11 Things to Avoid When Using Twitter

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twitterTwitter has taken off since my last post. It is all over the place. You can turn on the TV at any given time in any given country and be sure to hear it mentioned. Between Oprah, Ellen, Ashton, and many others, it is safe to say, Twitter is becoming much more mainstream as time goes on. I do not mean to say that these celebrities are mainstream, but their audiences are. Since Oprah joined Twitter, you can be sure that hundreds of thousands of “stay-at-home moms” across America have begun tweeting. There are of course endless debates surrounding this topic and whether this is a good or bad development, but one thing’s for sure, there are now many new people joining Twitter who have no idea what they are doing.

I already wrote a list of reasons explaining why you should tweet, how to tweet, and what to do after you join Twitter, I thought I would tell you what NOT to do when tweeting. Before I begin, let me say two things:

  1. This is of course my opinion only and since there are so many social media experts out there (will address that later), there are going to many of you who disagree with this list.
  2. I do not want to sound like I came up with all this stuff alone. I learned most of them the hard way, when I did them and was virtually stoned (with rocks, not the other kind) by my Twitter community (follow me here).

twitter-home

So here are 11 things to avoid when tweeting:

1:  Do not use the following words in your bio, no matter how much you think they will attract followers:

-Social Media Expert: I think it is safe to say these are the three most annoying words on Twitter. What is a Social Media Expert can someone please explain to me? I am of the opinion that very few people can honestly call themselves experts in the field. The remaining 99% are people who have been using Twitter for a few months, have a few hundred followers, and are as much of an expert on social media as I am on Yoga (never done Yoga).

-Guru: The same pretty much applies to the word Guru. Unless your name is Jeff Pulver or possibly Kevin Rose, and you write that you are a Web 2.0 guru, you can rest assured you will not see me on your followers list. Humility is the key.

-Make Money Online: People are mostly on Twitter to participate in dialog. People who write these words in their bio are just like email spammers, and beyond the annoyance, and the fact that they are single handedly ruining Twitter, they are also doing something immoral and wrong. I can safely say that without exception, these words should never be in anyone’s Twitter bio.

-Affiliate Marketing: Now this is a tricky one. There is nothing inherently wrong with affiliate marketing. It is a legitimate way of making money online. However, to put it in proportion, Viagra is also a legitimate aphrodisiac, that does not mean I would ever open an email with the word Viagra in it. So too, most people on Twitter would not follow someone with the words Affiliate Marketing in their profile.

-Increase your Followers: If you are telling me ways to increase my followers, you obviously have very little confidence in my intellectual ability or at the very best, my social skills. I do not want to be told who to follow and as one of my Twitter mentors told me in response to a question posted on Twitter, I do not want to follow random people. I want to follow people that interest me, and the basic assumption is that the people they conduct dialog with, will also interest me. Thank you Ahuva (follow her, she is the cream of the crop.)

2:  Do not ONLY answer the question “What Are You Doing” in your tweets: Maybe this is how Twitter started, but I think we can all agree that nobody wants to hear when you are eating, when you are going to sleep, and when (yes this has been tweeted on occasion) you are going to the bathroom. Now let me clarify; I am not saying that it is unacceptable to talk about what you are eating for lunch, and even post a picture of it, this kinda thing makes Twitter interesting and fun. However, I think if that is ALL a person tweets about, they will end up with very few followers, who might be true food enthusiasts. A guiding rule when tweeting is tweet things that would interest you if tweeted by others. In fact, I think it is time to change the Twitter box from “What are you Doing”? to possibly “What Can you Share”? or as a true social media expert suggested, just a simple “What’s up?”

3:  Do not ONLY promote your blog/business in your tweets: Once again, the main word here in “only”. In my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with sharing your blog posts with your followers. If they follow you, they are apparently interested in your thoughts, and your blog can be viewed as an extension of your tweets, so why not share it? However, just like everything else, all in moderation. If I come across someone’s Twitter timeline and all his tweets start with the word “New blog post”, can you guess what my first action would be?

4:  Do not tweet the same thing more than twice in a day: There are some people on Twitter who I actually look up to and respect, but feel it is OK to tweet the same article ten times throughout the day. Now, there is something to this technique. After all, the people reading it in the morning are generally not the same people reading it in the evening. This is true, but there is one little problem. When you tweet the same article or link many times throughout the day, you are not taking the heavy Twitter addicts into account. There are enough people who will see all those tweets and get annoyed fast. If you MUST tweet the same link more than twice, at least change the lead in sentence. I must give props to yet another one of my Twitter mentors on this tip. Thanks Ezra.

