10 Highly Used and Abused Twitter Trends that are Not Cool


Twitter is the next best thing since sliced bread. We get it. We know. Since sliced bread was pretty easy to figure out, you’d think Twitter would be too. After all, it’s only 140 characters, right? Wrong.

The amount of Twitter abuse going around the Twitterverse is mind-boggling! Some offenses are worse than others. While we can ignore a few of them, there are some that we just can’t.

Don’t get me wrong. Twitter isn’t a cutthroat place where you make one mistake and people unfollow you. But Twitter is not a nonsense place (despite the Justin Beiber craze you see there some times).

We realize that you may be new, that you may be finding your way around, or simply trying out the myriad of new Twitter services that crop up. But what you need to realize is that your Twitter followers need to be treated with respect. Don’t go filling their timeline with one-word tweets that read ‘Lol!’ It makes you look like a bit of an idiot to be honest. Like that person on the train who laughs out loud in the middle of the crowded train. No one’s going to ask, what’s so funny? They’re going to give you a look and then ignore you.

The above scenario is what’s happening to you on Twitter if you’re using and abusing the following Twitter trends.

1. Follow Friday

(photo source)

Every Friday, we see our timeline filled with ‘#FF @thisperson @thisone, @thatone and @thisone too’.

Now why in the world would I want to do that? Who are they? What do they do? Why are you recommending them?

How to do it right: There’s only one way to get it right. Recommend one person per tweet and with a reason as to why, because they’re cool is not a reason. Explain why you think their tweets will benefit your followers or how they benefit you. Now that doesn’t mean that you recommend 15 people in a row – that’s just irritating. Tweet the recommendations throughout the day at intervals and never more than three at the same time.

2. Retweeting your own RT’s

If a person has more than a few followers, and is a nice, helpful person and tweet regularly, sooner or later, someone’s going to say something nice about them.

Now had someone complimented them in real life, they’d say thank you and would have felt all warm and happy for the rest of the day. On Twitter though, they RT the complimentary tweet.

I’m not sure why people think this is acceptable. You’re tooting your own horn! What happens to people in real life who toot their own horn a lot? They get ignored.

This is one mistake I often see otherwise Twitter etiquette savvy people making all the time. We get that you’re happy someone likes you so much. We like you too. What we don’t like is you retweeting every nice thing someone tweets about you.

How to do it right: There’s only one way to do it right and that’s by not doing it. Instead, grab a WordPress plugin called Tweetstimonials and install it on your website or blog and let it serve as testimonials for you.

Trust me, a person visiting your website for the first times wants to read testimonials. They want to know that you’re trustworthy and that you and your service/business will take care of their needs.

As a disclaimer, let me just say that there are some (very rare) times where it may be acceptable to retweet a complimentary tweet. For example, you’ve just published a blog post or released a product you worked really hard on and spent hours perfecting. Then you get a tweet saying how much your post, product etc helped the person. Retweeting that tweet with a prefix reading ‘This just made my day!’ or ‘All my handiwork just paid off’ will go down much better with your followers.

That being said – don’t do it often!

3. Auto DM

Auto DM’s make me want to scream. They’re a waste of space and no one takes them seriously. Yet, so many people still insist on sending Auto DM’s the minute someone follows them. A generic ‘Hi! Thanks for following. Hope to connect with you soon.’ sounds harmless but the receiver knows that it doesn’t mean a thing. The person doesn’t even know yet that I’ve followed them, let alone know me! It makes me wonder if the person is for real.

How to do it right: There’s no way you can do this right. Half the people have turned off their new follower notification in their settings so chances are they’re never going to notice you followed them unless you took the initiative and tweeted with them.

But you know what does make me sit up and take notice? Receiving the same message as a public tweet. It tells me you keep tabs on who follows you, that you’re online right now and genuinely interested in making my acquaintance. More over, it makes you real and I can’t wait to reply to your tweet and connect with you.

