Twitter is exploding in popularity, as millions of internet users post 140-character messages on countless topics. Posts range from quips and quotes to candid photographs to wholly unfounded rumors to breaking news reports and more.
By the fall of 2012, Twitter had 5.25 million active registered users, posting nearly 55 million tweets per day, or 9,000 tweets per second. The site adds approximately 150,000 new enrollees daily, using cellular phones and other hand-held devices, laptops, and desktop computers.
Twitter offers a super-fast and convenient outlet for sharing messages with the masses. Savvy celebrities, politicians, and business moguls capture this momentum for strategic publicity and perhaps damage control as well. Random participants post facts, funnies, and philosophical ponderings too.
And the more-than-occasional gaffe or gross-out zips through cyberspace in tweet form all too often.
Maybe it’s time for a quick run-down on Twitter etiquette.
Consider these 20 misguided mini-missives tweeters routinely fire at followers, who may suddenly become un-followers as a result. These Twitter manners no-no’s are listed alphabetically for easy reference.
1. Daily diet digests
A single remarkable meal may merit mention in a tweet. On the other hand, how many Twitter users post about every meal or calorie counts? Who really wants to know how many carbohydrates a person consumes each day? Save those stats for the weight-loss support group.
2. Exercise run-downs
Daily fitness journals can be super helpful for fitness buffs, but several non-Twitter sites offer ideal opportunities for logging such details.
3. Follower auto-stats
What Twitter user hasn’t eye-rolled to see regular reports of another poster’s gains and losses of followers? And who cares?
4. Generic greetings
A timely “Happy New Year,” “Merry Christmas,” or “Trick or Treat” may be acceptable on Twitter. But a daily “Good morning” or “Hello, Twitter,” though well-intentioned, elicits groans.
5. Hashtag soup
A well-placed #hashtag or two may position a tweet for optimum visibility, if that post picks up a trending term. But what happens when a message reads like this one?
#Twitter #hashtags #increase #readership
Worse yet, how do fellow tweeters respond to those long, strung-together phrases, such as this example?
My favorite celebrity earned an Academy Award #maybeheshouldrunforofficenow
6. Kids’ capers
Actual family members and genuine personal friends may hold real interest in a child or grandchild’s first word, sleep habits, potty training achievements, or school report cards. The rest of the Twitter-sphere may not.
7. Location check-ins
Which tends to be more intriguing to cyber-contacts, a check-in at the final game of the World Series or a check-in at a small-town Little League game? Sure, it depends upon the audience, as well as the tweeter’s comfort level in sharing specific geographical information.
Also, generic check-in posts add little value to Twitter readers. Which is more captivating, “I’m at Pizza Hut” or “I’m at Pizza Hut in Virginia Beach with my 1990s college roommate”?
8. Lonely links
Let’s be honest. What Twitter user will ever click a tweeted link with no title or description? Unrecognizable abbreviated web links leave readers wondering – and moving right along.
9. Name-dropping nightmares
Celebrity watchers love to tweet the names of those they have peeked at in crowds, perhaps even tagging such folks in their posts. How creepy is this? It’s one thing to mention a headliner after actually meeting and interacting with the person, but somewhat stalker-ish to cite upon sight.
10. One-on-one dialogues
Direct tweets, including a tag to a specific person, abound on Twitter. The trespass comes when such posts become an ongoing dialogue, which appears in all of those folks’ followers’ feeds.
Want to continue the conversation beyond the first tweet or two? Get a chat room, folks.
11. Page like pleas
Begging isn’t pretty, even on Twitter. “Like my page” posts tend to send followers running.
12. Profanity and porn
Risque pictures, racy phrases, and profanity may offend plenty of Twitter users. Enough said.
13. Reworked repeat tweets
How do folks feel about the tweeter who puts up a statement, usually with a link, and then posts multiple paraphrases of the same content?
14. RT requests
“Please RT” reads somewhat like a crush’s secret “Please like me” note in junior high study hall. If content merits re-sharing, folks will retweet it without prompting.
Internet users tend to tag CAPITALIZATION as rude shouting, unless it is used sparingly.
16. Spam links
Twitter spamming often earns the same welcome as dinner-time telemarketing calls. What’s more, online spam posts often smack of scamming, creating credibility problems for the poster. Honest link promotion is usually OK, if it is peppered in among other content.
17. Thanks for follows
Cyber-courtesy may call for gratitude when fellow Twitter users pass along posts. But thanking every new follower is cumbersome. Here’s an idea: Instead of posting “Thanks for following me,” why not offer intriguing tweets, making folks glad they signed up?
18. Uncredited quotations
Popular quips and quotes abound on Twitter. The best posts cite the actual speakers, showing the tweeter cared enough to look up sources. Did Dickens, Shakespeare, or the Secretary of State say it? Then say so.
19. Web game scores
Outside of an online gaming community, who really wants to know the latest point totals in a word challenge, virtual reality role-playing game, or trivia contest?
20. Wonder-less weather reports
Major storm warnings often warrant sharing, particularly to alert those in the weather front’s pathway. “It’s raining today” and “I’ve had enough of the winter snow” seem to pile up as feed clutter on Twitter, though.
Granted, an occasional and momentary foray into one of these areas might be forgivable. The Twitter-sphere tends to a fairly forgiving place, with users simply scrolling past posts that fall short of capturing their interest. But those who make habits of filling followers’ Twitter feed with such posts may find their readership dropping.
What additional mis-tweets seem to send followers fleeing, or even blocking fellow Twitter users?