Sins of the Tweeter

I am not the be-all, end-all when it comes to social media. I should have made you sit down before breaking that bit of news, shouldn’t I? Such a shock isn’t good for the heart.

Anyway, while I’m no expert and have only a few hundred followers, Twitter is my favorite form of getting social. Trying to communicate a pithy thought in 140 characters or less is a constant exercise in effective writing, and I love the interactions I have over there.

I’m not here to give a lecture on Twitter etiquette because I am still learning some of that myself. But here are some big sins I try to avoid.

Only tweeting links to blog posts. It’s a rookie mistake. When I see an account that consists entirely of blog posts directly publicized by the blog host, I assume it’s someone kind of new to Twitter. Potential followers want to know who we are, they want to connect. It’s hard to interact with a list of links. Tweet the link for sure, but in between, talk to other people. Find some other folks with similar interests to talk to.

Tweeting almost exclusively from other social media. It is frustrating to follow someone whose tweets consist only of status updates from Facebook that are a few teaser words followed by a Facebook link. If you’re not engaged, it’s okay to leave. When I realized my only Facebook status updates were my tweets, I dumped Facebook. Engage in social media you enjoy. Writers are supposed to build platforms, but it’s not really building much of a community if we aren’t really plugged in there. Doing one site well is better than half-hearted engagement in several.

Oversharing. Followers want the link to that latest post. It’s part of why they follow us in the first place. But check your Publicize settings and be aware of how it is tweeting. It is frustrating to see six identical links within seconds of each other because sharing to one site automatically triggers all of them to tweet. Unsure if followers are getting multiple tweets? Check your “me” feed.

Using Twitter to artificially build a blog following. In recent years, I encountered one blogger whose following soared into the tens of thousands within a year. They were even interviewed and asked how they did it. Of course the answer was “I write well.” But here’s the secret. If a WordPress blog is set to post to Twitter, those followers are counted on the blog as well. So this individual spent weeks and months following everyone they could find. Many of those people followed them back. Then, the blogger in question quietly unfollowed those same tens of thousands of people. At first glance, they appear to be wildly popular. In reality, they’re just kind of sneaky. Illegal, no. Dishonest, you bet.

Using Twitter apps incorrectly. There are several apps out there that let you know who followed and unfollowed. Such information can be valuable in helping direct your content. If you see a sharp increase in followers after a post on women’s rights, for example, you can plan similar posts in the future. If followers suddenly drop off, you know to take a look at what may have turned readers off.

Used incorrectly, these apps can make tweeters look insecure and needy. Unless an unfollower is a close friend, it is inappropriate to contact them to ask them why they left. Not everyone is going to like us. It’s okay. Let it go.

Including the entire world in every conversation. I once followed someone and could not for the life of me figure out why I was seeing their conversations with people I do not follow. The reason? This tweeter was moving the Twitter handle to the end of their tweet so their conversation was visible to all of their followers. This move is the equivalent of talking loudly on a cell phone in the middle of a restaurant. Few of us have business so interesting that everyone wants to be a part of it. Equally sinful is putting a period in front of their handle so it looks like you’re talking just to them, but it still goes to everybody else.

Shameless plagiarism. I was recently followed out of the blue by an account with 90K followers. I read their profile, and they seemed harmless, so I followed them back. Then I noticed their tweets looked familiar. Yesterday, I read a distinctively worded tweet that I had read (and favorited) a year ago by someone completely different. This account was not simply retweeting. They were claiming the material as their own. Listen, if it’s rampant plagiarism and copyright infringement I’m after, I’ll visit Pinterest. Retweet if you love something. Nobody loves a copycat. In fact, not only do I unfollow those, I block them as well. No free material from me!

So now you know what I do not like in Twitter accounts that I follow. How about what I love? I love thought-provoking and entertaining tweeters who at least sometimes engage in interaction with their followers.

What are the biggest Twitter sins in your opinion? What did I miss?

 

Twitter is my very favorite way to follow blogs. Feel free to leave your handle in the comments!

 

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56 thoughts on “Sins of the Tweeter

  1. I just rejoined twitter for my blog and very much appreciate your list! I am a total newbie and definitely need help on the etiquette. Thank you! Is it alright if I share your post?

  2. Oh my gosh – I just signed up for Twitter with the intention of getting the word out about my blog, but now am not sure. Yes, I am a newbie to all of this. Thanks for all the info. Will save and re-read and mull it over!

    • Don’t be afraid! Twitter is my FAVORITE way to follow a blog! Just remember a balance between sharing your links, chatting with others, and sharing others’ stuff is all you’re looking for. What’s your handle? I’ll follow!

  3. I had to get off twitter years ago because I was constantly propositioned by women with big boobs. They would send a picture with cleavage showing and ask if I wanted a good time or something like that. I had to block at least 6 women so I finally gave up and got off. Maybe they thought I was Bobbi Brown the rock star.

  4. I wish blocking on twitter did more than just causing the person to unfollow you. They can still read your tweets and you’ll still see them if they’re RTed by one of your followers. There is pretty much no point to it. :/

  5. I have to confess that I don’t Tweet, don’t receive Tweets, don’t really even know how it works. But it seems to be the best way to get a wider audience for blogging. Is that true? Any words of wisdom on getting started?

