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10 Things Not To Do On Twitter

Posted by on Oct 20, 2009

Twitter is the fastest growing social networking site in the world today. As with most new technologies, rules for proper use are written on the fly, and Twitter rules are no different, except, in this case, the rules aren’t quite written, and it’s the users that make the rules.

There are ten things that many Twitter people do that are generally considered as bad manners. Some of those things are:

* Not having an image of some sort with your profile. Unless people know who you are, they’re reluctant to follow anyone without some kind of image to give people an idea of who they might be.

* Using a tiny.url as the link to your website. Hiding a link to your website makes people suspect that you have an ulterior motive in putting it there, and if people don’t trust you from the start, they won’t follow you.

* Writing about every single step of your day. No one is interested in following every second of anyone else’s life, yet that’s how some people participate on Twitter. If that person isn’t your friend, you’ll probably drop them because they’re taking up too much of your time and space when you have other people to follow.

* Only posting links or quotes and not talking to anyone. People love information, but we hate being ignored when we want to talk to someone. If a person has 30,000 people following them, or if they’re a celebrity, they might get a break, but for everyone else, if you don’t ever engage anyone openly, people will unfollow you pretty quickly.

* Posting the same links over and over. Many people are on Twitter only to market themselves. If someone is following you and sees that you only post the same content all the time, you can bet they’re going to drop you as soon as possible.

* Using a lot of bad language. This is the bane of modern existence, people forgetting how to be courteous in public, but being consistently bad mouthed will get people to drop you like a bad habit, even if they use bad language in their real lives.

* Following a lot of people but only having a few follow you. This is a big red flag for most Twitter users, because it’s the tactic employed by spammers. Though there are often these big pushes towards increasing one’s followers, it’s better to increase both in a more organic fashion.

* Not having any posts. If you never write anything, or almost never write anything, why would you expect people to follow you? Twitter is all about people interacting with each other, and if you’re not interacting, or you have one or two posts and they’re both talking about the latest product you’re marketing, you’ll never get any followers.

* Getting into an argument with another person. It can invariably happen to anyone, but it’s considered bad practice because the participants never know what they’re going to say, and at some point they might say something that offends a big number of people. It’s usually best to try to let it go as soon as possible.

* Saying something in the open that you’d never say in person. Last year, a reporter for the Chicago Sun Times wrote a negative post about too many fat people on the train he was on. Within an hour, he had been vilified worldwide, and many people had already sent letters to the newspaper demanding that he be fired. Back in January, another person lost a job he’d just been offered because he made a derogatory comment about taking the job without realizing that the person who offered him the job was following him on Twitter.

These are just some things that people need to think about when they’re going to participate on Twitter. Avoiding these ten things can make your Twitter experience a pleasant one.

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26 Comments »

laura frantz:

OK, so, does a sketchy face count as an alright profile pic? *worried*
.-= laura frantz´s last blog ..the last sunset =-.

October 20th, 2009 | 11:15 AM
Mitch:

Hi Laura,

No, that works fine. It’s something different, and that will draw the eye. The issue is people who don’t put up any kind of image whatsoever, which makes the account look like it’s fake.

October 20th, 2009 | 12:49 PM

Some great points, but I think the one about writing every thing you do and sending out quotes etc., is up to how each one decides to use twitter.

I wouldn’t follow those people, of course, but I know some people would 🙂
.-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..150 Companies Accounts For Half Of All Internet Traffic, Says 256 Exabytes =-.

October 20th, 2009 | 11:31 AM
Mitch:

Hi Klaus,

There was one lady who was a life coach but also authored a book on Twitter with someone else. She actually had over 100 posts in an hour at one point when I was following here, and I said that was just way too much. That’s the issue; most people will drop her after awhile, if not quickly, because she wasn’t talking to anyone, just detailing every single thought she had.

October 20th, 2009 | 12:50 PM

Someone like that is hogging up the entire tweet area with nonsense. It makes it impossible to follow good tweets wading through there junk tweets.

@ExtremeEzine is hungry 😉

October 22nd, 2009 | 11:28 AM

haha great list; Think I better dust of my twitter account and fix some of these problems I have on mine :p
.-= Donace´s last blog ..Mafia Wars Collections and Items =-.

October 21st, 2009 | 12:43 PM
Mitch:

Donace, I’m sure you’re doing just fine.

October 21st, 2009 | 5:29 PM

Hi Mitch,
I think I have followed each or those types of people. Some I have soon unfollowed.

I am all for people tweeting however they want. If they want to cuss about each moment of the day that is fine…I just unfollow. That falls under the same as people that are fake. Their tweets are not like them, they just try to impress?

The tinyurl in the profile, irritates me. I just can’t get over someone not wanting you to see their real url.

Guess I better go delete that tweet about the fat people on the train I just sent. Wouldn’t want people to send my boss hate mail.

Oh, I am the boss so, never mind the tweet stays. LOL!
.-= Sheryl Loch´s last blog ..How to Find Web Page Cache Date =-.

October 21st, 2009 | 6:25 PM
Mitch:

There you go, Sheryl; be the boss! lol Actually, that guy was just stupid; I wonder if he still has a column in that city, since Chicago news is kind of on the ropes. And that tiny url thing is very irritating to me; I just don’t trust it.

