Monday, March 31, 2014

Twitter Etiquette

Cassin's Sparrow
By Laurie Epps

Twitter has a lot more rules compared to other social media outlets, especially in regards to composition. All users have an 140 character limit per Tweet on Twitter. If you plan to re-tweet, you've got to keep it under 120 characters.

Not only is Twitter restrictive on how many characters you can use, there's lots of subtleties that make people mad. As a conscientious blogger, I just know you don't want your Tweets to undermine all the hard work you're doing on your blog.

In Edie Melson's book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers she gets down to the nuts and bolts of the fundamental unwritten rules of Tweeting.

Noparula Bluebird
To start the conversation, Edie writes about her most common questions. If this triggers a question for you, please let me know in the comments section, and I'll do my very best to get it answered for you.

The most common questions in today's Q & A:

Q: What should I do? Reply or Retweet?
A: Reply is used to:

  • Answer a comment, or
  • Thank someone for mentioning you.
It's good form to reply to someone who re-tweets you, even if you simply say: Thanks for the RT.

It's poor form to re-tweet  a tweet that mentions you, not unforgivable, but it's not good form either.

Q: Is there a hard and fast rule about how often I should Tweet?

A: There's an 140 character limit for a reason. Tweeting 3 or 4 times in a row is considered rude, or hogging the stream. So if you're scheduling them, make sure they're at least 10 minutes apart. (Tip: for me this is easier to control on Hootsuite.)

Q: What's with the @Lists people Tweet?

A: First, it's polite to thank new followers, and some people like to group their followers into lists. This is ok, and totally allowed if you don't hijack the stream doing it.

Second, there's destination days for the days of the week. For example, there's #FF = Follow Fridays. It's not your only opportunity to look for people, but it gives you a chance to prove your relevance by offering up valuable people to follow. The opposite is true too, and you'll find a lot of great industry professionals the same way. But again, don't hog the stream when you do it.

Q: Do I have to follow everyone that follows me?

A: Absolutely not! Edie recommends you look to follow people that have something valuable to say. Also, if you're not sure, check out their description. If they don't have a description, or picture, make sure it looks like a real account. If they seem sketchy, don't have a picture, or the account has an egg avatar, don't add them. (Tip: Ladies, if it's a guy with only female followers, beware.)

Some common initials on Twitter:

  • RT = Re-Tweet
  • MM = Music Monday
  • OH = OverHeard
  • HT = Heard Through (so and so)
  • WW = Wordless Wednesday
  • FF = Follow Friday
  • Note: There's a lot more of them out there, but this will get you started.

If you know of any others, please share them with us in the comments section.

Painted Bunting Bluebird
Connect Activity:

Take a minute to look through your list of Twitter followers. To find them, go to your Twitter homepage and click followers. Make sure you've followed back everyone that you wanted to.

(Note: There's also a website called ManageFlitter that will manage your Twitter account for you. See Edie's January 16, 2014 blog.)

Can't get enough about social media? Check out Edie's Social Media Mondays column at:

Come back next week to learn the Six Twitter Taboos.

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

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