    • It is GREAT for connecting with people and sometimes in the process finding new followers. Email me if you’d like some tips for getting started.

      My favorite way to follow blogs is through Twitter because my email inbox gets so full, I don’t have time to deal with all the stuff there. When I have a down moment and am scrolling Twitter, though, and I happen across a link by someone I know, I almost always read.

  6. Great post. When used right, twitter is a useful tool, but I agree that there are a number of areas where it is misused. I hate seeing a string of tweets one after the other from the same person and I don’t like ones that only say ‘buy my book’.

  7. Anyone I hear who says they don’t like Twitter, I just think, well, then you’re not following the right people. I do sort of hate the blind “follow me and I’ll follow you requests,” but I’m pretty much just a curmudgeon-y old woman in a slightly younger woman’s body.

    • The “team follow-back” makes me uncomfortable, too. Unless there is a compelling reason NOT to (excessive profanity, only RT, only blog links, etc), I usually follow someone back, but I don’t like feeling compelled to.

  8. I heart your tweets. They make me smile. 🙂

    This is a great list, too. I can’t believe that someone would be so dishonest about getting followers. I think there was some ‘rule’ (the world rule is very loose) about following 20% more people than follow you, or something. Or maybe I have it wrong. I don’t know. It’s just good to interact with people, it’s the best part of the whole deal!

    • Yeah, I don’t remember the exact ratio, either. It’s really, really obvious when it’s off, though. Unless someone is a celebrity, I’d like to see a little interaction in the accounts I follow!

  9. Oh, I am a bit silly then., I have twitter account but no automatic feed from my blog to the twitter.. in fact i am not sure i know how to do that.. there is much so much to learn and so much info i actually don’t even understand..I think i need a social media secretary.. that might be the ticket.. where do you think i might get one of those!?

    • Dashboard -> Settings -> Share -> click the sites you want to auto-post and follow the instructions. I recommend doing so for Twitter because it’ll get your post out there automatically. I preferred to manually share to FB because when I was on FB, auto-posting meant readers couldn’t share it right from FB itself. Weird.

      If you have any questions, shoot me an email, or just post it in the comments here.

      • Thank you, I shall go and do that right now.. maybe, after i have had a wee lie down and a think, you know how this tech stuff affects me.. c

    • It took me a while to figure it out. I just couldn’t figure out why anyone thought it was a good idea. I have seen the period at the beginning work successfully one time. One time.

  10. Yup, yup, yup. Especially the parts about having your other social media auto-post to Twitter, which is annoying on its own (depending on the site… FB is the worst, others aren’t so bad) but coupled with then posting the same link to ALL of those sites so that we see it five times in as many minutes, it’s ridiculous! *unfollow*

  11. Agreed about the authors who are obviously only following you to sell their book (and then unfollow you a couple of days later if you don’t follow back…well, it’s pretty obvious you weren’t following me because I’m scintillating, goodbye, dude/dudette.) Another thing that annoys me – people that are NOTHING but RTs. As in, I never see a single original post from them. That makes me sad. And also makes me unfollow.

    I’m terrible at Twitter lately. I keep saying I’ll be back, but I also don’t see anyone adding those few extra hours in a day I need…so who knows if it will ever happen.

  12. Ahhh I struggle with Twitter! I just started my account again after deleting it in absolute frustration. I am not one to be limited to 140 characters. I hate how everything is a link or a hashtag. I want your words, I want to see your pictures- I don’t want to have to follow links to get to the content! I am trying to use it now for a more professional thing, but it is so hard. Most of the time I go to write something and then I think “Who the heck cares?”. I will try to keep these guidelines in mind! I just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it. Also, I LOVE your turtles background.

    • I don’t mind links as long as that’s not the sum total of the account. I’m like you. I want to see what that individual has to say.

      My friend found that background for me, so it is doubly special!

  13. Ah twitter…I admit that I make all of the twitter mistakes. Even with tutoring, my twitter account remains a black hole. I can never figure out why people follow me on twitter, but they do…lol. To be honest a post five days of the week may be all I am capable of writing. 🙂

  14. Sounds to me like your a Twitter-ing genius (meant in the nicest way possible of course!) I have never “understood” Twitter, but you make it sound interesting. Unfortunately I hardly have time to blog, let alone get right into the social media circus. (I’m only on FB to keep in touch with family and friends.) By the way, I just use my Reader on WordPress to see the blogs I follow.

    • I had to quit using my reader because it no longer loads for me. *sigh*

      A circus. Exactly. Between Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, it’s like never knowing where to direct your attention. That’s why I am only on one. Where would I find the time for more?!

  15. I didn’t understand 50% of this post, I am terrible at Twitter! And my biggest sin is only posting links to my blog updates. Oops! I do try to more persona tweets every once in a while, but I need more characters to tell the world how interesting my life is and I’ve been with FB since it’s genesis. I’m clearly biased! Thanks for the tips!

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  17. Posting too much, like a tweet every 10 minutes every day. I don’t like my feed clogged up by one single person. Especially when it’s just retweets. There’s a fine line between good amount of content and obnoxiousness.

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