5:  Do not tweet about your followers more than once a week: OK, here I must stress something. I was an offender of this rule for a little while when I was new to Twitter. I was put in my place by another fellow Twitterer, who by the way, happens to be one of my favorite bloggers. Check out her Twitter here and her blog here. So thanks Talia, I still think you need to publish a book from your blog. What I mean to say here is do not tweet things like “I have 5,000 followers, and I really want to get to 6,000, please RT this”. This is really annoying especially if you do it often. It is not the end of the world if you are at 99,999 and you tweet “Free iPhone for my 100,000th follower”, but beyond that, please refrain.

6:  Do not tweet exclusively in another language: OK, this one is gonna spark some controversy, and rightfully so. I strongly believe you need to speak the language that most people understand. I am not saying if your mother tongue is Spanish to NEVER tweet in Spanish, I am just saying to be considerate of your followers and the fact that as of today, there are still a lot of applications that only support English text.

7:  Do not tweet sensitive/private information: Once again, I am speaking from experience and learning from my mistakes. As recently as yesterday, I tweeted something that was not for certain eyes, while thinking “Eh, they wont see it anyway”. Mistake, big mistake! Tweets now show up in Google searches and anyone can easily access your tweets. So if you want to keep something private, probably not the best idea to share it on the fastest growing social network on the Web. Additionally, and I am not going to elaborate on this, being as it is a very controversial topic, and I am actually not completely sure what I believe, but I do think Twitter should be treated like a work place. Just like you would not share extreme political views, sexist, or offensive views of any kind at an office event, so to Twitter. It is all about sensitivity. I am sure a lot of you disagree, feel free to share your opinion in the comments.

8: Do not Auto DM people who follow you: Well, this has got to be one of the bigger annoyances in the Twittersphere, thank the Lord, many of my friends taught me how to disable this inconvenience. If someone followed you, they did not do it for you, they did it for them, so no need to thank them. Do not DM them saying “Nice to meet you and thank you for following”. I get one of those messages and you better prepare a goodbye reply too.

9:  Do not Auto Follow: Once again, just my humble opinion. Unfortunately, there are too many bots, spam accounts, and just annoying people on Twitter. Just because someone follows you, does not necessarily mean you have to or want to follow them back. In fact, I would say that maybe 30%-40% of the people that followed me over the past month were real people, with quality tweets on topics that interest me. Follow people that interest you, otherwise you will end up with an uncontrollable amount of people in your stream, which will eventually detract from your ability to use Twitter effectively.

10:  Do not consistently make spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes in your tweets: This is consistent with my general philosophy on Twitter specifically and social media in general. Just like I would not follow a person who could not be bothered to upload a picture to his/her profile, post a bio, or tweet at least a few times, so to I am not quick to follow someone who constantly makes elementary mistakes in their tweets. Now, I know this sounds a little harsh, but I think your followers deserve that extra effort. I am not saying you need to be a professional English writer, but c’mon, what interface does not include a spell check? Use it and be careful how you tweet.

11: Do not use Twitter like you use Facebook: I think it is an acceptable practice to check your Facebook once a day, week, or even month. Twitter needs more effort. It is true that you can use Twitter effectively even if you only tweet once a day. However, in my opinion, if you really want to maximize the tremendous potential that is Twitter, you need to keep your audience on their toes. Keep your followers interested.

There are so many more things you will learn as time goes on, and you will be amazed at how much you can learn about Twitter from the supporting applications to the lingo and the etiquette. I hope these are some useful tips that, in conjunction with Top 5 Reasons to Tweet, Top 5 Steps after Joining Twitter,  and Ten Things you Must Know before Joining Twitter, are sure to get you on your feet, help you start tweeting, and assist you in starting to build your Twitter network. Once you have done that, the possibilities are literally endless.

Would love your feedback in the comments or better yet, reply to me on Twitter here!

-Hillel


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hilzfuld

Hillel is Co Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at ZCast, a company taking on the pain of modern audio broadcasting. Hillel also blogs for many influential sites including TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Venturebeat, and others. Additionally, Hillel mentors startups across Israel in different accelerators including The Google Launchpad, the Microsoft Ventures accelerator, Techstars, The Junction, and more. Hillel has been named Israel's top marketer, has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, and many others and was recently added by Google to its marketing experts program. You can find and talk to Hillel on Twitter. He is @Hilzfuld.

