18-Point Twitter Etiquette Primer

I’m getting to know Twitter more these days, using it more, and enjoying it. I’m Timberry on Twitter. I’m frequently grateful to Twitter friends for pointing out good ideas, blogs, thoughts, pictures. Twitter enlivens my day, and brightens my writing.

I’m beginning to develop a sense of what to do and what not to do with Twitter. Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve been watching and thinking about it. And I’ve come up with a list of dos and don’ts.

Please don’t …

  1. … thank me for following you.
  2. … think less of me for not thanking you for following me.
  3. … send me sales messages as direct messages, as part of your thanking me or otherwise.
  4. … tweet mundane details of everyday life. Going home, watching television, having dinner … feels like Twitter clutter. I’m just sayin’.
  5. … tweet straight-out sales pitches. Don’t promise me health or wealth or business success. I get enough spam in email, thanks. That stuff could spoil Twitter. I will unfollow you immediately.
  6. … tweet embarrassing should-be-private sweet nothings for your significant relationships. I like that you love him or her or them, but tell them, not the tweeple.
  7. … argue with people in Twitter. And that’s not to protect me, that’s for your own good. Words tweeted in anger live on forever. Twitter help implies that there’s a way to delete bad tweets, but I don’t think it works. Angry words aren’t biodegradable.

Please do tweet …

  1. … interesting pictures, blog posts, websites, and news items. And I’m fine with you tweeting your own blog posts, especially. Give me a title and a URL and I’m fine with that, I’ll click and read it if it catches my interest. If I weren’t interested in what you’re writing, I wouldn’t have followed you. Don’t be shy.
  2. … good quotes, pithy sayings, words that make me think.
  3. … about ideas, things that surprise you, new discoveries.
  4. … quick jokes, or humorous items, things that made you laugh.
  5. … thoughts, poems, especially haiku.
  6. … well written words, phrases, sentences, from real life, movies, songs, even overheard.
  7. … interesting, funny, or thought provoking pictures in twitpix.
  8. … words that teach, lessons.
  9. … quick reviews of books, movies, television, and music. If I follow you, I do care what you think, and what you like. Save me from bad stuff, and tip me off to good stuff. I’m glad you share.

And, by the way …

  1. Twitter is publishing. Let’s all respect that. Let’s not ruin it with too much advertising. Big promises mean small credibility. Share yourself, but be content, not spam.
  2. Do onto others as you would have them tweet to thousands.

And, finally, thanks for reading this list. I needed that.

12 thoughts on “18-Point Twitter Etiquette Primer

  1. Tim,

    Thanks for the great post. I made sure to cancel my twitter auto-thanks for following (I set it up on tweetlater when I was first playing around with twitter in March and never got around to canceling the service even though I knew it was contrived and sort of passively anti-social) and then followed you on twitter. I won’t wait for your “thanks for following me,” message. 🙂 I’d be honored if you follow me. @olive_angevine

    Thanks again Tim. I emailed you a few months ago to tell you how much I enjoy your common sense writing; you continue to consistently deliver top quality posts.

    Best regards,
    Donna Angevine

  2. Great suggestions Tim. I would add to the ‘please don’t’ list
    …add a bunch of hashtags and numerous @s to your tweets. It’s too hard to figure out what the real message is, or if there is one.

  3. I love your list, Tim. Thanks for taking time to write it! I am relatively new to Twitter and this sums up much of what I feel about it going in…the advertising and private life details are what kept me away for so long. Cheers!

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