Lindsay’s Top 7 Twitter Etiquette List

I started my blog here on WordPress a little over a year ago and my very first blog post was entitled “Lindsay’s Facebook Etiquette List.” Now I’ve been on Twitter for nearly 3 years, so this particular list is little overdue. Here’s a short list of my no-no’s (and a few suggestions for improvement). I was going to go with a “Top 10” list, but I realized there are only seven that are really my BIG beefs!

1.  Mentioning needing/wanting/having a certain number of followers

I think we’ve all done this at some point. But from my experience, not only is it irrelevant, it’s really boring for your followers to read. While I do believe in needing a critical mass of followers and accounts you are following to enjoy Twitter, there is no magic number for anyone. We’re not all Ashton Kutcher with his million+ followers though. So if you are looking for more followers, start following more people yourself. And if you hit a limit where you cannot follow anymore accounts (this happened to me once), just be patient. Asking for more followers is honestly…sort of awkward. Appreciate the followers you have, interact with them in a polite way and more will come your way. I promise. Twitter is growing at lightning speed.

2.  Talking about how much you need/want a new job

Some people who appear to me to be very smart have done this, which honestly surprises me. I didn’t think I needed to remind people that no matter your privacy settings, you’re not REALLY private. One re-tweet and your news about “having a really great interview today” or “my boss continues to drive me nuts” will probably get back to him/her someday. (Hmm…Maybe that is what these people want!)

Instead of mentioning that you want a new job on Twitter, try traditional e-mail instead or reach out to folks on LinkedIn (again via private e-mails – not public status updates).

3.  Asking for a “follow back”

This has not only happened to me with my personal Twitter account (@LindsayEWarren) but with my Supernatural Twitter account (@SupportSPN) recently. In both occasions, I did not follow the account back who asked me to follow them back…and not because I’m mean. 😉 In one instance it was because the person asking was a total stranger and did not mention one thing we had in common. In the other, the person did not Tweet in English (minus the tweet to me of course). So don’t ask for a “follow back,” especially if you are tweeting on behalf of a company! Good Twitter users will follow every account that has some relevance to them.

And while I encourage you to follow as many of your followers that interest you, you are not obligated to follow every single one (even when they are bold enough to ask). When you get to a certain point, your Twitter feed can be pretty busy, depending on the number of folks you follow and/or the amount that the folks you follow tweet. There’s no need to make your feed busier than you want with accounts that are of no value/interest/relevance to you.

4.  Bad grammar / spelling

Oh this one really is my top “beef.” I say this over and over and over…And yet some folks still don’t pay attention to their grammar/spelling errors. (By the way if you find any in my blog, please don’t be shy. Tell me if I messed something up! I’ll appreciate the correction.) Bad grammar/spelling bothers me not because I’m want to be an English dictator, but instead because it shows a lack of attention to detail. And that in turn makes it hard for me to the offending party seriously. Just take a moment, slow down and read your tweet before you hit that ‘tweet’ button. A once-over will often save you from needless embarrassment. Twitter *does* have spell check that will catch many errors.

Believe me, the occasional flub up is OK. We’ve all done it. iPhones can be hard to type on! If you catch it early, delete the Tweet and fix it.

5.  Copying others’ ideas/posts without properly re-tweeting

Do I need to say anything more than this is just a lack of class? Don’t copy/paste someone’s post without putting their Twitter handle in the tweet. It is just not good decorum.

6.  Begging celebrities for their attention

While I think it’s fantastic that many “cool” personalities are on Twitter, do I think they have a responsibility to ever interact with me? Nope.

I have seen it all when it comes to this “Lindsay no-no.” I’ve seen people ask a celeb to wish them a Happy Birthday and I’ve seen people shame a celeb into talking to them because they were “So depressed that you have not replied to me.” Really people? REALLY?