 
  • Great points, very appropriate. Thanks for writing this up!

    • Thanks so much for that, appreciate it. Keep reading! 🙂

  • Something I learned this past weekend. It’s all about what you want to get and give to and from social media.

    Twitter is not for everyone, for whatever reason, mainly if its not the audience you are seeking to have. But then again it’s not about just getting.

    Twitter to me is mostly about giving. So if you don’t want to give, then don’t get on it, coz’ you won’t have many followers and the time you spent on it will be wasted, and you’ll be one of those guys that complain about it, and bad talking about it, and look like an idiot at the same time. (Inspired about the Go-Giver book by Bob Burg http://www.burg.com)

    Not sure about #5, maybe I’m not reading it right, can you please explain…Thanks in advance.

  • Hi Cesar, thanks a lot for your feedback. What I meant by 5 was do not talk about the followers too much. They are not what matter, people tweet things like “I have 2000 followers and I wanna get to 3,000, help!” Things like that annoy people. Hope that helps and thanks again.

  • I know I have already apologized for “outing” you in public about the followers thing (#5), but maybe that stresses how huge it is. If you hadn’t had such added value for me (I like most of your links and we talk a lot), I would have dropped you immediately.

    I use Topify (yey!) for my email alerts, so it’s incredibly easy now, as you know, to see how is following you. I look over the last few tweets they made, and if it looks like someone I’d be interested in following, I will follow them too – based on what they talk about, links they post, and their level of conversation.

    Another thing – unrelated: I won’t necessarily follow everyone who follows me (I don’t, you can see by my follower count), but if you talk to me at any point – and what you say has value to me – I will follow you back

    That said, if you unfollow me, I will unfollow you. Unless, of course, there is added value to me following you anyway.

    Thanks for the nice words about my blog 🙂

  • Hey Talia, thanks so much for reading and explaining…Turns out your “outing” me helped me learn a lot so thanks 🙂 Keep reading! 🙂

  • Nice work. the one I would most challenge is #4 and only because I send hundreds of tweets per day across all time zones. I certainly reach far more people by doing so. Changing the heading is a good way to make more people click, and may be adjusted to be sure that your message is clear, but it can also frustrate the people who already saw it and click again because of a different title. That part can go either way, but I do this myself. 🙂

    Good work. Thank you.

    • Hey Mark, I hear that, it is an on the fence kinda thing. In any case, I appreciate you reading it and glad you liked it. Keep reading 🙂

  • ontwitter

    don’t tweet in another language? eh? there’s a whole world out there, and *news flash* they don’t speak english and/or are not going to speak english just to pacify unilingual people like you. the point is rather to tweet in a language that your friends and followers are going to understand, and that’s not english by default. did you even notice the ‘japanese’ language drop-down in the admin menu on twitter?

    just the idea that you call anything except for english “other” is laughable. you need to get out into the world and out of your comfort zone.

    • OnTwitter, I did not mean to offend you, but I was just saying that even for me who speaks Hebrew as well as English, I prefer English tweets since apps like Twitterfon do not support Hebrew. It is important to think about your readers. Of course, if your readers mostly speak Italian and it is displayed correctly, then by all means Tweet in Italian. Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you liked the post.

  • Yishay Ben-Shimol

    Dear Hillel,
    great article, you could add that it is to be a “twitter follower only”, the same way we all watch the news on TV but most of us do not appear in it.

    Twitter by itself should add an unique identifier to massages, because sometimes, when you can simply get lost in all the sea of replays (to what) out there.

  • I think we are all guilty of a few things on here.. if we are honest. 😀 I do like your #6 I personally speak 5 languages therefore I enjoy RT from my Italian, French etc groups but not all day… So point taken.
    One tip on your list I think is missing maybe I just didn’t see it. But to RT something someone said about you… how egotistical and self serving. Maybe It bothers me since I find it offensive when it’s done more than once and there are a few ppl on Twitter that want everyone to know how wonderful they are.
    Last thing I would like to suggest it’s not a “don’t do” but a must or at least consider “doing”. When you read others blogs or articles “especially” if hey took the time to post on your blog. Take the time to go to their blog and post on theirs. I love reciprocating comments.
    I have noticed a lot of the people that have the large egos talk about engaging and doing all the “right” things. But never have I see them post anything about another blogger or their comments on anyone else blog.
    Great job and thanks for letting me share my 2çents with you and your readers.

  • Very good points you made here. Well done.

