Jun 25, 2012

Twitter: Lost in translation

Twitter etiquette for the beginner... and the twat waffle. I don't often do Top Tens, but due to a growing discord that I've heard through the Twittersphere, I thought it was about time I cranked up my initiative and wrote this out. For those that don't know me very well, I am a professional online marketer and creative director for almost ten years now (ouch, I feel old), even though I don't often talk shop on this site. And yes, this ambitious undertaking hurt my A.D.D. a little, and yes, I shall be napping once it's done.

10. No blind links. What is that link? Where will it take me? What the hell are you trying to get me to do? This is how I feel EVERY time I see a link without a headline, hashtag (like #photo or #porn) or something, anything that will tell me what this link is for. That's what headlines are for - lead the reader in - make us want to click and read/see more.

9. RT effectively. Odds are you and your followers follow quite a few of the same people. The best way to do a "real" RT (when you retweet directly using the icon that looks like a recycle symbol) is to first "favorite" it and then retweet it in an hour or later. This way, your followers won't have 2, 3, 4 of the exact same tweet scrolling through their feed at the same time - how annoying!

8. Over Retweeting - Whoa, there! I know it's a nice pat on the back when someone retweets you, and there are sites like FavStar.fm that make a fortune getting people to pay (yes, people actually PAY) for tracking your retweets, favorite'd stars and also allow to award others with virtual trophies for their clever quips, insults and creative double entendres for the use of the work 'fuck'. But when I open my timeline and there are 15 retweets in a row from all the same person, the first thing I do? I won't unfollow, but I will go to their profile and select "turn off retweets". It's a lovely, relatively new function - I use it a lot.

7. Check your motherfucking links. I have unfollowed people because of them consistently posting broken or invalid links - true story. Especially if you are a blogger, marketer or someone that should know how these things work, please test them first. If you tweet a link that doesn't work, it defeats the purpose of drawing people to your site, and therefore pisses me off for clicking. Do it once? Shame on you. Do it twice? Shame on me for clicking again. It will be the last time, I promise. (This morning was a prime example of that. Gaahhh.)

6. Don't Auto DM like it's 2006. That is all. Enough said.

5. Twitter is a SOCIAL media - not a soap box. To quote my very close, personal acquaintance* Scott Stratten, "Twitter is a conversation... I know, I know “TWITTER HAS NO RULES” and flippity-flo, but the point is if you believe that business is built on relationships, you have to make building them your business."1 I will be honest here and say that if you follow me and I check out your timeline and you have interacted with zero people, I likely won't follow you back. You're obviously too self-important to have room for me in your Twitter life. And that also holds true with celebs - if they have over 3 million followers but follow zero, they are simply a douchebag.

4. Manual RT's have a time and place. I know Scott will disagree with me here because manual retweeting means it breaks the contextual history of a tweet, blardy blar blar, but in my opinion, sometimes they have a place.
Exhibit A:

By doing this, I not only replied to his tweet, but I also included his tweet to MY followers that might not necessarily follow him, so they see both the statement and the comeback. Again, it's not to be used all the time, but there are situations when it serves a purpose.

3. Hashtag smashtag. The primary purpose for a hashtag is to increase search results for particular words such as #savethechildren or #blogher12 etc, etc and can get your tweet seen by more people than just your followers - and even can help you gain new followers. Hashtags are also used as a joke or punchline, such as #gofuckyourself which, when used right, can be funny. Tweets such as "#join #theparty #forfunandgames" are simply obnoxious and serve little purpose other than telling me you have no idea what hashtags are for.

2. I ain't no follow back girl. I believe the notion of "Teamfollowback" is ridiculous. We all follow people (or companies) for different reasons - that is the beauty of Twitter. There should be ZERO push to follow people when I don't feel their tweets are of personal interest or relevance to me. Guilting (or begging) for follow-backs is like asking for everyone you like to like everything you do. Well, life doesn't work that way! You may follow me because you like my vagina jokes, but if your profile says you're into country music and Jesus, guess what? I respect that about you, but I don't want to read your tweets. Thanks for wanting to listen to my jokes and if you talk to me, I will likely respond but that's where our relationship ends... AND THAT'S OK.

