By March 11, 2014 Read More →

Twitter etiquette

Twitter etiquetteIn January I blogged about what makes me unfollow on Twitter.

Your responses made me think.

So now I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter etiquette.

I learnt to use Twitter many moons ago with Mark Shaw. Mark made a comment I’ve remembered ever since.

He said, ‘Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want to see displayed on a billboard at the side of a major road…with your granny in the car!’

Great general advice for staying out of trouble in the Twitterverse.

There are some points of Twitter etiquette I’m happy about

  • For instance, I don’t think I even need to mention auto DMs?
  • Very occasionally I get a tweet from someone I don’t know asking me to follow them so they can ‘send me information’. Or who starts to sell following one interaction. Er, no thanks.
  • If you’re tweeting for a business I’d really like to know who you are, it’s important to present a personal face.
  • I haven’t seen any of those cringey ‘So-and-so unfollowed me’ tweets lately – have they disappeared? I hope so.
  • I do think it’s good Twitter etiquette to acknowledge where you found a link/article etc by using ‘via’ before the @name. (It could also be politic and get you a little kudos with that person, which never hurts when you’re building relationships).
  • But I’m not too keen on multiple recipients of thank yous or #FFs RTing and filling up my timeline with tweets from unknown people.
  • I was surprised to learn from my previous Twitter post that some people think it’s only polite to follow everyone who follows you. So that’s why some people have the same number of followed and followers. I’d always seen this as evidence of automated following, but apparently not in some cases.

    I’d never even considered this follow your followers angle, thanks again to Mark’s helpful tuition. His advice was to follow people whose thoughts I’m interested in reading without expecting the interest to be mutual.

  • But what about thanking people for RTs? Lots of people don’t. That might be because it’s time consuming. And a bit of a hassle if you use Tweetdeck because if you click on Reply their @name doesn’t come up unless it’s also in the tweet, and you might have to go off and find it.

    My current policy is to thank people if their RT is done purely out of generosity. So if you RT a link to your own guest post I don’t thank you because the RT benefits us both. It’s just a way of keeping it manageable and I still end up with strings of @names followed by a simple thank you.

    I’m not sure if this is good Twitter etiquette or boring for the recipients, although I notice that sometimes someone will follow me if I thank them. Do you wish I wouldn’t bother?

    What are your thoughts? Are there other lapses in Twitter etiquette you’d like to ban?

PS For great people to follow check out my 17 top people for home workers to follow on Twitter. And let me know your own favourites!

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12 Comments on "Twitter etiquette"

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  1. Kay Heald says:

    Hi Judy – thank you for the useful list. For what it’s worth, I try and be polite and reciprocate where appropriate – I don’t for one minute think I get it right every time, but being myself and trying to be kind to fellow twitter-folk seems to work for me!

    • Yes, I think the intention behind any social media postings can somehow be picked up by the reader. I’m sure I drop some clangers but hopefully I’m forgiven!

  2. Great list Judy! As you know, I could talk about etiquette on Twitter forever, but for now I’ll add this one:

    Hashtags – yes use them but in moderation. 1 hashtag is great, 2 is ok, by 3 you’re pushing your luck. #And #as #for #those #tweets #that #are #filled #with #hashtags, #don’t #get #me #started 😉 It looks like you are trying to hard and rather desperate so just don’t do it.

  3. Well I’ll start by saying that I love Twitter and it is my favourite social network, way above Facebook. I find Facebook especially for personal use a bit annoying……. but Twitter as for etiquette.