    I especially agreed and enjoyed reading #10 – my eye some how catches errors in a second – I mostly correct that person in a response tweet ensuring that I highlight the error using a capital – and yes, repetitive errors are not worth following.

    My pet hates are #5 , 8 and 9 – took me forever to find the app that I once added to be able to auto follow – reading tweets just became a nightmare !

  • @nickichai

    #6 “Exclusively in another language” – A language other than what, English? It depends on who your followers are. If you speak (using your example) Spanish, and your followers are Spanish, then you can certainly tweet exclusively in Spanish. Don’t you agree?

    #10 It’s crazy to think that this even needs to be said. PS. It’s “their” audiences 😉

    Thanks for the list, I agree with everything else! 🙂

  • Gabriella and @nickichai Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I hear your point about the language issue, although a lot of apps still do not display other languages properly. Anyway, thanks again and keep reading 🙂

  • Anastacia thanks so much, so glad you liked the post. Come back for more 🙂

  • Thanks – a lot of good sense here. But when are we going to move on from the ‘how to use Twitter’ or ‘how not to use Twitter’ posts, to the ‘here are some really cool and interesting things you can do with Twitter’? (As an example, look at the way Twitter was used in the #climatecamp protests in London a few weeks ago.)

  • Julian, maybe my next post 🙂 Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Not to just randomly defend people, but I agree with the language thing, but on a different level. If you only tweet in a language I don’t understand – I have no reason to follow you. I only speak 3 languages, so my ability to follow people are limited to those. If you only tweet in a language I don’t understand, you’re welcome to follow me, but I won’t be able to follow you, meaning we most likely will not converse, meaning the purpose of Twitter for us would be lost.

  • Wow, so true! I find myself nodding at so many of these points. I tried to decide which one annoyed me most; I think it’s probably those who follow me (and hundreds of others) just to advertise their business. I block them immediately, now!

    • Hey cafe’ chick. So happy I made you nod 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you come back soon 🙂

  • Renee

    You mentioned in regards to Do not Auto DM people who follow you: “thank the Lord, many of my friends taught me how to disable this inconvenience.” So where/how do you disable this feature? Thanks for your help.

  • Renee, it is explained here http://www.tweeterblog.com/twitter-tools/how-to-stop-those-freakin-auto-dms/
    Basically, follow @optmeout and they will take care of the rest. Thanks for reading!

  • Good Stuff! I agree with most of these points!

  • “If someone followed you, they did not do it for you, they did it for them, so no need to thank them…” Are you sure about that? Are you sure that none of them are asking for help or friendship? How do you know that one of them might not post a tweet that offers you the opportunity to be of service? Are you really too busy to do that?

    “…so no need to thank them. Do not DM them saying “Nice to meet you and thank you for following”. Are you really suggesting that common courtesy should be abandoned? If even one person followed you for a ‘legitimate’ reason, are you willing to be rude to that person? And maybe some, even one, of those who are only trying to use you will give some thought to courtesy and, perhaps, even follow your example.

    If you think I should sign this “Goody TwoShoes,” don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. I’m 78 years old and claim my entitlement to my goodly store of cynicism, but I still am compelled to keep my mind and my heart open.

    So there! (stamping foot vigorously) And, ending rant with a smile.

  • amki, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I hear your point of view, and might even agree in some cases, but I think to the majority pf people on Twitter, template and impersonal Auto DMs that thank you for following, are nothing but an annoyance. Again, just my opinion. Thanks so much and keep reading, it is greatly appreciated 🙂

  • Good work putting these little “how not to” rules together. There’s just a certain etiquette to follow, just like you would in the real world.

    People seem to think that because there’s a screen between you and the other users, you’re free to act as you wish. Generally, if you want to be part of the community, you need to understand how people interact with each other.

    Small note to businesses using twitter. Twitter is about human interaction. It’s not the place to tweet out hard sales and try to gain new leads / sales / whatever. It’s a perfect setting to create value for your brand. So if your the marketing guy at your company, read your tweet before you post it, then re-write it so that your not hard selling.

  • Thanks Oren…Good tip to businesses 🙂

  • Avi

    Another great twitter post. Keep up the great work Hillel. I can’t wait to see the “great ways to use twitter” post too.

    • You are not the first person to suggest that, although I would not some serious feedback to write that. Any ideas/suggestions to include?

