Twitter is a bright, shiny universe of new friends, new ideas, hilarious little snippets and occasionally even a spot of news. It’s a great way to promote your blog or your business. But if your primary purpose on twitter is promotion and not to connect with other people – abandon ship. Twitter is not for you. Ulterior motives don’t do well. They result in one action: UNFOLLOW. Mistakes are easy when you start out. After all, no-one is updating their status – they’re engaging with one another! And that’s confusing – is it private or can you join in? How do you make the most of it and have fun? Well for starters you could avoid the most irritating twitter behaviours. And before you start trawling through my twitter stream – yes I have committed most of them.
1. Gluttony (Over-Sharing)
Do not, I repeat do not over-share. Do you really want to know about someone else’s digestive problems? I didn’t think so. When you went into graphic detail about your gastric flu did you consider all the people reading your tweets while they were eating? Your followers should be wanting to know more about you, not less.
2. Pride (Over-Promotion)
People get pretty sick of you if all they here are continual, duplicated plugs for whatever it is that you’re promoting. The argument that some of your followers may have missed it because of the timing doesn’t hold water. It’s extremely irritating to see exactly the same tweet repeated. Get creative and find a way to send the same link in a different way. For example “my loyal follower has just commented at my blog, what do you think?” And yes over-promotion includes blathering about blog stats, follower numbers or fans.
3. Sloth (Automatic Anything)
Anything that is automated means that you don’t care enough to make it personal. This includes automated DM messages for new followers, an automatic tweet in response to keywords or an auto-follow in response to keywords. This puts you squarely into the spambot category. If you don’t want to spend the time on twitter to be personal, don’t bother at all.
4. Greed (Not Engaging)
Things get pretty boring pretty fast if all you do is update your status, post links, post pictures and promote your blog. In order for people to care about any of that, you need to engage with them. This involves replying when something sparks your interest, or you think you can be of help; re-tweeting where you can add value; and getting involved in the discussion.
5. Envy (Crashing the Party)
Work out the difference between joining the discussion and crashing someone’s private conversation. If a tweet starts with @user it generally means it’s not for public debate because if the author wanted everyone they follow to see it there would be another character in front of the @user to make it visible to everyone. But if you really want to participate in the discussion at the very least acknowledge that you’re crashing. It’s less douchey that way.
6. Wrath (Blasting)
I don’t care how passionate you are about your topic, there is no excuse for blasting. There is nothing wrong with how passionate you are and that passion will probably lead you to find many like-minded people on twitter. But (and it’s a big but), ramming your opinion down someone else’s throat when they don’t agree with you is no way to promote your cause or yourself – particularly if you haven’t taken the time to get to know the person at the end of your rant. I’m sorry activists but twitter isn’t really designed for you because you end up unleashing the bulk of your argument about a theory on one person. Not really fair is it?
7. Lust (Celebrity Stalking)
Everyone loves to follow a celebrity or two. Nothing wrong with that. Although fair warning if you follow @mrskutcher and @aplusk you will have to witness some pretty treacly interchanges. It’s not the celebrity part that is the problem it’s all of their followers. If you say anything at all that could be vaguely interpreted as negative, be prepared for all of their followers to be all over you like a rash. In part because celebrities are so idolised but mostly because deep down their followers are thinking that by attacking you, ‘the hater’, the celebrity will acknowledge them, and might actually follow them back. So avoid the lemmings, they’re not worth it.