4. Auto follow/unfollow

If you have a program that auto follows everyone who follows you, then I shudder to think what your Twitter timeline would be like.

The whole point of Twitter is to follow people who interest you – not follow back every Tom, Dick and Harry who follows you. It doesn’t serve any purpose. You’re blindly following people who you don’t know anything about. They could be spammers, they could be bots, worse, they could be people who stand for things that you abhor.

Choose your own people to follow. That way, you’ll have relative control over your timeline, will be able to engage more and probably actually know a good percentage of your followers.

Twitter isn’t all about having a big number of followers. You’d be surprised at what just a couple hundred followers can do for you that your 20,000 auto follows can’t or will never be able to.

As for auto unfollows. Stop. Please. That’s just juvenile. You end up coming across as a petulant and spoiled kid. Worse, you’re doing this automatically so you don’t even notice when someone unfollows you. A program does and since you’ve set it to unfollow every one who unfollows you, it’s doing just that.

How to do it right: There’s no way to do this right. Build relationships and friendships on Twitter the old-fashioned way.

5. Twitvalidation

Oh man. This one never fails to boil my blood. You decide to follow someone because you like their bio and what you can see of their timelines and think ‘Hey! This person looks cool. It’d be fun to tweet with them.’ So you follow them and the next thing you know you’re getting a DM from them to click on a link to validate that you’re a human and not a bot.

Twitvalidation is a service that sends out DMs to anyone who follows you asking them to verify that they’re not a bot by clicking on a link.

I mean, wth?! That’s not only insulting but it’s like asking me for money when we’re only meeting for the first time.

No one has the time to click on a link that will take them to another page to click on another link and so on just to prove to you that they’re a human being.

If you can’t take the time to check out your followers for their authenticity then we most certainly don’t have the time to validate ourselves through a program you’ve installed to check your follower’s validity.

How to do this right: By not doing it at all.

6. Tweeting the same tweet numerous times

(photo source)

So we get that you have blogs to promote on Twitter. You’ve written a killer post that you’re dying to show the world. We get it. We really do. But  instead of sending out the same tweet 50 times a day, take the time to space them out over a few hours and change the message.

Same tweets look like spam when tweeted numerous times.

How to do it right: Choose a program that let’s you schedule posts to be sent out at certain times throughout the day. Do a quick Google search, there are numerous free services. Next, take 15 minutes to write your tweet differently. If you can take the time to write a killer post, you can most certainly afford 15 minutes to write different tweets all linking to the same post.

Do this, and notice how your website visitors, followers and even comments increase.

7. Not hitting reply

With 20,000 plus followers, you’re a big shot on Twitter. But would it kill you to hit reply? This one is a pet peeve of mine and some of the most respected and prolific bloggers with thousands of followers are guilty of it.

Everyone understands that you’re busy, that you have hundreds of people vying for your attention on Twitter and we also understand that sometimes a tweet just slips your notice. But only replying to friends on Twitter is just plain weird.

Even if the person tweeting you has nothing interesting to say, after the third tweet, it’s time to send them a thank you for your time reply.

This is one of those trends that isn’t obvious. But try it out. Tweet 10 super popular folks with a large number of followers and see how many of them reply to you.

How to do this right: Just hit reply. It’ll take 10 seconds out of your day. Probably less.

8. Protected tweets

I don’t understand the point of protecting your tweets. If you want privacy, there’s Facebook for that. And if you want to control who reads your tweets or who follows you, again, go to Facebook!

If I have to tell you why protected tweets are irritating, irrational and just plain wrong, you haven’t understood what Twitter is all about.

How to do it right: Again, by not doing it. Unless you’re a 16 or below and just trying it out and are worried about the kind of people who might follow you, there’s no good reason for you to protect your tweets.

9. Facebook or LinkedIn connection request via auto dm

I’ve already trashed auto DMs but I felt this deserved a sub head of its own. If you’re sending out ‘Hi there! Thanks for the follow. Let’s connect on Facebook/Linkedin’ tweets then you need to stop.

