Twitter Etiquette – Or How I Learned To Stop Blogging And Love 140 Characters

If you don’t know about Twitter, then you A)are like most of the people on the Interwebs and B)probably have a life. For the rest of us, we spend our days furtively checking in on this microblogging service, penning our thoughts from the most mundane (“I like cheese”) to deeper (“I like cheese a LOT”) to really intense (“Cheese and I are getting married”).

This service is relatively new, and so there really isn’t much in the way of etiquette or anything. Which is probably good, but I’d like to put a few guidelines out there for consideration. These are just thoughts, not rules by any means. However, if you decide to follow them you will surely increase your chances of getting a crown in heaven. (Maybe.)

1) If someone @’s at you, please respond. I like Twitter because I can carry on conversations with people in real time; somewhat like IM but without all the awkward “I gotta go” “no I really need to go” stuff that inevitably happens. However, it is VERY RUDE to ignore someone who tweets directly at you. Try to answer people who do this with at least a brief acknowledgment. Otherwise, you kind of look like a dick.

2) Do not auto-Twitter. For the love of seven pound, 2 ounces baby Jebus: turn off your auto-Twitter notifications. We understand that you feel the need to let everyone know that you are “streaming live…come chat!” but don’t you have the technical aptitude to, you know, make it so this doesn’t happen like every five seconds for 12 hours straight? Your followers don’t want to unfollow you, but after a couple weeks straight of this crap they might have no choice. And it’s not their issue, IT’S YOURS. Get over it, fix it, move on.

3) Don’t carry on embarrassing public arguments on Twitter. If you must spar with someone, do it on Twitter for a little while, you know, just to whet our appetites? And then redirect it to your blog so we can enjoy a true nerd-fight. Twitter just does not lend itself to extended conflicts.

Actually, on second thought, IT TOTALLY DOES. Carry on.

4) Do not use Twitter to have meaningful conversation. It is very, very easy to misunderstand someone’s Tweets, and it’s very, very easy to come across as abrupt and uncaring about someone else – not because you mean to, but simply because the Twitter medium doesn’t allow you to elaborate. If you want to say something and don’t want it to be misconstrued, use another form of communication. If you don’t really care about being misunderstood, then by all means go about your business. However, don’t come to me when you get that flaming bag of poop on your porch.

5) Don’t Twitter while under the influence. Actually, this one is negotiable.

Can you think of any other Twitter rules of etiquette you’d like to see followed? Or broken?

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5 Responses to “Twitter Etiquette – Or How I Learned To Stop Blogging And Love 140 Characters”

  1. katrina Says:

    Great list, but…
    You DO realize that if everyone -always- responds to @replies, that trade back and forth can never end?

    It’s like pre-teen girls on the phone: “you hang up.” “no, you hang up.” “no, YOU hang up.”

  2. momspeaks Says:

    Hi Katrina! Well, I guess I should elaborate: when someone voices a question, and you answer, it’s polite to answer back to acknowledge. That’s just an example.

  3. Recovering Straight Girl Says:

    I do not know of this Twitter. I must look into it as soon as I have four and a half minutes to myself. Does that mean I’ll have a new obsession? It’s really what I need, for sure.

  4. momspeaks Says:

    OMG you will completely go nuts with it. My twitter handle is twitter.com/wboswell.

  5. Jennie Z Says:

    So I think I got passively-aggressively called out for using too many @replies, but I’m not really sure. The funny thing is, in doing my research on twitter etiquette to see if I actually did something wrong, I’ve found at least 3-4 rules that this guy has flagrantly broken…not including the one he yelled at me for in the first place.

    p.s. http://twitter.com/jennie_z 🙂

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