Recently Twitter doubled its character limit from 140 to 280, and while I’m not so sure that it will be a good thing in the long run, it certainly makes it a lot easier to complete a thought. That said, there are certain unwritten rules that attempt to keep people on the platform from annoying one another. Despite this group etiquette, you’ll still no doubt run into situations that may make you want to scream, but keep in mind that it’s probably bugging others as well. Rest assured that sooner or later the offender gets the message and either mends his ways or leaves. Let’s take a look at some of the basic Twitter etiquette rules that you should know.
• Don’t use all caps. One of the things that netizens universally hate is someone COMMUNICATING IN ALL CAPS. This is considered the equivalent of shouting, is more difficult to read, and just plain impolite.
• Don’t be rude. What’s rude in real life is rude on Twitter as well. The problem is that people are more easily offended online because they can’t see any facial expressions or body language, and as a result, what you consider to be a rather harmless tweet can kick up a firestorm. The way around this is to think through every tweet before you send it and stay away from any provocative language.
• Don’t use an affiliate link in a tweet. Links in a tweet are a good thing, but it’s bad form to include one that’s blatantly trying to sell something or make money.
• Don’t ask someone for a favor publicly. Just like doing it in a crowded room, it’s uncool. Better to ask in a private conversation. Use DM instead.
• Don’t auto-DM. It’s possible to set up an automatic direct message welcoming someone when they follow you. Save your time and money as this is considered bad form. If it’s not personal, an auto-DM can do more harm than good.
• Issue a high volume warning. If you’re going to be tweeting more than normal (like from a show, conference or event), tell your followers in advance. No one likes their Twitter feed to be controlled by one person.
• Don’t be negative. Nothing turns off followers faster than negative commentary. If you can’t say something nice and be positive, don’t say it at all.
• Don’t provide too much information. Twitter isn’t a place for details. There’s not enough room in the limited number of characters that you have, which means that you have to resort to more tweets, which puts you into the realm of over-tweeting. As with most things online, less is more.
• Pause between tweets. Another thing that makes people crazy is a big volley of tweets one after the other. Take a break before your next tweet. Give other people a chance to get their tweets seen as well.
Following these Twitter etiquette rules will not only help you keep your followers, but will keep you in good Twitter standing. It’s just a little bit of courtesy, but well worth it.
You can read more from the latest edition of my Social Media Promotion For Musicians guidebook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.