Twitter is a great service for both individuals and businesses, but both need to learn to use proper Twitter etiquette. Like any community, Twitter has certain unspoken rules which members follow. Thanks to spammers, identity thieves, and other unsavory types, Twitter users are becoming more cautious and more willing to stop following Twitter users who don’t seem to follow the rules. Having proper etiquette will make it clear that you can be trusted.
Don’t Tweet Too Much
The entire point of Twitter is to send tweets to your followers, but that doesn’t mean you should send ten tweets an hour. Sending out a huge volume of tweets is an etiquette no-no and will make you look like a spammer rather than a legitimate user.
Avoid Prolonged Conversations
There may be times when Twitter users respond to your tweets and you want to respond back. Remember, Twitter is not an instant messenger. If you are having a real-time conversation it is proper etiquette to use direct messages instead of tweets.
Leave Out the Specifics
When tweeting about personal information, be vague. There is no need to tell all of your followers that you’re going to the bank on 42nd and Walnut with a wad of cash. Being too specific can be a personal risk and will also make you look a little naive.
Tweet with a Point
Make sure that your tweets have some rhyme or reason to them. Some Twitter users will constantly tweet completely random, out-of-context thoughts. This is terrible etiquette – you’re wasting the time of your followers! If they can’t figure out what you’re talking about them may decide not to follow you at all.
Keep it Short
Twitter has a character limit for a reason. This isn’t the place to write the next great American novel. It is proper Twitter etiquette to keep tweets short and useful. Also remember to use abbreviated links when linking to a website.
The anonymous nature of the Internet often allows nice people to say bad things, but Twitter isn’t anonymous. Never forget this. If your tweet would be considered rude in real life it will be considered rude on Twitter as well.
Plug in Moderation
Twitter is often used to try and drum up excitement for blog posts, events, or products. This is fine, but etiquette requires it be done in moderation. Also, make sure that the tweet is useful. A tweet which says “Visit my blog!” is much less useful than saying “Check out my review of Avatar.”
These are the basics of Twitter etiquette. If you follow the rules you’ll keep your followers happy. Follow FatCow on Twitter at twitter.com/fatcow