Shaun Stanislaus’s Tech blog

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Top 13 Twitter Don’ts

The number of new Twitter users has soared over the past few months, as the microblogging service has taken the media by storm. If you’re one of those new users, you may be baffled by Twitter’s peculiar culture, or nervous that you’ll commit some kind of microblogging faux pas.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. While there aren’t specific rules for how to use Twitter, avoiding these 13 Don’ts will help you fit right in—and may even gain you some adoring new followers.1. Don’t live-tweet TV shows. @CorinneIOZO warns that lots of people use DVRs or watch shows on Hulu these days, so spoiling big moments (“OMG, the smoke monster was actually from outer space! No way!”) is a major no-no. As an alternative, tweet an inside joke that the show’s viewers will get, but that doesn’t give away any important details.

2. Don’t say anything that could get you fired or prevent you from getting a job. @JoelSD points out that if your tweets are public, they really are open to everyone, as has been demonstrated time and time again.

3. Don’t be boring. A simple rule that @kmonson follows is “Never tweet about food or the weather.” If your friends see one more “Good morning Twitterverse!” or “I had some awesome corn flakes for breakfast,” you’re getting un-followed.

4. Don’t forget the Twitter lingo: RT is retweet, and @name is how you respond or give props to someone. Feel free to be generous with both your RTs and your @s.

5. Don’t tweet more than ten times a day, or more than five times an hour, says @JasonCross00. It gets annoying and takes space and attention away from other Twitterers’ links and observations. If you have that much to say, maybe it belongs on a blog.

6. Don’t reply to every single tweet. As @seanludwig points out, it gets old fast.

7. Don’t tweet drunk, cautions @whitneyarner. Just like in real life, your followers might get a kick out of your drunk tweets, but you’ll probably regret them in the morning.

8. Don’t tell us about something cool or life-changing without a link or picture (use a service like TwitPic for your photos, and a URL shortener like TinyURL or is.gd for your links).

9. Don’t retweet something and leave off the original Twitter poster. Always give credit to those who wrote it first.

10. Don’t ignore people who send you a direct message or a reply, says @LanceUlanoff. Part of the Twitter experience involves conversing with your followers when possible.

11. Don’t #hashtag every topic. After a while, your topics will be ignored.

12. Don’t whine about people not following you, pleads @SaschaSegan. If you’re good at providing interesting stuff and you’re patient, you’ll get the followers you crave so badly.

13. Don’t tweet your bathroom habits. Seriously. Just don’t do it.

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April 20, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

13 Comments »

  1. Hi nice blog 🙂 I can see a lot of effort has been put in.

    Comment by Katie | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. Tip 14. Don’t listen to everyone else’s rules. If there were rules like this in place, they would be on Twitter’s website. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Do what makes YOU happy. If others don’t like it, they can unfollow you. I’ve unfollowed several people because I don’t like what they tweet about or how they tweet, and I’m sure that I’ve lost several followers, too. But you know what? I’m happy with what i have, and I have an audience for what I have to say. Don’t let others tell you what you can and cannot do.

    Besides, it’s only Twitter.

    Comment by Daniel Monzelowsky | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. thanks for the tips, i only started yesterday and was a bit worried about being inundated by little uninteresting bits of information that obviously people dont get. great to see you helping us all along on our tweeting journey. I have to say i am quite enjoying the experience.

    Comment by Linda | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  4. Nice list, and I think I follow these most of the time, at least I have never tweeted my bathroom habits!

    Comment by Melvær | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  5. Hello,

    I’m very new to the Twitter experience so I really appreciate these tips. Thanks!

    Comment by Jacqueline | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  6. Good one Daniel Monzelowsky ! , will add that in to my post , credits to you for Tip #14. : )

    Comment by Shaun Stanislaus | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  7. No I won’t mention the weather I’ll keep the shutters closed. Thanks for the tips, I’m a newbie too.

    Comment by Sally | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  8. Hi there,

    Thanks very much for this article. I’ve been twittering for a month and it’s very easy to get too comfortable with your followers and release personal information that you didn’t want shared.

    Everyone has their own little tricks on Twitter. I’ve not got very many followers, about 500, but they’re handpicked and follow me specifically because they like what I say.

    Thanks again for this article.

    Comment by 0845 numbers | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  9. Great tips! I appreciate you!

    Comment by MJ Neo | April 22, 2009 | Reply

  10. Hi, my name is mangonocturna, and I’m the Official Poster Child for Twitter Don’t #5

    I think dmonzel has the right idea. The beauty of Twitter is that we can sit there and see what the world is doing – and thinking!

    Who am I to deprive this world of my own thoughts, even if they do occur more often than five times an hour?

    Regarding Twitter Don’t #2, that issue can be deftly sidestepped by the simple expedient of keeping offline and online personas – and activities – separate!

    In fact, that’s my #1 Twitter Do AND my #1 Internet Safety Rule!

    Thank so much for the article – and hey dmonzel, you just got another follower! 🙂

    Comment by mangonocturna | April 22, 2009 | Reply

  11. Very nicely done. Most were good common sense, however, several were absolutely mandatory for anyone who want’s to be a savvy tweetophile:)

    Thanks a million!

    Comment by Alex | June 14, 2009 | Reply

  12. Re: #3 – I don’t know why you would un-follow someone simply for tweeting about breakfast, tweeting about weather, or tweeting “Good morning” – unless it’s all they EVER tweet.

    Comment by ebrown2112 | June 14, 2009 | Reply

  13. Great list, thanks for sharing it Shaun. I too have mixed feelings about #5 though — some folks that I follow tweet much more than that and I find many of their posts worthwhile, while many others have been unfollowed quickly because of their over-tweeting. I think that keeping your tweets per hour to a reasonable level is much more important than your tweets per day.

    Comment by cgrundemann | June 15, 2009 | Reply


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