informed and respectful deliberation and discussion of issues, events, and ideas.


We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 28: What is the relationship of the United States to other nations in the world?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 29: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 30: How might citizens participate in civic affairs?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 5, Lesson 29: How does the First Amendment protect free expression?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 33: What does it mean to be a citizen?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 34: What is the importance of civic engagement to American Constitutional democracy?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 37: What key challenges does the United States face in the future?