    1. Well I like tweeters who converse but one or two tweets with another user is fine – then I’d prefer it if they DM each other. As otherwise other followers feel excluded.
    2. TMI Tweets – Too much personal information gets my goat, I am not bothered for those “sitting on a train with someone annoying them”, generally using Twitter for a moan, or cryptic tweets especially when having a bad day. We don’t need to know and can’t do anything about it anyway.
    3. Using Twitter to complain publicly and get attention from companies and suppliers. Pick up the phone or email them privately we don’t need to be privvy to the complaint! Unless all other methods at communication have been exhausted…….
    4. Serial Tweeters – By this I mean clogging up newsfeeds with auto tweets every 15 minutes 24/7

    Oh dear, quite a list 🙂

    • I quite agree about Twitter v FB, Melanie, and I like your list of tweeting don’ts. And yes, we have resorted to No 3 when tearing our hair out about unreliable broadband. A tweet resulted in BT giving us a real person and direct number to call when we kept losing connection. He got the issue sorted out and has been very helpful with a few minor issues since.
      So as a last resort, but I agree I don’t want to read about personal moans all the time. As for tweeting comments about annoying fellow travellers, I can see the temptation and no doubt it’s a wonderful release, but I wonder if anyone has ever been confronted by the object of their criticism? After all, once you’ve tweeted it’s out in public and tweet rage can’t be far away…

  4. I adore Twitter – without it I’d never have met Donny and Marie Osmond, but that’s another story.

    I like the fact that people use it in different ways. If we were in a room with people we follow on Twitter some of them would be better than others at small talk; some would probably say things that annoyed us; some would be more focused on selling themselves and I like that all those traits can come across on Twitter.

    The main thing I’d advise against is using apps to schedule your tweets. It’s disappointing if people reply quickly to your tweet thinking you’re online – and you don’t reply because you’re not really there. Also, if a big story breaks your scheduled tweets can look inappropriate in the live news feed. I remember watching that happen when news of the Boston Marathon bombing broke last year.
    If you’re going to schedule your tweets make sure you can keep an eye on things on a mobile device – and react if necessary.

    Just be honest and be yourself.

    And if someone’s tweets annoy you – don’t get riled – just unfollow them.

    And if people unfollow you – don’t take it personally.

    It takes all sorts to make a world – and a Twitterverse.

    • Ooh, stop teasing, Elaine, we need to hear your Donny story. He came into Boots in Bath when I was working there many moons ago, to buy a hairdryer, I think. So I got a good look at my tweenie idol although I didn’t meet him.
      Anyway, dragging ourselves reluctantly back to Twitter – you take the prize for tolerant tweeter 🙂 I confess schedule some tweets, because if I didn’t, they simply wouldn’t go out, and I hope the information I’m tweeting is valuable enough to make it worthwhile. As you say, and as I’ve learnt from my various posts on the subject, we all come at it from different angles.

  5. Claire Melvin says:

    My main Twitter bugbear at the moment is RTs. There are a few people I follow who RT literally everything that is sent to them. It really annoys me. One is a friend who asked me to follow (I don’t usually follow friends as I only have a biz account), but I’m getting to the stage where I might just unfollow, as he also posts the same stuff on FB!

    I’m not terribly vocal on Twitter at the moment and I’ve wanted to rant and had to stop myself thinking ‘would people really want to read this?’. When I thought the answer was no, I had a quiet word with myself and carried on!

    It’s hard to get the right balance, but the advice of not putting something out there that you wouldn’t want put on a billboard is excellent. And just be yourself. I do sometimes worry there’s more of myself on Twitter than my business, but I can’t be one without the other!

    • Yeah, those pointless RTs that clog up your timeline can get a bit much. Personally I like to hear about the person behind the business, and as you say, Claire, with us self-employed types, the two are just about inseparable. Unless you get too personal – I once unfollowed a woman who tweeted about her periods every month. Way too much information!

  6. Kate Bacon says:

    Hi Judy

    I am SO glad Follow Fridays seem to be waning of late (well in my stream at least). Why on earth would anyone recommend following someone without saying anything about them? 🙂

    Kate x

    • Funny you mention that, Kate – Mark was also very helpful on the subject of #FollowFriday and told us to always explain why that person was worth following. Lists of @names are just a waste of time, nobody’s going to bother to check them all out. Maybe that’s why they died a death.