  • Overall, this post is a very good collection and very very informative. Still I shall share my ideas on two items here:
    – For item 4, it is sometimes necessary if one is in a different timezone from the most of the tweeple. Like if I tweet smth in the morning, the U.S. guys will possibly miss it. But I agree we should not overdo that repetition.
    – For item 9, actually I need to auto follow. I am interested in anyone and anything. I want to learn from ppl. So more friends is more chance to learn more.

  • XceptN, thanks, you know I appreciate your feedback. As someone on Twitter pointed out in their RT of this post, #12 should be “Use Twitter as you see fit”. Everyone uses it as they like and that is what is great. I was just sharing my opinion based on personal experiences and feedback. Thanks again and keep reading 🙂

  • rachaeldepp

    I have learned this over my time spent on twitter, and I agree. Though I do like having fun with my bio 😉 Guru, Ninja, Goddess, Expert. silliness! 🙂

    • Racheldepp, thanks for reading and commenting, @ to me on Twitter and I will of course follow you. I am @hilzfuld.

  • Puja Madan

    Excellent post with some great, honest pointers. Loved the approach of replacing ‘What are you doing?’ to ‘What can you share?’ – a small change but one that can bring tremendous value.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Puja, thanks so much for your feedback. So happy you liked the article. Keep reading and of course commenting 🙂

  • I have a bot (@LuvOrHate) which auto-dms on follow. I know everyone says that you shouldn’t do this but alot of people don’t realize that the account doesn’t actually have a real person behind it and cannot reply to their questions (do a search for @LuvOrHate to see what I mean)

    So I have it set to auto-DM on follow with a simple message letting people know that if they have any ques about the bot it should be directed at my main account 🙂

    Hopefully this will be seen as a reasonable use?

  • Some great points made here.

    Not 100% sold on #10 especially since you only have 140 characters available.. then you sometimes need to be a little creative in your writing..

    I would also add to the list – Do Not Send Links In DMs unless it is requested..

    Article is bookmarked and I’ll give you a tweet.

    Keep up with posting informative articles like this.

    Cheers..

  • Are, thanks so much for the nice words. I am not sure I agree about the links in DMs. I actually do that a lot, seeing as I do not want to post the same link twice. Anyway, thanks for reading, come back for more…

  • Aaron, everyone is free to do with Twitter what they want, I was just expressing my opinion. As for the bot, I generally find them a little annoying, but that is just me. Keep reading bro 🙂

  • Just a word of thanks, I’m new to this twitter thing and enjoy reading and updating the people who follow me. Your article has opened my eyes to what i have been seeing.

    Once again, Thank you for cearing somethings up for me….

    • Douglas, thanks for reading, you should read the other articles I linked to from this one, they will also help you out. Thanks and keep reading…:)

  • Roni

    While there was some valuable information in this article. It seems to assume that only everyone using Twitter is supporting or promoting some type of platform. This is a social network and not only an area for the media. I believe Twitter should be used for whatever the user would like it to be. The founders of Twitter designed the opening tweet to be “What are you doing?” because that was there vision. Obviously, it has exploded into much more. Ashton Kutcher, and wife Demi, have used it to support some very fantastic causes, promote his movie, but also to socially interact with people and just talk smack….absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  • great article. as amki points out, not sure about the auto DM, i don’t send one myself but have thought about it.
    if someone subscribes to your blog you send a welcome letter don’t you??

  • Brother Daniel

    Hillel,
    Thank you for a really, really wonderful, sensible, balanced, humble approach to the do’s and don’t of Twitter. I’ve been figuring out a few of these things for myself, but really appreciate the scope and vision of what you have to say. Now if I could only get everyone on Twitter to read your “don’ts” and sign something saying they read it before continuing onto Twitter – that’d be great! 🙂 But greed will rule as per usual!

    By the way I didn’t like clicking on comment here and finding myself in your @ page with no easy way to leave a twitter reply (which is what I thought I was being led to). So navigating to the bottom to leave a fuller expression of my opinions is okay – but I thought you were taking me to Twitter.

    Now I’m off to Twitter to recommend your article! 🙂

  • KenEB

    Agree with most of these comments and opinions. Probably not a good idea to send DM to people you consider famous either. I’m sure they get that all the time.

  • KenEB, a person needs to be following you for you to send them a DM so that’s not an issue, thanks for reading 🙂
    Brother Daniel: Thank you so much for those really nice words, really appreciate it, write me on Twitter so I know to follow you.
    radiogagger: We only enabled subscription lately, so we gotta work out the details, thanks for the feedback though, appreciate it.
    Roni: I agree with you that it is OK to use Twitter however you see fit, I was just expressing my personal opinion and the impression I got from my Twitter community based on answers they gave me. Anyway, thank you all for reading, you guys rock!