A “Happy Birthday” tweet is boring to 99.9% of the people on that person’s follower list (unless it’s something cute like “Happy Birthday to my beloved cat Toonces!”) and it is not an obligation. If it was, then that it the only tweet you’d ever see from a celebrity and that would REALLY be lame. The reason why I enjoy following certain celebrities is to get a view into their lives, not the lives of the fans looking for attention. Many of the celebs I follow are really big into philanthropy like Richard Hughes, Ian Somerholder, Misha Collins and Sophia Bush. What they have to say about causes that mean something to them is FAR more interesting. If a celeb interacts with a fan, it’s a bonus, not a right.

I recommend you respond to a celebrity when he/she asks a question or says something that really speaks to you. But don’t feel bad if you don’t get a response. With thousands (or millions in some cases) of followers, that one person is not going to have time to reply to everybody. And there’s no reason to feel slighted by that.

7.  LONG “Follow Friday” lists

I’m hoping that if I beat this topic to death, people will start listening. If you’re unfamiliar with “Follow Friday,” then you must be new to Twitter, because every Friday I’m very aware of it’s presence. I think it started out as a nice way to pay homage to some of the accounts people follow, but now in many cases it’s just become spam. Now before I go any further, let me make it clear that I appreciate anyone who mentions me in their “Follow Friday” recommendations. Thank you for including me in your recommendations. It does work to grow your Twitter network…sometimes…

But here’s the deal. By virtue of you following me, you’ve essentially already endorsed me and by listing me in your “Follow Friday” list, you’ve done nothing more than mentioned what anyone can already see – your “follow list.”

I think a far more powerful way to promote accounts that you like on Twitter on “Follow Friday” would be to mention the Twitter account you particularly like AND also give me a reason to follow that account. So instead of just typing a long list of names, you could say “On #FF, I recommended @LindsayEWarren (or whoever!) because…” and fill in the blank. I’m much more likely to check out whoever you’re talking about if you put some value next to their Twitter handle.

So that just about covers my pet peeves and my possible solutions. What are yours?

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4 responses

  1. The celebrity thing is definitely a big pet peeve for me! And knowing what we know of Richard Hughes, the guy cares about the fans so much, I think he might honestly feel bad when someone guilt-trips him into responding to them. It’s maddening!

    I have never participated in Follow Friday, either, because most of my friends all follow each other already.

    Another pet peeve–incessant Re-Tweeting! I stopped following one girl because all she did was Re-Tweet everything she came across, or (just as bad), write essays on her feed about things like “Real Housewives” or whatever show she happend to be watching. A whole page could be just Tweets from her about stuff I had no interest in, or stuff she had reposted from others that I don’t follow.

    A re-tweet on occasion is fine–I do it because I think, “Hey, maybe someone doesn’t follow Judy Blume and will love knowing she’s on Twitter!”

    Anyway, you didn’t ask for an essay, so I’ll stop now!

    • Megan, I appreciate any comments and essays are just fine!!! I think re-tweeting is a polite gesture, but I do think that everyone should have their own voice on Twitter. Only re-tweeting is pretty boring. I tend to do it with breaking news or really funny, original or otherwise uncommon tweets. Or sometimes I do it to help a particular cause that is working toward a goal. 😉

  2. Yikes! I am definitely guilty of #FF and #WW. I’ve always found it to be a way of telling others about the wonderful people I am following!
    It’s not negative at all. You, yourself, said you appreciated someone mentioning you. I don’t get the negativity of this when you are telling the world that you think they should follow so and so. It’s a wonderful way of meeting new friends who my friends are following. If they like following them, then I probably will too! *sigh*

    • I not only do not think listing people you like is negative, I did not state that in my blog. I think listing people you like without a reason why you like them is ineffective. So many people participate in these “Follow Friday” shout outs with lists and lists and lists that I tend to skip over them, therefore making them ineffective. We have thousands of tweets coming at us every day. I’m trying to share a way to make those tweets attention-grabbing. Those people who take the time to tell me what is interesting/cool/wonderful about a Twitter account succeed because first, they actually get my attention and second, they’re very likely to get me to follow their recommendations because they have included a thoughtful endorsement. It’s easy to list people we like. It takes more effort to compliment them with some nice words. But I think it’s worth it. Thanks for reading my blog, Deb.

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