HEAD’S UP: This is a long post! So if you’re not in the mood for reading pretty cool advice regarding Twitter and my experience with it so far, then you may want to stop reading after this sentence. Still here? I’m gonna’ go with YES! Now, if you’re curious and have some time to spare, then go ahead and continue cause you never know – you may actually like or agree with what I have to share.
In all honesty, when I first joined Twitter, I had it set up so that it would simply be a way for my blog posts to automatically be sent to my feed. I didn’t really get what was so interesting about all these ‘tweople’ chatting away and sharing random stuff – at least, that’s how I first saw it. But in the last few weeks, I’ve learned otherwise. I have spent more time on the awesome micro-blogging giant and have realized that it’s so much more than shameless self-promotion. I’ve come to understand the actual purpose of Twitter and what it can do when used properly.
Twitter and me…
I’ve become a much more active Twitterer now – in the sense that I now Tweet, Retweet, use Hashtags (#), DM, @reply, #FF… I even have some Saved Searches and have been added to several interesting lists by fellow Tweeters. I’ve seen the positive effect it has had on the level of interactivity from peers, the quality of followers that I’ve gained (& aspire to continue gaining) and the traffic on my blog. In doing so, I’ve come across and interacted with some fantastic Social Media experts, enthusiasts, fans, gurus… which I now follow (who also sometimes follow me).
Call me a newbie or old fashioned, but I actually take the time to read every post I Retweet. Yes, it’s time consuming, but I’m curious and interested in accumulating as much knowledge as I can – plus, I believe that’s the way it should be when it comes to retweeting a post – unless if it’s just a simple message without any links. After all, I want to know what message it is I’m helping to spread!
I’ve also noticed that people can be responsive to your actions and appreciative of your support in spreading their word. It’s sometimes even an incentive for them to reciprocate the gesture. And of course, I’ve learned and enjoy to do just that. When someone takes the time to Retweet one of my Tweets, I @mention them to say thank you. And I usually try doing so the same day if possible – actually within a couple hours – because let’s face it, with the amount of Tweets that are posted, they can eventually forget what Tweet you’re referring to.
I also reply to non-automated, personalized (or what seem to be) DM’s. If someone has taken the time to contact me about something, then I think it’s only polite to do the same and reply. Yesterday, while visiting a well known and reputed blog (not to name names but a pretty big Social Media one), I came across a typo they had made in writing the name of another hugely famous site. Luckily for me, that person is following me back so I was able to send them a DM notifying them of the error in an appropriate and friendly manner. They nicely replied thanking me for bringing it to their attention and immediately fixed it. This may sound like a silly little story but it did initiate some kind of personal interaction and it proved to me that Twitter ‘hotshots’ (and I mean that in a good way) will also take the time to reply.
Follow me, I follow you?
I don’t automatically follow people who follow me and I don’t have automated DM or Tweeting services. I personally write everything and try personalizing each message while I’m at it. I have learned that people are more responsive when they know a private message is directed at them and not at a gazillion other people as well. It might just be that it’s still easy for me to do that since I don’t have a million followers and I don’t follow a million people. Actually, I have no intention of accumulating that many Twitterers on my follow list [although I’m sure it can be a nice ego boost to see a number like that following you :)]. I truly believe that it’s not about the quantity but about the quality of followers you have. Therefore, for every person that follows me, I actually open their profile and their site if they have one and see what they’re about and what they’re Tweeting [which means – it’s generally nice for me to see some kind of information in the profile]. I also try to find and read an interesting post of theirs that I can in turn share with my own list (an ongoing process that I choose to engage in).
I don’t mean to sound arrogant or as the “All Mighty Twitterer Scanner” in any way; quite the contrary. I’m looking to learn and interact in a friendly and professional way with real and like-minded individuals. I want to find people that share similar Social Media (and other) interests and that have insightful experiences and comments to share; those that have been in their respective field a while, those that are active, those that are willing to communicate with both the “somebody’s” and the “nobody’s” of the Twittersphere. Believe it or not, this is coming from someone who’s not a big fan of interacting online with people she doesn’t know. For Pete’s sake [old school expression, I know :)], I don’t even accept or reply to private messages from people I don’t know on my personal Facebook account. Actually, until my nittyGriddy “Like” page, I had never written or replied to someone on a public wall!
Wait…I’m getting to the point!
I initially meant for my opening paragraph to be no more than a few lines, but as usual, I got a bit carried away and therefore went back and included my little HEAD’S UP note:-). Please understand that by no means do I claim to be a Social Media expert – or any other expert for that matter. I’m just an enthusiast with a passion for writing and learning. Being an expert would mean I have nothing more to learn, and that is surely not the case – for anyone! I love to take in new things and the fact that I do, is what enabled me to write this somewhat useful post.