  • This is totally helpful to me, as a new Twitter-er! A blogger friend of mine referred me here for some Twitter 101, and I have to say this post was definitely a good start. Now I’m off to read the Top 5 Steps after Joining Twitter. 🙂

  • Type A Mommy, so glad you enjoyed this article and I hope you liked the others too. Thanks for reading 🙂

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  • It is always so helpful for the beginner on Twitter to read about Twitter ettiquette. ( I just sailed past my 1000th update. Good start.) I am guilty of the sin that @gabriella points out in her comment. I have RT-ed a few follower comments that I found particularly flattering or exciting. Now that she mentions it, I can see how this could be seen as very vain.
    Sooo…I shall refrain from doing this in the future!
    I am solid agreement with all 11 points that you raise, Hillel and can only imagine that you are just scratching the surface here.
    But this is one itch that needs to be scratched!
    Thanks for the useful, albeit challenging tips.
    Very good.

  • Michael, thanks so much for the nice feedback. Follow me on Twitter and shoot me a @ so we can talk 🙂

  • thank God i do all of those things – or don’t do. i agree that auto following is annoying as are auto dms. also filtering out who you follow is a great way of keeping your head clear when reading tweets – hate being bothered by affiliate this and that.

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  • piazee

    There’s actually an auto DM? I typed my thank you for those who followed me myself and I meant it wholeheartedly. When a total stranger wants to have my nonsense on his/her screen space, i think it’s just common courtesy to say thanks. Auto DM or not.

  • sharona

    Very helpful, thanks!
    As to #6 – particularly important, as a lot of twitter clients do not recognize languages other than English, and it’s really annoying having to switch to the web interface when you want to read the tweets.
    @sharonam

  • Here are a few more ideas:

    Do not twitter and drive.

    Do not drink alcohol (excessively) and tweet.

    Do not tweet while drinking and driving.

    Do not pronounce officer as “ossifer”

    Do not ask your new cellmate if he likes to twitter.

    🙂

  • Rob

    Paraphrase:

    “only annoying people call themselves ‘social media experts’, so don’t do it… of course this doesn’t apply to me, because i actually AM a social media expert.”

    Rule 1.a. was broken before you finished writing it, which is why I chose to leave a comment, and not read the rest of your article.

  • hp88

    I would add: Think carefully before you retweet that hilarious vid/joke/photo etc. there is so much time-wasting dross on Twitter. I look at it like I would a forwarded joke email and ask myself “Would I be wasting my friends’ time by sending this?”

  • hp88

    oops, meant to say thanks for this, very helpful!

  • I agree with most of your points, however I see nothing wrong with sending an auto DM with a nice thank you message as long as it does not contain a commercial. I feel that a sincere thank you is not only OK, but warranted, irregardless of the follower’s intentions.

  • Thank you for a great post. I think you have nailed the 11 worst mistakes (many of which I myself are/have been guilty of).

  • Terrific post for a Twitter newbie like me. I had followed some questionable advice and used Social Too (which I think is a good app) to autofollow. I stopped when I started following someone called something like “Your Man” (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Thanks for the helpful post.

  • Addressing Rob’s comment. If you kept on reading you would of realized he said the exact opposite of what you “paraphrased.” He went on to comparing his expertise in social to media, to his expertise in yoga (which he has none).

    Terrific article, I learned a lot. I definitely agree with updating people on how many followers you have and want. No one really cares! Thanks for the tips, you’re a fantastic writer.

  • Thanks for all your comments, I really enjoyed reading them. As for Rob’s comment, if you followed me on Twitter, you would know that the LAST thing I consider myself is a Social Media Expert. jenniewhite, thanks for having my back! 🙂 Glad you all liked it! Keep reading and of course commenting! 🙂

  • SeeboldMarCom

    Terrific tips on what “not” to-do! – there are a lot of how-to articles out there and for a newcomer like me it can get overwhelming – glad I clicked on yours because it was clear, concise, well-written and makes a ton of sense! Will share it with key clients who are also recently using Twitter – we are on the journey together!

    thanks for such a helpful post.

  • SeeboldMarCom, glad you liked it and thanks for your nice words. Keep reading, I hope you will like my future posts just as much 🙂

  • Great tips on twitter busage. This is very helpful as now all corporates are getting into the twitter vehicle!

  • Great tips that actually come from common sense, when you get to using Twitter regularly. Very helpful for twitter beginners.

