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A Friendly Guide to the Dos, Don’ts, and #PleaseStops of Twitter

A Friendly Guide to the Dos, Don’ts, and #PleaseStops of Twitter

The DOs:
SHARE – Twitter is a microblog. As an account holder, you are entitled to post whatever it is you like, as it is, in essence, a blog. However, your follower count is often contingent on the content that you do choose to share. Do I want to know how frustrated you were with SEPTA this morning? Probably not (but, I can totally relate). Do I want to read a great article about motivating myself to work smarter at my job? Absolutely. And on that note…

SELF-EDIT: You never know who’s looking at your account. While all thoughts are your own, anyone who reads these thoughts can form an opinion of you based on what you publish. I’ve lost respect for friends of mine after reading some of their tweets. Be yourself, but self-edit. Treat Twitter like a respectable blog, not a means to air your grievances.

GIVE CREDIT: Sometimes, re-tweeting can work against you, as many Twitter users choose to turn off re-tweets (they tend to feel spammy). So, manually typing “RT: @yourfriend “what your friend said that you thought was great [link.ly]” is fantastic. Another stand-up way to give blog authors and writers credit for their work is to share a link and tack a “via @blogauthor” on the end of your tweets. We’ll call it considerate social media etiquette.

FOLLOW ACCOUNTS THAT WILL TEACH YOU SOMETHING: Confession. I’m a Millennial, and I get my breaking news from the Twitter accounts that I follow: The Associated Press, The New York Times, Forbes, NBC, Philadelphia Magazine, etc. Each tweet gives me a tidbit of what I need to know, and the option to click and read the full article. 

To get the MOST out of Twitter, you’ve got to follow accounts that will feed you relevant, interesting, worth-your-3-seconds-of-undivided-attention. In my opinion, the best, best, best kinds of accounts to follow are sports, news, and your respective industry’s mentors. Oh, and companies that will tweet you coupons (Thanks, @DSWshoelovers!).

The DON’Ts:
DON’T FOLLOW EVERYONE THAT FOLLOWS YOU: We’re somewhat expected to give a “follow back” to our friends who follow us. But, if they’re not churning out tweets that are relevant or interesting, don’t let their tweets dilute your feed. The same goes for those random energy companies and “spambots” (Example: @Ninaxlsy382lnV) who follow you out of the blue. Keep your following list as streamlined as possible.

#DONTHASHTAGEVERYTHING: Sarcastic hashtags are fun, I get it. However, hashtags are meant as a way to link you to a bigger conversation.

The right way: You’re watching the show Catfish on MTV and the host is answering questions from users who use the hashtag #AskCatfish. So you tweet “@CatfishMTV: Nev will you marry me? #AskCatfish”. 

The wrong way: You’re watching Catfish on MTV and your tweet reads “WOW Nev from Catfish is so adorable #Cat #Fish #Catfish #adorable #ilovecatfish #marry #me #Nev”. Sure, you just threw a ton of linkable hashtags up on your tweet that may match up with other users, but it’s unnecessary. And it looks spammy. And what’s the point? The point is, you’re an amateur.

DON’T GIVE UP AFTER 1 WEEK: Twitter can feel foreign at first. What do I want to share? How often should I post? Why don’t I have more followers? Don’t worry about creating interesting content from the get-go. Follow accounts that interest you, whether it’s The Weather Channel, The WSJ, or E! News. Check it once a day, a few times a week, or whenever you have down time. You don’t even need to tweet anything at all if you just want to use Twitter as a means for obtaining short-but-sweet information.

FOR THE INS AND OUTS of general Twitter usage, like how to mention people in a tweet or to learn what the heck a “handle” is, check out Jessica Hische’s super basic explanation on momthisishowtwitterworks.com.

…and follow me at @kristio_   😉

One comment

  1. Pam December 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Great piece! I learned so much!