1. Unfollowing: It happens. Sometimes people out-grow others or perhaps they become weary of others' dirty jokes and angst AND THAT'S OK TOO. It's like being at a party and you are allowed to come and go as you please. As someone walks out the door (unfollows) don't stop the party and yell to everyone, "Hey look who just unfollowed me!" That's not cool; not even a little bit. Don't ever, ever do that. I consider that a form of cyber bullying and I have no place or tolerance for dumb, juvenile bullshit like that. As much as Twitter is a social media tool to connect with people, it is equally a highly personalized experience and no two people's timelines are completely identical. Follow, don't follow, unfollow who you want and if there's any uncomfortable pressure to do anything you don't want to do, then the primary function of Twitter is lost. Block the assholes!

We already escaped high school once; there's no need to repeat that train wreck again, is there?

* Rowan Atkinson Live: The Good Loser (watch - it's funny shit)
1. Scott Stratten, UnMarketing: "50,000 TWEETS AND ALL I GOT WAS EVERYTHING", June 7, 2010.


  1. Know what I love to do on twitter? I know it makes me a retweet whore, but I search for people who say "Running aarons" or "Eminem is a great raper" (instead of rapper) and RT about a half dozen of them.

    I think it's funny... I'm not sure what my followers think, but *I* think it's funny...

  2. Threw myself into the Twitter pit 48 hours ago and I'm crashing around like a virgin at an orgy - not a clue what's going on!

    I needed this post SO much - thank you!

  3. I loved this! Often the "10 most annoying things on twitter" lists tend to be a bit... boring. Or... mean, or holier-than-thou. But this list? very true, especially the "look who just unfollowed me". Why do people do that to themselves, anyway? And the blind links. And the re-tweets. yes, yes, and yes.

    (And I thought it was funny that you posted a broken link. Wouldn't you know it :-))

  4. @Ruby

    RIGHT?! I haven't posted a broken link, like, EVER... except for today. The irony hurts my brain & my pride.

  5. I must have disabled the "someone followed/unfollowed" you notifications. and it's awesome! I don't care if someone unfollows me - and I don't want to know either. much easier that way.

  6. This was so helpful, Twitter hurts my head. I try and then give up, I then I try again, and give up and then again. I think you get the cycle. I like to keep trying and learning but I usually learn from all my idiot mistakes :)

  7. I only need 990,000 more followers to hit 1 million. Think I can do it by July 1?? Help a twat waffle out!! PLEASE RT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #teamfollowback #pleasefollowme #Iamsodesperate #Myfollowersvalidatemyexistence #Ihavenolifeoutsideoftheinternet #myantipsychoticdrugprescriptionranout #Iseedeadpeople

  8. Yay! Great post! But some people, sadly, never grow out of high school...

  9. Twitter is like sex for me...one week I want it 24/7 every which way, the next week I'd rather catch up on the tv sitting on my PVR. Love this top 10...can you do one for Facebook? Twatwaffle...do you, per chance, hang out on MWOP or Free Jinger?

  10. I meant that as it "Twatwaffle"...do you hang on MWOP or Free Jinger? (I first read Twatwaffle on one of those sites). Not as it "Hey Twatwaffle...do you hang..."
    You probably understood what I meant, but I just wanted to make sure as I am a paranoid people pleaser donchaknow?

  11. @Nic

    No, I don't - I'm pretty sure I got twat waffle off of twitter. It corrupts me, ya know...

  12. Automated DM's annoy the crap out of me! "Thanks for following, check out my site." Argh! I'm tempted to unfollow them right then and there. I'd honestly rather have a twatter never say anything to me than auto DM me. It's like saying, "I'm so busy and important I can't be bothered to say hello so here's some recycled bullshit." And #teamfollowback just makes people seem whiney and desperate. Unlike all my tweets, of course, which make me sound super cool and totally likable. ;0

  13. I'm a Twitter retard - wait, does that make me a twatter? But I still think vagina tweets are funny and I unfollowed Oprah because she is LAME. Hashtag THAT!

  14. I agree with every. Single. Thing.
    So simple yet so complicated for so many.
    Love you!

  15. @Piper

    Most of the people that I unfollow are celebs. I follow thinking I would like to hear what they have to say - but 9 times out of 10 they just annoy & disappoint me.

  16. Shit, I may or may not have been a twat waffle. Consider me officially "schooled". Great list!

  17. Thank you for this!!! Especially cluing me into the "turn off retweets"! There are people I enjoy following for their tweets, but get so overwhelmed by the amount of retweets they do.

  18. Great stuff! I can take a few tips from the list that you have. Especially on the RT's.


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