  • These are some useful tips to use twitter without annoying your followers.

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  • Great stuff for the “professional crowd.” But Twitter is a “big tent,” and when you search on some topic outside the professional realm (by itself a big tent, of course), it’s amazing to see “how the other half lives.” There are Tweets out there in massive amounts that are crude, rude, with major ‘tude. I’m not advocating it. It’s just how it is. Put another way – those into music or sci-fi or chatting about TV shows or shoes or you-name-it are probably playing by slightly different rules (each “realm” with its own set of implicit rules). Bottom line — there’s nothing wrong with creating more than one Twitter account, if you run in more than one social circle. Am I right?

  • Ernie, thanks for the comment, I think it is ok, but that is just my opinion…. 🙂

  • Roger

    Nice list/post. It’s interesting to see how these have changed every year since Twitter first launched. I think it will continue to change as we all figure out how this “social media” thing really works.

    And thanks so much for calling out the so-called social media experts/gurus that only exist in thier own worlds. This technology is WAY TOO NEW for any of the unemployed marketing types or wanna-be people, to claim such BS. Just because you spend 10 hours a day using it, doesn’t make you an expert.

  • My biggest pet peeves are with 2 and 3. Sometimes people get so caught up with talking about themselves or their business that it feels like your standing in a crowded room, and everyone is just shouting in different directions, with no real audience.

  • mayasagi

    Thanks Hilel, these are great tips!
    I wish everyone would use them, especially the autu DM tip…
    I must say I enjoy your writing, you make everything sound so easy and fun.
    Looking forward to your next posts, it seems to make me smile !

  • I thought this was a great list for newbies.

    Just a thought- but shouldn’t another rule be not to tweet links to one’s own material after it is already 6 months old? I mean don’t we have fresher, relevant material we could be sharing?

    (Not aiming to be argumentative)

  • Tahamome, I feel that way too sometimes, thanks for reading… Mayasagi, that was really nice of you to say, thanks a lot, you made me smile back. 🙂 Ahuva, I hear that and I always think twice before posting old things, but if they are relevant and I have 2000 new followers since then, why not give them the chance to read it, dontya think? 🙂

  • Fair enough 🙂

    Sorry, I just couldn’t hold myself back there..

  • Elaine

    Hillel,
    This is so sensible and I thank you for putting all of the guideposts in place here. I do think of you as a respectable Tweeter.

    Relating to Ahuva’s comments, perhaps tweeting links to older material is good for your newer followers or those who do not yet follow you, but may find you because of it. Just a thought . . .

  • Thanks Elaine, appreciate your feedback!

  • I would add:
    “Don’t use URL shorteners that frame pages.” (e.g., ow.ly, su.pr)
    Framejacking is obnoxious.

  • laurawalker86

    Great tips. worth the read. I need to work on spelling and grammar but otherwise think I follow pretty much 🙂 thank you.

  • I remain quite shocked at how intelligent you are. Your likes, your opinions, your real personhood and personality come through on your tweets. Astounding. I guess the show biz, celebrity, Hollywood culture serves as a screen, as well as a window, into your own world of acting in roles. Again, congratulations on your new ABC television series. I am happy for you, as well as your new Beau or Husband, who I discovered existed, through your Twitter Tweet.

  • Michael, not sure who you are talking to u, but if it is Alyssa Milano, she didnt write this, I did, she just helped me distribute it, but thanks for reading anyway… 🙂

  • m

    “I am of the opinion that very few people can honestly call themselves experts in the field.”

    hahahahaha
    i think you wrote this article assuming that “social media expert” is just a useless tag and does not refer to an actual field in cultural studies, marketing, business, communication studies, linguistics (just to name a few )

    “have a few hundred followers, and are as much of an expert on social media as I am on Yoga (never done Yoga).”
    what the hell does that mean? so if someone works in marketing, or for some business/social/ or political think tank, they cannot be considered experts unless they have “a few hundred followers on twitter”?

    “I am of the opinion that very few people can honestly call themselves experts in the field. ”

    truth is you dont even know what the term refers to.
    if professor of social science had less than 100 friends – would you attack criticize the university they work ? serious question

    “i am of the opinion”—–its like saying “after considering…”
    or “i come from the school of thought”======pointless cliches that reflect a person trying to sound articulate and knowledgeable without actually knowing what that does.