For the love of Twitter, let’s first connect here on Twitter before moving on to LinkedIn or Facebook! Show me that you’ve noticed me first. Interact with me, say hi, find out what I do and if it’s compatible or related with what you do etc.

Asking to connect via Facebook or LinkedIn when I’ve just followed you on Twitter is like hoping for a feel on a first date. Which in case you didn’t get my meaning, is wrong. Just wrong.

How to do it right: By not sending these auto DMs. Once you’ve connected with the person on Twitter and have talked to them, they’re not going to refuse your Facebook or LinkedIn connection request if you know each other fairly well through your Twitter interaction.

10. Hash tag abuse

Seen those tweets that have so many hashtags that it looks like the entire tweet was just one big hashtag? Yeah, there are plenty of those out there and quite a few of them are probably showing up on your timeline.

This Twitter crime is committed by a lot of Twitter savvy people too. We realize that hashtags let you reach a wider audience and sometimes connect a tweet to a topic that would otherwise not have been obvious but use it relevantly!

How to do it right: Make sure that your hashtags a. make sense, b. are relevant and c. not more than 2 in a tweet. You can fit in three without pissing people off but still, don’t do it too often!

Your take on most used and abused Twitter trends

What are some Twitter trends that make your blood boil, unfollow people or lose all respect for them?

Share your thoughts and Twitter trends that you feel should be banished!



  1. Jessica

    I am an infrequent Twitter user, but the other day I logged in and found this one person writing the exact same tweet, like – 10 times, but each with different hashtags. To me, this is preferable only to, say, gnawing my own arm off.

    Is this a “thing” and does everyone else find it as obnoxious as I do?

  2. Hi Samar,

    Great article this!! Thank you so much!
    By the way, are you a content writer? Do you write for a living? Just curious. Do tweet me @NickKahn204 or look up my FB profile: Nikhil Khandekar / Shreeram Institute.

    Hoping to hear from you :)


  3. Samar

    Hii Samar. We share the same name! haha
    and I totally protect my tweets because I have stalkers! not cool

  4. Melissa SKye

    I agree that this is a useful article. I agreed with most of the points..however I know why some tweets are protected. Some peeps use them for communicating just with family or a circle of buddies. They are not using it for twitter but rather for personal use.Also, I have a regular profile and two protected profiles because some of the stuff I post is controversial and I feel I would not get followers to view those topics if the topics appeared on their timeline. I think it makes it easier for them to respond to you if you make yourself less conspicuous for them. Just a thought. Has worked for me.

  5. Hi Samar,

    What a great post- I definitely agree about Twitvalidation being unacceptable and insulting. Not only that, I think the service is useless, as I found that most people who use it don’t really bother to acknowledge or follow you back even you go though all the steps of the validation process. This begs the question: if you are not paying attention to who’s following you, does it matter if it’s people or bots in the first place?!

  6. Mo

    Here’s another annoying type of RT: tweeps who RT all their mentions in a reply.
    Example: ‘I’m great! It’s a pretty good one, actually! RT @someone Hey Mo, how’re you? Hope it’s not a manic Monday.’

    The person you’re responding to knows what they tweeted at you, and if I see a conversation and get interested in following it, I’ll look up the conversation. Instead, my timeline gets filled with meaningless, unnecessary RTs.

  7. Some great tips, most of these annoy me too. Another one to add would be getting involved with every given trending topic or hashtag, even the random ones that nobody cares about.

