Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Twitter Etiquette: Lesson 1

First, Let me say, I'm addicted to Twitter.  I love nearly everything about it.  I love how its one great big chat room where you get to pick who is in yours and interact as much as you want to, or not.  And while there seem to be very few rules on Twitter, here are a couple that if more people followed, we'd all get along better.

1. Don't Auto DM me. DMing, or Direct Messaging, is a great tool for sharing information that simply doesn't need to be public, whether it's your email address, a personal note of thanks, or simply a message you don't want to clog the tweet stream with, DMs are fabulous.  I love DMs. I love them so much, I, like many others, even get email notifications of new DMs.  I also get my email on my cell phone.  When I have new email on my cell phone, a little red light blinks. And blinks.  But Auto DMs, impersonal and generic, usually something along the lines of "Thanks for following, please check out my website/e-store/blog/colonoscopy pics," really irritate me.  Why? Because they get sent to my email. Which gets sent to my phone. Which beeps red until I open it.  And foolishly, when I see I got a Direct Message, I usually get excited that someone thought of me and wanted to have a conversation, which, because I'm a nerd, makes me feel a little excited.  However, when I stop what I'm doing to check my Direct Messages and find it to only be said invitation to see colonoscopy pics or someone's site, it's really irritating.  At this point, I've wasted my time, gotten my hopes up and been let down, and I've also questioned whether or not I should have followed the Auto DMer.  In that moment, I know I won't be recommending the offender for #FollowFriday.  

2.  Non-sequitur linking. Do not @ respond to a question about sewing with a link to your site about air filters.  It's rude, off topic, and ultimately going to lose sales.  No one wants to buy from someone who uses disreputable marketing.

3. Half-tweeting.  Do not RT (retweet) the half of a tweet that agrees with your world-view and leave out the half that makes the point the tweeter was originally trying to make.  It's lazy, tacky, and rude.
For example, if someone tweets, "breastfeeding didn't work for my first baby, so we used formula, but I grieve the nursing relationship we could have had."  Do not even consider half-tweeting it as "breastfeeding didn't work for my first baby, so we used formula."  
Or, if someone tweets "Yeah, I like iguanas, except for the part I hate them." Don't half tweet "Yeah, I like iguanas."  Just don't do it.

4. Be polite, children.  Ultimately, remember that for the most part, there is a human being with different thoughts and experiences, but ultimately with the same human feelings as you sitting at the other end of that twitter account, and have a little human decency.

3 reflections:

Erin said...

Having only been on Twitter for the last 6 months or so, I still consider myself to be a bit of a newbie. Because of that, I love reading what others have to say about what's acceptable/not acceptable for Twitter behavior.

I admit though, I sometimes half-tweet. But not the way you're talking about. If there are two thoughts in a tweet that are somewhat contradictory, I'm not going to separate one thought and go with it (ie - "I like iguanas.") I will take a thought that has been tweeted to someone else and break it down for an RT. For instance, let's say you say, "@babybeatnik You're totally right! Breastfeeding is AMAZING!"
I might say, "RT @fentonslee Breastfeeding is AMAZING!"
Basically though - keep it in context.

And the DM thing... I'm with you on that. In fact, I feel the same way when it comes to Facebook and MySpace too. When I see that I've gotten an email, I get excited. I like it when people want to talk to me. So when I open it and it's just an invite to join someone's Mafia clan or be their Farmville neighbor my heart breaks a little.

Nikki said...

I'm sooo guilty of half-tweeting. But usually I do this so I can respond since you can only have 140 characters... So say your tweet says "Wal-Mart sucks but they carry dairy at a cheap price and they have awesome snacks!" and I want to add my comment so I do this: RT @fentonslee ...they have awesome snacks! < --- YES THEY DO!

I use the ... to indicate there was type before and or after ;)

Bobbi Janay @When did I go from a kid to a grown up? said...

These are all great points.