What I mean to share or identify in this loooong article, are the things people should refrain from Tweeting – or more precisely the things they shouldn’t share and that I will most likely zap when reading my Twitt feed. Common sense tells me what to tweet and not to tweet, so I won’t get into the “Do-Do’s” of Twitter, since I’ve pretty much just told you in the last few paragraphs.
Again, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and free to tweet away what they want. So this may just be a personal venting space or it could turn out to have some pretty useful general tips. Either way, I’ve come to realize that after reading a few similar “What Not to Tweet” type posts, that I’m not too far off from what Social Media especially Twitter connoisseur’s, also suggest not to do.
On that note…
Here’s my list of Twitter “No-No’s”!
Note: I’ve decided to spare you and keep these nice and short and straight to the point. Because if you’ve gotten this far, then I think you’ve had your dosage of nittyGriddy reading for the day :).
1. Don’t OVERTWEET by telling us your every move:
@nobody: On my way to the kitchen to eat dinner!
@nobody: Eating dinner and enjoying yummy home cooked fries!
@nobody: Wow! Ate way too much, need to digest. Gonna’ go watch some TV!
@nobody: On my way to the store to buy groceries.
@nobody: Just bought the juiciest looking strawberries. Can’t wait to bla bla bla…
@nobody: OMG! I just bumped into Betsy at the store. Haven’t seen her in years. Hi @Betsy!
Personally, I’m not interested in when and what you eat and what you bought. I’m happy for you that you’re eating and shopping for food, but really…do I/we care? But, please do give my best to Betsy :)!
2. Don’t OVERSHARE:
@nobody: My boyfriend and I just broke up. I can’t believe he cheated on me!
@nobody: I’m really sick and have been throwing up all morning!
@nobody: My dog just took the biggest $!@% on the neighbor’s lawn!
Now how much of those things do I really want to know? My advice is call a friend and tell them all about it. Or better yet, post a status on Facebook since that’s what a lot of people seem to be doing and see how many reactions you get (sarcasm alert!).
3. Don’t have PERSONAL Conversations:
@nobody: Hey, @nobody2 – you there?
@nobody2: @nobody: Yes, hi, what’s up?
@nobody: @nobody2: Not much. What you up to? Did you go to work today?
@nobody2: @nobody: Yeah I did. OMG, have to tell you something really funny. Check your DM!
Ok guys, you seem to know each other and share certain things. Which would mean you either have each other’s phone numbers or are on BBM. Please use either or. Having a full length back and forth personal conversation on Twitter is probably not the best place. It may seem like an instant messaging service but it’s not. But then again, what do I know?
4. Don’t try & TREND what’s not Trend-a-ble:
@nobody: I just ate the best pasta on the planet. #mashable
Regardless of how good that pasta is, I sincerely doubt that it has anything to do with Pete Cashmore’s Social Media Guide. And trying to pass on your tweet as if it does, is really not cool and a misrepresentation. I don’t know how happy #mashable fans that are following Trending Topics will be to see your tweets.
5. Don’t AUTOTWEET or automatically DM new followers:
If you need to set up an automated tweet to send out a few messages while you are otherwise engaged, then it’s fine. But don’t automate your entire feed to your account. People will take notice. Also, don’t automatically DM your new followers with a standard message. It’s seen as spam and I for one, am much less likely to reply. If I’m not mistaken, the whole point of Twitter is to be more personally involved and engaging. Wanting to promote your brand, product, site, whatever…is fine, but do so in a less blatant way so it doesn’t scream shameless promotion.
6. Don’t WAIT days before @replying to someone:
If you’ve been carrying a conversation of @replies, don’t wait a day or two between messages. The probability is that by then, they will have forgotten what you were talking about. Most people (including me) will expect a reply within a couple hours max. I know this sounds a bit demanding and can be difficult at times, but do try to abide by this “unwritten” rule. Also, don’t forget to use the appropriate Twitter terminologies (@, #, RT, etc.) so that they can receive and/or go back to find your messages.
7. Don’t use long ongoing MULTI-TWEETS:
@nobody: I was watching this movie the other day and it hit me that I had completely forgotten to go check the fridge to see if I still had enough butter to make…
@nobody: …my delicious chocolate cake for this awesome party that I’m having at my place tomorrow night…
I think the 140 character rule is there for a reason. I know it can be annoying sometimes to fit everything in and I admit to using shorthand once in a while (although it’s also not usually recommended as it can be confusing) but try your best to remain within that 140 limit. If you absolutely must then use an extra message. So far, I’ve been able to adjust to that – and as you can see from the amount of writing on this post – it can pose a challenge at times :)!
I’m sure there are quite a few more Twitter Don’ts but for now these should suffice.
Do you have any other Twitter No-No’s? Post your comments.