  8. Karyn

    I loved this post and am bookmarking it! I had no idea some of these features even existed, so I am not guilty, but I did learn about some features that I would like to use – like the program that lets you schedule tweets. Now I know that all those DM’s after I follow are not real I will be doing more trashing as well. Thanks for a well written, easily read post with a truckload of information for the virginal tweeters like me ;)

  9. Shawn

    I can so identify with what you have written here. I hate those FF lists where you are expected to follow people in bulk. It was one reason why I started giving out my own personal shoutouts instead of compiling boring lists. People who retweet their own tweets are narcissistic and are not my cup of tea. It also irritates me when people tag you in arguments they have with others or when they need to plug their blog post. The other thing which irritates me is that people keep following and unfollowing you with the hopes that you follow them. I will only follow people who I find interesting or those who interact with me. The part about famous tweeple not replying is true because that’s what they usually do. It sucks when they don’t bother replying to your tweets and it makes you feel horrible. There was a time when I only replied to a certain subsection of friends. Now I try and reply to everyone though I don’t engage with trolls.

    • Samar Owais

      Looks like you’ve worked out a system for twitter interaction Shobz. Good for you! :)

      And you’re right about the new annoyances you’ve mentioned too.

  10. The spam and the #tags “trends” annoy the boredom out of me.
    About the spam, even if some chose programs that auto tweet every 1, 3 hours, some put 5 or 10 posts and I get scared sometimes, especially if looking at twitter from the iphone.
    I get using 1 or maximum 2 tags, but a full 140 characters of hashtags?! Saw this trend is very popular on the seo related tweets. Really annoying.

    • Samar Owais

      The trick to scheduled tweets is to not use it solely for pushing tweets with links. Schedule some random tweets as well that are pure status updates.

      Yup, SEO related tweets are notorious for hashtag abuse.

  11. Norbert

    I honestly can say that I can tolerate twitter abuse but absolutely hate facebook abuse UGH! someones gotta write a post like this about idiot facebook users..

    • Samar Owais

      Haha! Omg, Neo! You just got me started off thinking about all the idiotic facebook abuse that’s out there. Maybe I’ll do one soon :)

      • Mo

        When you write the post about idiotic facebook users, here’s one category that irritates me: people I used to know (school, university etc) who are on facebook with a strange name (and it’s not because they got married and changed their name – it’s just a strange name…like ‘Dude Over Yonder’) and a kitten or something for a profile picture. I’ve received quite a number of friend requests from such users. And when I don’t know who’s asking, I usually respond politely saying I don’t recognise their name and could they please remind me how we’re connected? These strange-named, kitten-faced users get annoyed by that!

  12. This is a great post and I agree with 99% of it. I used to HATE protected tweets, but mostly because I didn’t understand it. I use Twitter to spread the word, get blog readers, meet new people, and you can’t do any of that if you protect what you say.

    However, over the few years I’ve been on it and learning and blogging, I’ve met people who use Twitter for different reasons. Some never tweet and only use it as an RSS feed, for news headlines. Others use it to keep in touch with friends, and consider that private. Others only want to follow and don’t actually tweet themselves.

    Basically, I’ve come to realize that because people use Twitter, it’s hard to judge their reasons. That said, if one more person tries to use a stream of hashtags in a sentance #I #am #going #to #hurl.

    • Samar Owais

      You’re right. People have different reasons for protecting their tweets. If privacy is one of them, I still say there’s Facebook for that. Completely agree with you on the other possible reasons for protecting tweets though! They’re a minority.

      Protected tweets are annoying especially when someone with protected tweets follows you and you can’t see any of their tweets to figure out if you’d like to follow them back or not. It happens to me a lot for some reason!

      • Chris Miller

        Anyone truly interested in privacy is much more likely than the average person to be avoiding the hell out of Facebook. I don’t even click on Facebook links. Granted there’s different kinds of privacy (avoiding corporations installing spyware on your computer to improve targeted advertising vs avoiding real life stalkers etc), but still, saying that there’s Facebook if you want privacy is pretty damn ironic.

  13. Shonagh

    Great post and really pleased with myself that I seem to have been conducting myself ‘correctly’ on twitter! But I have to agree with Sasha about number #8. I have two twitter accounts for myself (others for clients) – the ones for myself are for totally different audiences. My business one is all about B2B marketing, social media and client related stuff – and is unprotected – and I love getting more followers, the more the merrier.

