Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Apr 30, 2009

Twitter Etiquette According To ce54r

I'm sure you have already read several posts on your Twitter timeline about "how to be a successful at Twitter". It seems they never stop, so you get to read over and over again the things that, in my opinion, are rather obvious to anyone who's been on that social network for a little bit. There are no secrets, just common sense. A lot of the people who continuously post links to that kind of information are people who seem to have only one goal: get a shitload of followers, no matter who they are or what they do. Pretty lame.

Well, this won't be another blog about how to attract millions of new followers, but a few basic "rules" to separate yourself from the typical lame-ass that you will constantly find on Twitter. Take in mind that this is my opinion, and it might have an adverse effect on the number of followers you have, but in my eyes at least, you'll be cool. Now, I say "rules" because there are really no rules. It is a social networking site and you can do whatever the fuck you want with your page. Hell, you can have a MySpace profile that's pink and has glitter and stars and things that move all over it, and have huge pictures of you and your friends, and fill up the music, movie, and TV with pictures of your favorite bands, movies, and TV shows, and also have a flashy slideshow with all your hottest pictures, and your favorite YouTube clips all over it too, if you like. You might think it looks awesome and it reflects your personality yaddah yaddah yaddah, just like I've heard many say when I say anything about some people's profile "design".
Anyways, let's cut the crap, these are the things I think you should do to be Twitter cool, in no particular order:
1. Never use automated DM's. Some people might not know this, but it's just lame. Maybe it was fashionable in 2008, I don't know. You might think that sending an automated DM when someone starts following you to say thanks will make you look more polite, or serious, or all the above and also it's a good chance to promote your crap. Nope, it's just lame and so impersonal, I prefer not getting anything. When I do get them I start to think that that person really doesn't give a shit about me, or perhaps is following so many people that they have very little time for me or whatever I have to say. I see more and more people posting about how they dislike automated DM's. Just don't send automated DM's, it sucks. Don't do it to say "thanks for the following", or "sorry about the automated DM, I'll read your shit, I promise", or "hello, you seem cool, here, this is my website and you should check it".
2. Don't ever thank anyone for following you. It doesn't even make sense, so just be an ungrateful motherfucker and never do it in any form (regular post, DM, or their automated variations). Why "thank for the following"? If they are following you it should mean they are already getting something out of you, but if you say thanks it sounds like they are doing you a favor, or that you might be using them for something (to promote your shit). Either way, don't do it, no one will ever judge you for that, but you will get judged (at least by me) if you do it. Same goes with my first point.
3. Don't talk about how many followers you have. That number doesn't mean anything, really, especially if most of your followers are people who don't care what you have to say and all they want is to sell you something. The only time when talking about your number of followers is when you reach 666 followers, but that's because what's important is not the amount, otherwise don't mention it and even less say "OMG, I've reached X thousands of followers! Thank you very much". It doesn't mean you're successful and nobody cares.
4. You don't have to follow every single person who starts following you. First of all, that's dangerous, like the recent Twitter Worm showed. Second of all, a whole lot of spam accounts and "Twitter Marketers" will start following you because they know most people just follow back blindly. They just want a new follower, they could care less about what you post, so they just use you to up their "numbers". It is so obvious, that if you don't follow back, instead of engaging you commenting on any of your posts, they will just unfollow. Lame. The typical Twitter profile for these type of account says something about "social media" or "Internet marketing" on their bio, has links on every single post they make, and some @replies, sometimes they also have many thousands of followers and are following a similar number of people. Be a Twitter snob.
5. For the love of god, stop talking about Internet/Twitter marketing tips! At first I checked out some of the link and after a while I realized they all say pretty much the same shit. I can easily Google marketing tips or even search it on Twitter, so instead of keep posting that crap just say something interesting like "I just changed my tampon" or "my friend just farted and smells".
6. For the love of god, stop talking about how to gain more followers! Most of the links tell you what you already know or tell you a sleazy way to gain followers, or even worse, random followers! Why do I want random followers? I don't. Do you?
7. Don't spread one thought over 3 or 4 posts every single time you say something. The whole point if to post short, concise, to-the-point posts, not to write a whole blog about your life. Every once in a while it's not possible to post something on just one set of 140 characters, and using 2 or 3 it's OK and understandable. But don't do it every time, it's kinda annoying and your posts will most likely be separated by other people's posts blah blah blah.
