Twitter Etiquette

15th August 2008

I just finished a new article for The Morning News: Writing My Twitter Etiquette Article: 14 Ways to Use Twitter Politely.

So, you may be asking yourself, “Why should I change the way I Twitter to satisfy a bunch of whiny tweetards who don’t even know how to use Twitter anyway? They can just unsubscribe if I’m breaking their precious rules.”

True. Yeah, I think you have a little spittle on your chin there.

Anyway, some of us would prefer to keep followers from leaving in droves. If that’s the case for you, there are lots of little ways to preserve their sanity. Go have a look.

22 thoughts on “Twitter Etiquette

  1. Michelle

    Thank you for that, especially #8. The other stuff doesn’t bother me, but I HAVE stopped following one person solely because of that passive aggressive nonsense.

  2. ashleyv

    Great article! I’m most bothered by a derivation of the don’t-pause-between-tweets set – the sunrise-to-sunset twitterers. I’m talking play-by-play running commentary from “Good morning twitter!” to “Good night twitter!” I’ve had to unfollow people that I really do like in real life because of that. Come on! No one on earth is *that* interesting! If you were truly that interesting, you wouldn’t have that much time to twitter.

    Actually, I have so much to say about this, I’m gonna blog about it, instead of writing a comment that’s a page long. :)

  3. ali

    #13. dear god, #13. there’s a reason i have a feed reader. i don’t need to know EVERY time you update. sometimes is fine…but every time??? GRR.

  4. ByJane

    #3!!!! I too have stopped following people who I like because they are involved in Twitter flirtations that are (a) of the ‘ya had to be there to get it’ variety, and (b)are stupid, not to mention inane and way way way too frequent. There oughta be a law about the number of tweets you can put out there in any given day. Now when someone follows me, I check how often they tweet. If it’s too much, I don’t follow back.

  5. Jummy

    Great article, Maggie. I really feel quite informed on the best way to use twitter, and I’ve passed it on to my twitterbud (aka my partner in crime when it comes to breaking twitter ‘rules’—hopefully this is in the past now!)

  6. Zoot

    FANTASTIC article. I made the mistake awhile back of clicking the “follow everyone who is following me” link and accidentally started following a bunch of spammers. GRR. The point you made about the confusion that can occur when the responders are following a different group than you follow was SPOT ON. I get very confused sometimes and find myself clicking around trying to figure out what’s going on, and I think it’s because I’m not following the same people that the people I’m following are following.

    Jeez. I’m really sorry. I don’t think this comment makes any sense now.

    My point? As confusing as it sounds? Great article. Got me thinking and I think I’ll re-attempt to re-define my twitter presence now.

  7. Helene K.

    Great article. There’s one you forgot, *tongue in cheek* – avoid posting in third party. For example, “joeblow … is contemplating the egg salad versus the chicken salad for lunch.”

  8. Captain Dumbass

    The non-stop tweeters are super annoying if you live outside the US. In Canada, we get a maximum of 250 incoming SMS messages from Twitter which I didn’t know about until today when I was cut off for the rest of the month. 250 sounds like a lot until you run out. I can still send messages out, but unless I’m on a computer I can’t see anything coming back to me.

  9. Kyran

    this is SO good, I immediately had to tweet it. :-)

    the broadcaster vs responder definition is brilliant, and I if everyone on twitter would read it, it would save a lot of hurt feelings.

    the only thing I wish you’d mentioned was those of us who choose to protect our updates, and what a very different spin that puts on the whole experience.

    I was one of the first to run out the gate and blog HELL NOES when twitter first came on the scene, but reluctantly signed up under a protected account after last year’s blogher. For me, it’s become an online refuge from the public side of life; a virtual watering hole where I can kick off my shoes, sidle up to the bar and unwind with the small group I have come to think of as colleagues. Like a really great neighborhood pub, it’s mostly fun just to sit and catch the snippets as they fly (the banal, the inspired and the ugly), and from time to time, it yields up a true connection.

    I’d blog all about it, but I don’t want to add to the follow requests that already haunt me. :-)

  10. Lynne

    Great article. I’m a relatively new Twitterer, so I’m happy to have a Twittiquette lesson early on so as to avoid annoying people.

  11. Dodi

    I’m a loser. Not only did I just learn what Twitter was, I have no urge to use it, subscribe to anyone else or have it be a part of my life in any way. Isn’t email, text, blog, etc. enough????? Sheesh.

  12. Matthew

    When you mentioned Twitter to me a year and a half ago, I thought. “Hmmmm, interesting but how would I use this?” Now? I have to admit, I’m a teeny bit addicted. I’ve morphed from solely a broadcaster to sometimes broadcaster sometimes responder. But it took me a while to get comfortable responding.

    And I have unfollowed people I like because I was only seeing their tweets on my front page. It totally takes away from the experience when that happens.

    Great post, Maggie!

  13. Cate

    Fantastic post, Maggie! I think I have a hard time accepting that people aren’t going to kill themselves if I stop following them on Twitter. (Or act really awkward around me if I see them in real life.) I dunno. People can take it really personally…but I suppose it’s not my problem.

    Remembering that there are two different groups of people on Twitter is a really good point! I never thought of it that way…

  14. ramona

    Such a timely post for me. I’m rather new at tweeting and only took it up as part of my adventures in socializing our consignment boutique. To that end, I guess I’m a broadcaster, but I try to get in on the conversation whenever it does surface. I make every effort to be transparent and don’t like coming off as a tweeting billboard. This really helped, and from some of the posts here, I’m not the only one not 100% sold on it. Thanks.

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