    But, my other twitter feed is private and for my close family and friends only – and no, Facebook is not the answer here, that’s for another audience again, a much wider group of friends and family. So my tweets are private and they are updates and postings of pictures for my family of my kids and my day-to-day goings ons – stuff that would probably bore my wider FB audience. I’m not after more followers on this feed and I don’t care if someone bumps into it, finds it protected, and then thinks I’m committing some sort of twitter crime. I just find Twitter a massively useful and easy to use tool for quick and easy updates for my family where I can say stuff and post pictures that I don’t want to share elsewhere.

    Having said all that, I do find it really annoying when people promote their twitter handle but then protect it – for example in a LinkedIn group (or similar) where you can leave your twitter name for others to follow and then you click on the link to find them protected. What’s the point of promoting and then protecting?

    • Samar Owais

      Hi Shonagh,

      I’m glad you posted your reasoning for protecting your tweets. And I agree that your reason for them is very sound and logical. One of the reasons protected tweets are working for you and are not annoying for the general public is is because you have one public, unprotected twitter account that people can find you on and connect with you.

      And I’m pretty sure you don’t follow people you don’t know personally from your protected account so the question never arises about people finding your protected account annoying :)

  14. Great List…I must say i couldnt agree more with you on number 7. I even came across a few people who are running websites to solve different problems but when you send them a question via twitter, they dont reply. It didnt happen once but so many times.

    Anyways, i will definitely implement the things mentioned above.

    Thanks for the article

  15. Patty Dadamo

    I am about to unfollow my father on Twitter because every single tweet he gets is retweeted. If I wanted to follow Eric Kantor or Harry Reid, I would do that on my own. Instead, I’m subjected to every single thing they send out. By the way, I only saw the link to this article because it was retweeted by my father.

    • @johnckirk

      Patty – if you look at someone’s profile, there’s an option for whether you want to see the things they retweet. It’s on by default, but if you turn it off then you’ll only see that person’s original tweets.

    • Samar Owais

      Your comment made me laugh out loud! :)

      Maybe it’s time to sit your father down and have a talk with him about how to properly use twitter. Or as John commented below, you can just change the settings on your twitter account to receive updates from him that are from him and are no mentions or RT’s of other people.

      Either way, I’m glad you found this article through him :)

  16. Dustin Tigner

    Thanks for the list, I’ll be sure to not break these guidelines. :)

    One question, however; what is the purpose of Twitter? Perhaps to narrow that down a bit, what do Twitter members expect when they follow a popular blog account? With some Twitter members, I enjoy our exchanging of ideas, and meeting new people. For other Twitter streams, I expect only to receive news worthy posts. If the account is built for the latter, then replying to questions can be obnoxious to other followers. Perhaps a DM reply is best, to keep the feed clean?

    • Samar Owais

      Great questions Dustin!

      A number of blogs have their own twitter accounts that only get updated automatically when there’s a new post. The owners of their blogs have a different twitter account through which they interact.

      The ideal solution in your suggested scenario would be to reply to the tweet through your personal account or as you suggested DM the person who tweeted you and suggest you follow their personal account for more convo.

      Make sense?

  17. Auto linking Twitter with 4Square. Nobody cares that you are now at Mamas Pizzeria, and nobody cares that you are now mayor of Starbucks. If I see too many 4Squares, the unfollow button is just a click away.

    • Samar Owais

      Jamie! How could I have forgotten that? But I think a lot of people are catching up on that or at least it seems that way in my timeline! What I’m still confused about though is when is it okay to tweet about where you are through foursquare?

  18. Sasha

    Agree with all of these except #8 — I have a stalker ex who obsessively tracks everything about me that I leave public on the internet. As a result, I protect my tweets so I can still use the service, communicate with friends and family, and the celebrities and companies that I choose to follow without worrying about whether or not said stalker ex is reading everything I put into the twitterverse. Does this make me a douche? No. Does it make me irrational, irritating, or wrong? No. It just means that I want to use the service but protect myself from potential harm from this idiot who won’t leave me alone.

