City of Seattle Twitter Standard


Twitter is a micro blogging tool that allows account holders to tweet up to 140 characters of information to followers. By procuring and maintaining Twitter accounts, City departments will communicate information directly to their Twitter followers, alerting them to news and directing them to and the CityLink network for more information. These standards should be used in conjunction with the City's Social Media Use Policy.


  • Department communications personnel shall hold and maintain their department's Twitter account.
  • Each department will have only one Twitter account, unless otherwise approved by the Mayor's communications director. Account information, including usernames and passwords, shall be registered with the DoIT Citywide Web Team.
  • The department's Twitter bio will read: (Department name) Comments, list of followers subject to public disclosure (RCW 42.56). If appropriate the following will be added: This site is not monitored. Call 911 for emergencies.
  • Twitter usernames shall begin with "Seattle" (SeattlePD, SeattleFire and SeattleDoT). In cases where the username is too many characters, begin with "SEA" (SEACityLight).
  • Department Twitter account backgrounds will share a standardized City of Seattle logo provided by the DoIT Citywide Web team.
  • Twitter accounts shall serve three primary purposes:
    • Get emergency information out quickly
    • Promote City-sponsored events
    • Refer followers to content hosted at
  • Information posted on Twitter shall conform to the policies and procedures of the department posting the information. Tweets shall be relevant, timely and informative.
  • Twitter content shall mirror information presented on CityLink Seattle and other existing information dissemination mechanisms. Communications personnel shall ensure that information is posted correctly the first time. Twitter does not allow for content editing.


  • Seattle DoIT personnel shall be responsible for archiving Twitter posts. Initial policy will be to archive Twitter postings within the department's CityLink blog hosted by City servers. CityLink Twitter archives will not be visible to the public, but will be accessible for public document retention purposes.
  • Communications personnel shall be responsive to those constituents who communicate via Twitter's @reply or direct message functions. Communication with followers will be timely and consistent with existing protocols. Either DoIT or department communications personnel will maintain an electronic record or printout on a quarterly basis a record of the list of followers and @reply messages for purposes of public records retention.

Bill Schrier, Chief Technology Officer, City of Seattle
October 2, 2009