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
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.
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
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!
Samar is a freelance writer, blogger and social media enthusiast. She offers rock solids tips for freelance writing success on her blog, The Writing Base along with a free 10-Step Guide To Turning Prospects Into Clients.