    • Samar Owais

      Whoa, stalker boyfriends are creepy! Slight amendment to #8: Stalker ex-boyfriend is a very valid excuse for protecting your tweets.

      Sorry you have to go through this Sasha. Hope the ex-boyfriend stops the stalking soon and finds someone else to obsess over – hopefully an inanimate object!

  19. @samjb

    Auto DMs thanking me for following them and directing me to a link to their blog, book, business, restaurant, etc. will result in MY automatically UN-following them.

  20. Shel

    New #1 for me: retweeting thanks for RT mentions. Filling my feed with the original thx for RTs bad enough!

  21. #7: No. I’m sorry.

    If I have 20,000 followers, and 1% of them send me a mention in a day, that’s 200 mentions. If it takes me 10 seconds to reply to a mention, then at peak efficiency – and I guarantee I’m not operating at peak efficiency – I can get 6 replies per minute. That means it’ll take more than half an hour to send a reply to everyone who mentioned me in the last 24 hours, if only 1% of my followers mention me and if I operate at absolute peak efficiency.

    And then my stream’s going to look like

    @bob Thanks for the thought!
    @sally Thanks for the thought!
    @susan Thanks for the thought!
    @ramit Thanks for the thought!

    Which, you know, violates #6.

    And then some of those people to whom I’ve replied are going to assume that if I replied to them, that means I want a conversation, and they’re going to reply back. That’s another 10 seconds added on, because I’m supposed to reply to replies, right?

    I’m right there with you on #1-6 and #9. But #7, #8, and #10? Well, here’s a #11 for you: My twitter stream is not all about you.

    • @johnckirk

      I agree – looking at celebrity feeds, there’s no way they could even read everything that comes in, let alone reply to it. For instance, search for tweets that mention @britneyspears:
      If you leave the results screen up, it will soon tell you how many new (relevant) tweets have been posted since you did the search, and it seems to be about 1 every 15 seconds. So, she could only reply to all of them if she made it her full time job, and gave up sleeping/eating/etc.

    • Samar Owais

      Chris, this has to be one of the best comments I’ve read in a while! Your #11 made me laugh.

      You raise a valid point. I’d just like to clear something that I should have thought to do so in the post itself. By celebrities, I don’t mean real celebrities who’re famous for something outside of Twitter. I mean folks who got famous because of their interactions on twitter and have gained a huuuuge following because of it.

      But either way, I get what you mean but I still say it’s annoying. Let’s just agree to disagree :)

      A few folks have already explained their reasoning behind protected tweets so that discussion has been done but what’s your reasoning for disagreeing with #10?

  22. Dave H


    When I saw the tweet about “driving local web traffic to my site” the first time, I thought “interesting.”

    When I saw it the second time, I thought “Must be a mistake”

    When I saw it day after day, I thought “Unfollow”

    • Samar

      I know what you mean! Now anyone talking like that gets unfollowed or out of my tweetdeck stream immediately.

  23. Gavin

    Very good post. Couldn’t agree more with number 7, how does someone not have the time to spend 10 seconds to say ‘thanks’. It makes us feel like pests and them looking like ignorant people.

    Thanks for the post guys, I’m going to try and implement some of them into my twitter usage

    • Samar

      Glad you liked the post Gavin :) There are plenty of people who do reply back even with thousands of followers. I’d rather spend my time interacting with them that waiting for a reply from someone who doesn’t.

    • Samar

      Omg, you’re right! Even if you mention Egypt, you get a few tweets from bots that are either RTing your tweet or following you.

  24. One trend I find annoying is not answering questions that could increase the conversation is just making a statment and abandoning what you have said is not getting you any new followers.I find that when.I go into conversation on twitter my followers start increasing as people see me as a person and not a tweet bot on a constent loop

    • Samar

      Excellent point! Asking a question sparks conversation. It’s the one of the best ways to get to interact with people. But before you can expect folks to reply to your question, you need to spend some time answering their questions when you can too.