October 21st, 2009 | 7:39 PM

Nice post Mitch, it could actually be used as a guide. The Twitter spammers are pretty common lately. You covered it with ‘Posting the same links over and over’. You’ve seen these spammers that tweet a link followed by random @users.

I always block spammers like that but I wish Twitter had a button to report them.
.-= Brian D. Hawkins´s last blog ..Blog Directories – Can We Live Without Them? =-.

October 22nd, 2009 | 11:24 AM

Brian,
If you use Tweetdeck you can click the avatar, then User, then block & report spam.
If you use the web, you can now click on the persons profile & you will see a Block & Report Spam right there – just click it.
Also if they are in your Followers list, Click the ‘Gear’ for the dropdown & you can Report as Spam.

Now, go block & report all those scums so, Mitch & I can tweet happily without them. 😉
.-= Sheryl ´s last blog ..Get More Backlinks Indexed Faster =-.

October 22nd, 2009 | 1:59 PM
Mitch:

I don’t worry as much about that scum, Sheryl, as I do the ones who try to get stuff through the blogs.

October 22nd, 2009 | 4:53 PM
Mitch:

They do, Brian, if you use something like TweetDeck. I can block people and report them at the same time.

October 22nd, 2009 | 4:53 PM

I just unfollowed someone and I noticed that report for spam link. I ran back here to tell everyone but you and Sheryl beat me to it. It’s about time Twitter took one of my suggestions.
.-= Brian D. Hawkins´s last blog ..Blog Directories – Can We Live Without Them? =-.

October 23rd, 2009 | 1:48 AM
Mitch:

That’s funny, Brian. Sorry we beat you to it, but glad to have you join us. 😉

October 23rd, 2009 | 10:07 AM

Hi Mitch, nice to be here again. Sure missed quite a lot of your posts, need to catch up 1 by 1. ^^

Oh yes, I remember having to drop someone for one of the reasons mentioned. A tricky one – that person added a lot of people, in the end he ‘cleaned’ the list to the ratio of 1:10. After making sure that’s not due to Twitter prob or spammers etc, I was disappointed the tactic used as to make the account look good. So a bad move can be quite hurtful to one’s reputation.

@wchingya
Social/Blogging Tracker
.-= Ching Ya´s last blog ..3 Easy Ways to Share Selective Tweets on Facebook Pages =-.

October 23rd, 2009 | 6:24 AM
Mitch:

Hi Ching Ya,

I’m not a fan of these people who decide they can game the system by treating people like that. For awhile there you saw all these posts telling people how to increase the number of followers, and a lot of those folks were doing that, then decided they didn’t like it after the fact. You just never know how things are going to turn out when you get greedy.

October 23rd, 2009 | 10:09 AM

That’s a good list, and I like how you explained why you shouldn’t do these things.

When I made my list I didn’t for most of them, because I thought the reasons were quite obvious.

I kind of took a more amusing approach and listed the worst stuff you can do on Twitter, and I guarantee you that if you do everything on my list you will either have no followers at the end of the month, the ones left will be the worst people on twitter, or your account will be suspended.
.-= app103´s last blog ..Forget getting more Twitter followers, here’s how to keep the ones you have =-.

November 13th, 2009 | 6:22 AM
Mitch:

I read your list, April, and that was very good stuff indeed. I was going to leave a comment, only I don’t see anyplace to go, so you must not accept comments. That Follow Friday thing is a biggie for me. I get listed a lot, but of course that means I get lots of messages with my name in them and nothing else; just too weird.

November 13th, 2009 | 11:15 AM

Sorry about the commenting issue. Had a little problem with Disqus. Seems to have fixed itself though, and commenting is working again.

You know what makes less sense than the long list of names for Follow Friday? People that RT other people’s long lists of names. What’s up with that?
.-= app103´s last blog ..A question to ponder =-.

November 14th, 2009 | 8:28 AM
Mitch:

That’s another pet peeve, April. I think it’s just to try to get activity for their own Twitter accounts, and that’s a shame.

November 14th, 2009 | 3:21 PM
Julia:

I agree with this article and in order to reinvent your business you need to come up with dynamic ideas from time to time

December 11th, 2009 | 1:21 AM
Rose:

I use a tiny url service all the time & I haven’t had any trouble getting followers. Twitter also turns some of my links into tiny urls. They use bit.ly.
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Generate Traffic to your blog =-.

January 1st, 2010 | 8:29 PM
Mitch:

In your Twitter profile, do you have a tiny url, or your regular url? I don’t follow anyone I don’t know if it’s a tiny url; it’s the most perspicacious thing to do to protect yourself from going to a bad website. Most people who check out a person’s profile before following someone won’t follow those people.

January 1st, 2010 | 8:37 PM
Rose:

Oh.. In my profile I don’t have a tiny url. Of course not. My apologies. I guess I read that too quickly. Me bad. 😉
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Generate Traffic to your blog =-.

January 1st, 2010 | 9:07 PM
Mitch:

No problem; I was hoping you didn’t.

January 1st, 2010 | 9:10 PM