Twittiquette: A 21 Point Checklist For Better Tweeting

September 12, 2011

Etiquette is as important on social networks as it is at interviews and fancy dinners. You don’t wear cut-off jeans to formal events or chew with your mouth open at a business dinner, so don’t do the equivalent by forgetting your twitter manners!

Hit a Twitter Blackjack! Time to double down!

There are certain things that you can’t get away with on Twitter. Twittequette is an organic set of rules and expectations that have developed since the dawn of the Twitterverse, be a good twitizen and follow them. Hit a blackjack on all your tweets with this list of 21 Twitter rules, manners, guidelines, and expectations.

  1. Always use shortened links: Nothing more hideous than a long url pasted right in there. It’s gross. It wastes valuable room for you to tell people about your link and is an eye sore. People really don’t like long links, they are hard to ReTweet and violate one of the basic laws of the Twitterverse.
  2. Never span one message over multiple tweets: EVER. This violates what is at the core of Twitter, a micro-blogging site. It’s just wrong and makes people dig for the second half of your tweet. The 140 rule is there for a reason. Its almost as ugly as a un-shortened link.
  3. Don’t send out a DM to the public: If you want to send a private message (or message of your privates), make sure it’s private. Anthony Weiner, nuff said.
  4. Use hastags appropriately: Hashtags are awesome for helping you get into a conversation. If you have something to share that applies to an ongoing conversation, offer it up and use the hashtag, it makes it really easy for those monitoring that conversation to find it.
  5. Tag people judiciously: Don’t tag randomly just to try and boost traffic numbers. Tag people if you legitimately believe they would have an interest in what you are tweeting and don’t bomb them, if you need to tag them in multiple tweets, space them out.
  6. Don’t just push products, share knowledge: No one likes a Twitter spammer, you’ll get unfollowed real quick. It’s OK to advertise and market, just do it sparingly and be sure you are a solid and respected contributor to the conversation before you try coming in hot with ads and product placement.
  7. Change it up, keep it fresh: It’s OK to be random! If you use one type of tweet every time or share the same things consistently, that is all well and good, but also use the freedom to share something fun if you want. People will appreciate you keeping their stream on it’s toes.
  8. Don’t USE ALL CAPS: Because it’s really ANNOYING AND UNNECESSARY.
  9. Don’t use 2 many instant message style shortcuts: If someone has to translate your tweet before reading it, they aren’t going to like it. Adjust your tweet so that you can use real and complete words while still sticking under the 140 character max.
  10. Tweet statistics and lists: People like to share tweets that teach them something quickly. Tweets with statistics and top 5 or top 10 style lists generally get ReTweeted more often and will make the Twitter skimmers really happy.
  11. Don’t follow more than follow you, keep it about 1:1: This isn’t so much about individual tweets as it is about respectability. If you follow way more than follow you, you lose respect, you’re new and obviously just follow in hopes of being followed right back. Sure, you can boost followers this way, but those people aren’t the ones that are really listening. On the flip side, you don’t want to have a ton of followers and follow no one. Why? Twitter is about a conversation man, yours is clearly one-way if you aren’t listening to anyone else and that’s just rude.
  12. Don’t have extremely long personal conversations: Go ahead, connect! Have conversations, that’s what it is all for, just don’t have a personal tea party in my feed. If you want to have a more in-depth or long-running conversation with another individual, connect somewhere else or use the DM feature so you don’t clog your followers with something that probably has nothing to do with them. It’s like having a really loud cell phone conversation in the middle of a restaurant; everyone can hear and they probably don’t want or need to and…oh yeah, you become that guy.
  13. Follow basic grammar and puncuation rules: It’s Twitter, sure you can toss grammar aside a bit and use acronyms and even the occasional shortcut word, but make it readable. Punctuation makes tweets so much easier to read and there is proof that tweets with more punctuation are ReTweeted more often.
  14. Space out your tweets: Tweet often, but keep them spaced out. Don’t clog people’s feeds with too many messages all at once, the likelihood that they will be skipped over greatly increases. Tweets can be can come much more frequent that Facebook posts, but still be careful not to over do it.
  15. Give credit, site if it’s a RT: If you are ReTweeting something and choose to edit the tweet and share the same link, be sure not to cut out who you got it from. Cutting out the person you are ReTweeting from is rude and makes it look like you are trying to steal the sharing cred.
  16. Don’t say the same thing twice: Not to be confused with rule number 6, this rule applies to using the same exact text in multiple tweets. It’s easy to just tweet the title of your article and burst it out 5-6 times a day, but it shows laziness and no one appreciates the same tired tweet popping up in their stream time after time. Say something compelling and highlight different aspects of the content you are sharing with each tweet. This also broadens the people you may end up appealing to with your tweets.
  17. No cursing, use NSFW warning: It’s fine to be a little risque, dirty even, just don’t curse. It’s like shouting out expletives at a meeting, it can make things awkward. Also, if you plan to share something better left for private viewing, make sure to mark it NSFW or ‘Not Safe For Work’ so that someone doesn’t click an inappropriate link with their boss [or children] standing nearby.
  18. Don’t multi-RT: This is bad: “RT @saltywaffle: RT @mcuevasm: RT: @nicoledonnelly”….just RT the first identifiable source.
  19. Leave room for ReTweet’s: If you are looking for a RT, leave room so it can be done in one click. Hootsuite and others give you a warning when you get close to maximum RT length. It takes a few characters for people to RT, so make it easy for them, if they have to edit the tweet to shorten it down before being able to RT, the chances they will do it drop dramatically.
  20. Get an avatar: Don’t go naked. If you have a Twitter account, get a picture. Leaving your avatar as the default Twitter given one shows you don’t care enough about your account to even adjust one of the basic settings. Plus, it just lacks personality ya know?
  21. Say please and thank you: When someone helps you out, let them know you appreciate it. There is a lot of psychology behind minding these simplest of manners. If you really want a RT, say please, it helps, just don’t beg.


Picture of thinkspace