Miss Manners on Twitter Etiquette
You have good manners, right? What about good online manners? Just like the dinner table, social networks have their own guidelines for being proper and polite. If you’re relatively new to Twitter—or even if you aren’t—mastering Twitter etiquette can help you better engage with the community. Here are a few tips to make sure your manners are impeccable when interacting on Twitter.
Contribute Good Content
If you want to be a good community member and start building relationships on Twitter, the first step is to contribute good content. Good content can come in many forms: a thoughtful observation, a link to a great article or image, a funny comment, or a great conversation with other followers.
Did someone share a really great article, blog post or conversation with you? Do you want to share that gem of information with your own followers? Make sure your followers know who your source is. You can give credit in a number of ways, but the most common is to re-tweet (RT) the original tweet to your followers.
Use DMs Wisely
For general conversation, the @-reply usually works well. But an @-reply isn’t very private. If the conversation turns to something that doesn’t belong in a visible conversation stream, it’s time to employ the direct message (DM), which enables you to have a one-on-one conversation with another follower outside of the public stream.
DMs are great for more private, personal conversation, but you might want to avoid using automated DMs that spam your followers with a message or a link. Many in the Twitter community find auto-DMs invasive and impersonal.
Don’t Be a Self-Promotion Machine
Twitter is definitely a place where you can share your own content and ideas. But don’t take this to an extreme; your tweets should be more than tooting your own horn. Share others’ content, and engage others in conversation.
Reply to Your Followers
If someone speaks to you directly, you should respond! It’s rude to leave a conversation hanging when someone reaches out to you.
Be Sensible with Hashtags
Hashtags (they look like #this) are a handy way of organizing tweets around a specific subject, and makes it easy for users to follow conversations about that topic in search. Use them, but don’t go crazy adding hashtags to your tweets. Hashtagging every word is excessive, and hard to read.
These are just a few tips to help you maintain better Twitter etiquette. What guidelines for good manners do you follow in your online communities?
Teri Guill is a Strategy Analyst with Social Strategy1 and helps clients with social media monitoring, reputation management and online strategy. Look for her posts monthly on the Social Strategy1 blog and connect with her on Twitter @teriguill.
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