When you’re starting out with Twitter it is easy to make mistakes and put potential followers off-side. In this post Jenny Cromie (follow her at @JennyCromie) explores 8 ways to tick off other Twitter users.
Image by ohhector
Have you ever been to a social networking event and watched someone make a complete fool out of themselves? It’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion. Or like listening to a violinist who doesn’t know the difference between an A flat and and A sharp. It’s painful.
The whole point of a social networking event is to get to know people and build relationships. But if you don’t have a handle on the right social graces, you’ll make the wrong kind of lasting impression.
To the uninitiated, Twitter may seem like a collection of random conversations and annoying mini marketing campaigns. But the Twitterverse is really a big community that you build up around you. And as with most communities, there are certain rules—spoken and unspoken. There’s etiquette on Twitter—or as I like to call it—Twittiquette.
People new to the Twitterverse can’t help it if they make a few social gaffes now and then. Because they simply don’t know what they don’t know. In these cases, social missteps are forgivable. I made a few myself when I first joined up. One time, a new follower thought I was a bot. A bot I most certainly was not, I told her. I just couldn’t figure out the status updater I was using and ended up pinging my poor Tweeps with multiple announcements about my latest blog post (my belated apologies again, Tweeps).
But there are others who have been milling around the Twitterverse for a while and they clearly should know better. These are the folks who you would never ever in a million years want to run into at a chamber of commerce event. In person, they would probably corner you for a half hour or more and talk at you about how fantabulous their company/product/service is and why you should give a gosh darn.
And if you haven’t figured it out already, some of these folks are mingling about and icking up the Twitterverse too. You might even have a couple in your list of followers. Or <gasp> maybe you recognize yourself in one of Twitter types below.
In any case, here’s my list of the eight most difficult Twitter types. The kind of folks that you want to unfriend, unfollow, and unTwitter.
And hey—if the shoe fits, I trust that you’ll know what to do. Or if you are guilty of some of the below but simply are in denial, I hope for your sake that one of your Tweeps will be kind enough to pull you aside via Direct Message and tell you to knock it off already!
This is the guy or gal who thinks that you and every other Tweep is actually waiting with baited breath to find out what they did at every moment throughout the day. They clutter up your page with inane details like: “Watching CSI, eating popcorn, and loving every minute of it!” “Cleaned the kitchen counter!” “Making chili for dinner!!!” Most people are inundated and bombarded with information every day, all day long. The inbox overfloweth. So if you’re going to Twitter something, make it useful or meaningful to your Tweeps. Or send a direct message to the people who really do care what you’re eating for dinner, watching on TV, or listening to on your MP3 player. But please don’t pull the stream-of-consciousness baloney that so often gives Twitter a bad name. I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to track or filter the drivel—and I suspect, neither do your other Tweeps.
A few weeks ago, I suddenly found myself followed by a real estate company, a funeral home, and someplace that specialized in Botox treatments—all from California. WTF? Okay, I am not going to be buying a house anytime soon, and if I was, I certainly wouldn’t be buying one in California. And I don’t plan on dying any time soon, so leave me alone you mortician marketing person—your branding campaign is just plain creepy. Besides, I live in Michigan. And Botox facility, I have nothing to say except “Buzz off!” How did these weirdo marketing flunkies find me? I have no clue. But I blocked them as soon as they announced themselves in my inbox. If you own a business or are new to marketing, keep this in mind: Twitter is great for growing your business—as long as you target the right audience and observe proper Twittiquette. Otherwise, you’ll just tick people off. Word-of-mouth marketing is great if you make a good impression, but not so great if you make a bad one.
These are the types of people who have thousands of followers but who follow no one. To my knowledge, I am only following one of these guys, and his name is Timothy Ferriss—author of the 4-Hour Workweek. I suppose if he followed all of his fans, he’d have to rewrite his book and call it the 80-Hour Workweek. But actually, if he does start following people at some point, he’ll probably just hire a virtual assistant to do it for him. For the time being, I’ll forgive Timothy for not following me because it seems to fit into his overall strategy of doing as little work as possible and getting away with it. For the rest of us earthlings, though, Twitter is about having dialogues and building relationships. So if you’re not following anyone, you’re having a monologue and you’re asking everyone to dig you and everything you have to say. And how boring is that? That’s like the guy who won’t shut up about himself at a cocktail party, but who starts to nod off the moment someone else starts talking himself or herself.
Hey everybody—read my great blog post! Hey everybody—read my great blog post! Hey everybody—read my great blog post! Get the idea? Did you hear me yet? HEY! DID YOU READ MY BLOG POST??!! Yes, there are people on Twitter who keep repeating themselves because they are afraid you might not have “heard” them the first, second, third, or even fourth time. And yes, I did it a few times by accident myself when I was still trying to figure out one of those status updater thingiemajigs. But I am not a bot. There’s no need to repeat yourself on Twitter. If people like what you have to say, they’ll retweet it and repeat it for you. Otherwise, one mention of your blog post or other link is enough. More than that, you’ll start ticking off the Twitterverse. And trust me, you really really don’t want to do that.
This is the guy or gal who says: “Hey! I read this great thing! Click here for major big-time chuckles!” Uh, sorry. Tell me more about the link and why I should care, and then maybe I’ll click on the link. If you don’t provide me with a good reason why I might be interested in taking the time to click, then I’ll just keep scrolling down the screen of Tweets and ignore you. Or worse, I might even block you if you pull that dig-my-secret-link trick too many times. Telling me that something is funny and that I should click on a link isn’t enough—especially if I don’t know anything about you or your sense of humor yet. Most people don’t have time for random clicking—I certainly don’t.
I recently linked up with someone via Twitter, and a nanosecond later, they had written out an impressively lengthy response to my simple “Hello, how are you?” At first, I thought: “Wow! They’ve got fast fingers!” And then I realized that I was just another number in their list of followers—that they had the automatic, canned response that they sent to everyone after that initial Twitter linkup. Having said this, I do try to respond to everyone who chooses to follow me. But to be completely honest, sometimes what I send via direct message to a new follower is not too different from what I’ve sent to other Tweeps. That said, I always try to acknowledge people by name if it’s provided. And if I have time, I try to engage in a little dialogue. People don’t like to feel like a number—not even on Twitter.
I linked up to this woman on Twitter a couple months ago who just would not shut up. I eventually unfollowed her because she was dominating my screen, and apparently, not taking a breath—every day, all day long. I began to wonder if she was independently wealthy because that’s all she seemed to do all day—Tweet Tweet Tweet. People don’t like to be held hostage by a manic conversationalist in person, and the same goes for Twitter. Don’t hog the conversation—you’re not that interesting. No one is.
I was very excited to hook up with one gentleman on Twitter who had some interesting publishing connections. Until I realized that he was simply trying to hawk his e-book and other editorial services onto me and other Tweeps. I also received several spammy e-mails from him, but haven’t unfollowed him. Yet anyway. So if you’re just taking up Twitter space to sell your services, toot your horn about how awesome your business is, or aggressively market whatever it is you’re trying to market, then just stop it already. It’s a bad strategy. It gives you a smarmy reputation. Tweeps know when you’re full of it and not really interested in anything other than trying to do the hard sell. So if that’s what you’re interested in, just buy an ad that I can turn off or ignore, but please don’t Tweet me to death.
Written by Jenny Cromie, a full-time HR/business freelance writer, editor, and Twitter convert. Jenny also is editor of The Golden Pencil, a b5media blog about freelance writing and how to build a successful freelance writing business. Please feel free to say hello on Twitter: @JennyCromie.