8. Don't thank for the Re-Tweet. Unless the post they are re-tweeting is promoting you or your company or your band, etc, there's no need to thank them since it's obvious you already gave them a piece of information they consider it's worth sharing, so perhaps they should thank you instead.
9. Don't Re-Tweet like a maniac. I think there's no explanation needed for this one.
10. Be human. A lot of companies are getting on Twitter now, and they are making it completely boring by acting like... a company. I think Twitter is interesting and the most social of all social networking sites because it shows the human side of their users. These companies get on Twitter and will only post links to more crap, which it's OK if it's post 2 or less times a day. Unless you are CNN, or another news network, or a specific Twitter user that says will posts funny videos or pictures or music advice, then don't do it that way. You won't gain anything, it's bad marketing. Make a profile for a person who represents the company (the owner or person in charge would be best) and let this person express his feelings and emotions and share them with the world, as well as some promotion here and there. People do like that much better the constant bombarding of promotional stupid links. This brings me to my next point...
11. Don't be a self-promotional whore. This is probably the one that will keep you from looking like a loser. Let me tell you a story. I stared following this guy who works in an industry that interests me, so I thought following him was good networking. He was alright, lots of RT's and many self-promotional links, and a couple personal posts here and there. One day due to a certain "Festival" he started self-promoting himself like a maniac. Every 20 fucking minutes the dude would re-post the same shit, which consisted on 3 posts, that usually were: a link to his crap (where he also compared his crap with major signed stuff), a link to some obscure article that said he was a "Twitter success", and a RT of someone saying anything good about his crap. He also started talking about how many followers he had and how many more he was gaining that day. The guy seemed to be having a Twitter-gasm, I could almost imagine him with his eyes wide opened having a delusion of grandeur moment, salivating, pulling his hair out. I'm the most patient person in the world but I couldn't take it. I had to unfollow. Maybe he was a nice guy, maybe he will be successful, and maybe I lost a work opportunity (doubt it) but that was exactly the kind of shit that professional bullshiters say all the time and I can't deal with that shit. Moral of the story: promote yourself in moderation. Your posts won't go anywhere, so if three post don't make people check our your shit, one million won't either and will get your ass unfollowed.
So, there it is, at least for now. Many of the "don'ts" I mention here were done by me at some point, and are still done by many of the people I still follow and care about. Not because TechBabe send an automated DM to welcome you to her Twatstream and give you a link to her shit doesn't mean she's not cool. She is cool, and most, if not all the people I follow I consider cool. The fact that they do a couple of little annoying things every once in a while (or even often) doesn't mean I will stop following. We're all human, and we all make mistakes, but that's why I'm doing this, to help you get on the road of Twitter redemption, right? Haha, actually, many (the two or three people that will actually read this) will probably disagree with me on several of the points I make here, so perhaps I'll end up looking like an asshole in the end. And if this is the case, then it will be the perfect opportunity for you to be a friend and help me out just I'm trying to do here.
Now, how do you feel about the ten minutes you just lost reading this?

Your friend.


2loose said...

I guess in my month or so on titter, I've come to largely the same opinions. I used to feel guilty for not thanking everyone for following, or I should dm everyone that follows me, that got old fast. Now I feel I should just jump in when I see someone posting something I find useful or interesting. Now and then I post a link to 1 of my songs, but at least I'm offering a free download. I wouldn't do this all day long, as that would get old as well. I'd rather be respected or at least thought of as interesting and human than just getting a bund of robots to check out my music site and then forget about me. As far as retweeting, I will do it as a favor if it's someone whom I'm trying to help out, or if it's simply a cool tweet that I too want to pass along. But I can't imagine retweeting tons of stuff, willy nilly. My 2 cents.

Margaret said...

I've never used Twitter, but I love your blog.

Robert said...

That auto DM thing really caught me off guard when I first joined Twitter. I'd get a DM thanking me for following and I'd reply to the DM with what I thought was an engaging comment or a question only to get dead air in return. When I finally figured that they were, indeed, automated my attitude toward people who relied on them changed to Screw You - if you can't reply yourself, don't do it at all.

Otherwise, I think Twiter is fairly forgiving in terms of learning how to interact with folks, which makes it a cool place to hang out.