August 17, 2011

The 11 Commandments of Twitter

TwittericonYou have taken the plunge and joined Twitter. Maybe you realized how useful it can be for promoting your blog, or maybe you are simply interested in connecting with others and receiving news as it breaks. You have built a small collection of followers, suggesting that people are finding something about what you do worthwhile. In this post, I'll give you 11 tips on how to keep your Twitter followers from dumping you.
  1. Do not use a validation service like TrueTwit. These services make your potential followers jump through hoops just for the privilege of following you. You really think you are worth the added effort? Hint: you're not.
  2. Do not send direct messages to welcome new followers. Regardless of whether you use an automated service for this or do it manually, many consider this bad Twitter etiquette and will form an unfavorable impression of you.
  3. Do not tweet the same thing verbatim more than once a day. And really, you probably shouldn't be doing this at all.
  4. Do not configure Foursquare to automatically tweet your location. This has become one of the biggest annoyances on Twitter, and many people (including me) will unfollow you immediately upon seeing this.
  5. Do not configure YouTube to automatically tweet every time you like a video, post a video, watch a video, etc. This is a close second to Foursquare in terms of annoyance factor and will also get you unfollowed quickly. Video bloggers can get away with tweeting when they upload a new video, but nobody should tweet every time they like a video.
  6. If you are a White guy with a White guy profile picture, do not tweet using your idea of "hood" lingo. You gonna get dissed, yo.
  7. Do not give us a meaningless location in your Twitter profile. Write a bio and use an actual location or leave it blank. We know you think that listing "inside my head" or "neverland" as your location is cool. It isn't.
  8. Do not ask people to retweet whatever you have just tweeted. If we value your tweet, we will retweet it. The explicit plea makes you look desperate and just a bit sad.
  9. Do not complain, whine, or even comment on how you lost a follower (unless you want to lose more). Nobody cares, and all this does is communicate that you are overly sensitive or do not have your priorities straight.
  10. Do not carry on long conversations with someone one tweet at a time unless you have reason to believe it will be of interest to your followers. Even then, be careful about this. You can use direct messages or even email if you have that much to say.
  11. Do not use any service or participate in any group designed to get people to follow you based on gimmicks or spam tweets (e.g., #TeamFollowBack). Some of these will compromise the security of your account, and others are considered unwelcome Twitter spam.
Twitter can be a great resource for connecting with others who have similar interests. These tips should help you be a good Twitter citizen and may even reduce the rate at which people unfollow you. Happy tweeting!

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