You only get 160 characters for your Twitter bio, so why take up most of them with a long, boilerplate disclaimer about how no one ought infer any personal opinions from your tweets?
Today the folks at Muck Rack, a website that aggregates journalists’ tweets, have created a standard disclaimer page journalists can simply link to in their Twitter bios. Journalists can insert http://SeeDisclaimer.com (24 characters) or http://disclaimify.com (22 characters), which links to a page with a 134-character full disclaimer:
“Retweets, links, likes and follows are not endorsements. Views are their own, and do not necessarily reflect those of their employer.”
The page has just the one standard disclaimer, and you can’t add to it or change it. ”We haven’t seen that there’s too much need for people to customize,” Greg Galant, CEO of Muck Rack owner Sawhorse Media, tells me. “It looks like everyone wants to disclaim the same things.”
Now that you have some new free space to work with in your Twitter bio, what should you do with it? Galant suggests two main elements, other than name and job title, that any journalist should include in his or her bio:
- What subjects you cover and tweet about. “That’s going to make people more likely to follow you,” Salant said.
- How the public can contact you (especially for breaking news).
For an example of someone doing both, see The New York Times’ Brian Stelter.
Earlier: Why the “not an endorsement” line doesn’t work (Poynter) | Journalists share disclaimers about what they endorse on Twitter, Facebook (Poynter) | AP issues staff guidelines on retweets, no “personal opinions” allowed or implied (Poynter) | Oregonian’s new Twitter guidelines tell reporters that retweets are endorsements (Poynter).