Twitter has grown tremendously since its inception in 2006 – latest statistics show that its 75 million users posted 4 billion tweets in the first quarter of 2010 alone. Many new users are joining Twitter every day, either just for fun or to use it as a PR (public relations) platform, and most of them are yet to learn the proper Twitter etiquette. In the end, their tweets end up being counterproductive for them, with some being blocked by their followers. So here is a brief guide on Twitter best practices.
1. Don’t Spam
Nobody likes getting unsolicited direct messages on Twitter. Just because someone is following you doesn’t mean that you can unleash your entire marketing barrage on him.
2. Use Casual yet Non-offensive and Understandable Language
Granted, Twitter is a platform where you can speak your mind and, as with most social networking websites, formal language is not exactly within its purview. While shorthand like “l8r”, “b4”, “4 u”, etc. is passable, keep in mind your intended audience when you use it. More importantly, avoid using foul language in your tweets as this will definitely turn off many followers.
Always acknowledge the original poster when you post a retweet. If you retweet a post by “username”, append “(via @username)” at the end of your retweet. Try to keep as much of the original tweet as possible, though you may truncate or add to it.
4. Nobody Likes Indiscretion and 24/7 Updates
Keep people posted on what you’re doing, but don’t over-do it. Sending a post every minute just floods other people’s feeds. Also, posts like “I’m in the toilet” aren’t meant for Twitter. Before posting your tweet, ask yourself: “Is this the kind of thing that a normal person would say out loud in a crowded room?”
5. Have an Accurate Bio and Don’t Impersonate
Be all you can be, but don’t impersonate. Twitter has an impersonation policy that allows impersonation for parody, but there’s a thin line between what’s funny and what’s illegal. It’s also best to have an accurate bio, complete with an avatar, letting others know who you really are.
This is by no means a comprehensive guide on Twitter etiquette. Common sense dictates most of what can and cannot be done on Twitter. But if you start off with these five simple rules, you will be setting yourself up for an admirable Twitter image and an impressive following.