Twitter is a much different beast than when it first started in 2008. With new capabilities and trends such as FollowFridays, Direct Messages, retweets and hashtags, it can be confusing as to the “appropriate” course of action for an engaged member of the Twitter community. Here are ten etiquette tips and simple practices that will keep you polite and well received in the twittersphere.
1. Be Social. Add Value. Don’t use Twitter as your personal broadcast system. Tweeting that your “laundry is finished!” isn’t adding any value to anyone except maybe your spouse. Use Twitter to help form social and business relationships. Think to yourself, “Does anyone care?” before tweeting.
2. Don’t Follow Someone Just So He/She Will Follow You Back. You should only follow if you’re interested in what the person has to say. Blindly following everyone will result in a garbled mess of information providing no real significance to you or anyone else.
3. Don’t Tweet in the Third Person. This is just common sense. Michele thinks it’s a bad idea to tweet in the third person and have the Twitter community find you completely ridiculous. Don’t be that guy/girl.
4. Use @ to Build Relationships. Twitter is for networking. Try to include a lot of information and detail in your @reply so that others can pick up on the conversation, benefit and network as well.
5. Promote Other People. Share the Twitter love. You are most likely tweeting to help promote yourself or your business, but make sure to share others’ blog posts, photos, websites, etc. What goes around, comes around. That’s what people say.
6. Please and Thank You. This one should be easy but is easily overlooked. Be gracious on Twitter. If someone retweets your post or sends you a comment, respond and say thank you! If you are asking for advice or suggestions, say please! Rules to live by both in the real world and the online world. If one of the twitterati took a moment of his/her time to help you, take a moment to let them know you appreciate it.
7. Hashtags. #UseThem. If you are tweeting about how the East Coast earthquake scared your goldfish, tweet #earthquake at the end of your post so those searching for popular events or information can quickly find your two cents. (P.S. Did you read #1?)
8. #FollowFriday. FollowFriday or #FF has recently emerged as a way to give kudos to certain Twitterati that others may find value in as well. Every Friday Twitter users promote a few people they find interesting in the hopes others will check them out as well. It is best to use detail when promoting during FollowFriday to provide context for why these users are helpful. Example: “FollowFriday: @PharmaMfg because they have the best news and information for the pharma industry #FF.”
9. Don’t AutoReply on DirectMessage: Do not set up an automatic “Thank You” Direct Message to those who start to follow you. It’s impersonal and can be considered spamming in the Twitter arena.
10. Shorten Your Links. Long links in a Twitter post are obnoxious (and take up a lot of your allotted 140 characters). Use a URL shortener such as Bit.ly or Tinyurl.