Senin, 23 Mei 2011

7 Deadly sin's of Twitter

We’ve talked about Twitter tips before. Everyone knows not to use all caps (really, you shouldn’t do that anywhere), but there are worse Twitter sins. Seven, to be exact. These are things you should never do or, if you have, stop doing them immediately on Twitter.

Location Bulletins
I’m on Foursquare but barely use it because, surprise, I don’t like having everyone know where I am all the time. With Twitter, I used to have to announce my location, but now I can turn on the geo-location feature or use the Foursquare integration and have Twitter do the work for me. Why would I ever want to do this? We’ve all seen the stories about people whose homes have been robbed because, ostensibly, they announced on Twitter that they were going on vacation. Why turn yourself into a headline?

Quotes and Useless Advice
What is this Twitter fascination with posting random quotes? Do we need someone
telling us that Bill Keane believes “A hug is like a boomerang—you get it back right away”? Blech.
I also regularly see tweets with advice and aphorisms from all sorts of people. People have the Twitter soapbox, so they figure they can hand out guidance. Unfortunately, it almost always comes off sounding condescending. Take this one from Confucius, “To know is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”

Endless ReTweets
Please, do everyone a favor and don’t try to include everyone who ever started the tweet or ended up in the Twitter thread in your retweet. It makes the tweet unreadable, and you have virtually no characters left. I know, everyone wants to give credit. I try and do it, too, but I also limit the RT list to two people, max. And sometimes, if I’m pressed for characters, I’ll simply credit the most recent Tweeter. Your followers will appreciate this kind of discretion.

Nasty Comments
I’m no Twitter star, but I now have enough followers to attract random people saying particularly nasty or even just pointed things to me. I like, whenever possible, to respond to them directly. Now, as is my habit, I do not respond in the public stream, because I think those random conversations only tend to confuse everyone else who is following you. The problem I run into, though, is that these cowards operate like the Enola Gay: They fly over my Twitter stream, drop a bomb, and then quickly move on. If they’re not following me, I can’t direct-message them and engage. To put it simply: Don’t say something nasty if you’re too afraid to follow.

Out-of-Context Blather
The other day, someone starting tweeting responses to a couple of my tweets, but insisted on calling me Matt. The comments were actually interesting, but since I’m not Matt, I couldn’t figure out if I should respond or not. Other times, I get tweets sent to me that have no relationship to anything I cover or am remotely interested in. There’s no rhyme or reason to the tweet and usually the Tweeter doesn’t respond when I ask what they meant. Stay on message, people.

Direct-Message Spamming
I don’t know if these are Twitter robots or multi-level-marketers (MLMs) trying to one using the private—and somewhat privileged—Direct Message channel to try and get me to help them sell some random piece of marketing or product garbage. Please, I’m busy, my followers are busy, and none of us has time for this.

Ignoring People
There are celebrities with over a million followers, and I think they can be forgiven for “ignoring people.” I follow a bunch myself, and if you’re watching their Twitter mention streams, you’ll notice how often they’re hammered by people simply begging them to notice, mention or follow them. I’m not talking about these people. For most everyone else with a few hundred or even a few thousand followers, though, when peopleask you a question, you should do your best to respond. This is good practice not just for healthy Twitter relations, but it’s an almost guaranteed way to get even more followers. Those you respond to will usually recommend you elsewhere.

Never do these seven things on Twitter—except when you have to. Truth is, there are exceptions to almost every rule here, but as the saying goes, “Better safe than sorry.” And, no, I won’t be posting that on Twitter.

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