  • OK M, identify yourself, then we can have a real conversation… Judging by your comment, you are a 14 year old high school kid… Thanks for reading…

  • Elie

    You treat Twitter as if it’s a popularity contest, or a marketing tool, or what not. Maybe for some people, but I’d said most of the actual people on Twitter (so, excluding the spam accounts) are just there for the fun of it.

    “you need to keep your audience on their toes”
    Oh, please! An “audience”? This is crap. It may be true for celebrities, but that’s it. Not everyone want to have a million followers. Newsflash, having followers on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re more loved.
    I personally use twitter to keep up with my friends and I follow a few celebrities as well that I find interesting. But mostly, it’s for my friends.

    (For the record, M so did not look like and high schooler. I’m not saying I agree with what they said, but that was not the words of a 14 years-old kid.)

  • Dave

    Just to expand the rule about Facebook:

    Please do not tweet with a link to Facebook, forcing me to login (if I have a FB account) to see the expanded information. Using another social media site for information is bad form and annoying.

    Instead, post the information on your website or blog… which is where it probably should be anyway.

  • Amazing, some of the comments you got here, Hillel.

    I think your post was very appropriate, and touched on some topics that we need to consider when using Twitter for professional reasons, which is very different than using it for “popularity”. Twitter is in fact a marketing tool, and I (as well as many other people on Twitter) follow others to hear what they have to say, read what they blog about, and get tips that they share. I would, then, consider myself a member of their audience, and them a member of mine if they followed me. (That being said, Elie, you use Twitter for a different reason. You may not have an audience, but the comments here and the number of followers of some marketing and PR folks may suggest otherwise.)

    I found these tips helpful (though already implemented, for the most part) and a nice reminder that Twitter should be used professionally, as it can be seen by anyone and everyone. I especially appreciate your call for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation; it shows a lack of effort and care to leave these sort of mistakes that take seconds to correct.

    PS. I think there are some points that need to be considered when thinking about the “social media expert/guru” title a few people found issues with. For example, social media is changing, every day. The uses of Twitter, Facebook, etc., are ever evolving. I really don’t think there is anyone that can call themselves a “social media expert”. Also, comparing an expert and a professor is no where near an appropriate comparison.

    Thanks for sharing these!

    -Ashley

  • Farah

    Thank you so much. This is a wonderful post.

  • Farah, Ashley, and Dave, thanks so much for reading and commenting, really appreciate your feedback.

  • Creative1943

    A good article, with lots of advice. I’m new to Twitter and need to know these things. I don’t generally “do” social networking sites as it can all get a bit much keeping in touch, replying, then replying to replies. But – 140 words – reply if you wish, don’t if you don’t – I’m getting to quite enjoy it really.

  • Thanks Creative1943, appreciate the feedback, and the fact that you told me about this comment on Twitter, shows you are on the right track in my opinion…

  • Thanks for sharing this, it will really improve my use of twitter.

  • CBCollection

    Thanks for this, I thought this was very helpful especially if you are new to twitter, like me. I find it irritating when people do several tweets at the same time, one or two are OK but some do 5 or 6 it really puts me off reading them what’s your view?
    Is it bad etiquette to unfollow people and do they know if you do?

  • Susan Frank-D’Ambrosio

    Perfect! This should be in a Common Sense and Good Manners Guide to Using Twitter. Very well grounded tips and good understanding of what I consider acceptable behavior when using Twitter. This is like an Emily Post Guide to Twitter manners. Twitter, facebook and My Space really do serve three different functions. Your explanation of what Twitter is and isn’t is great! Good Job there hilzfuld! 🙂
    (Spell check would be nice addition to Twitter!)

  • Thanks so much Susan, so nice of you to comment and leave me such positive feedback. Glad you liked it, are we connected on Twitter? http://twitter.com/hilzfuld

  • Kuba

    I have to disagree with the non-English Tweet comment. First, not everyone is on Twitter to get the maximum number of followers, but rather follow people that are either friends or truly interesting to them, and are likewise followed by either friends or people who find them interesting. So, if you don’t speak the language of a Twitterer, don’t follow them, just like you won’t go to pravda.ru to read news in Russian (yes, I know they have an English version, but that’s beside the point). Also, did you ever consider that not everyone speaks English? And you expect them to learn it so that they can send Tweets? And what about their friends who may also not speak English? Your comment on this point seems very Anglo-centric and marketing oriented at the same time.

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  • Good Insight… I guess I should finally turn off auto DM….. 😉

  • I liked almost everything but really don’t understand what you meant about “other languages”.

    Is it because you are assuming this article will only be read by those who consider English to be “the language”? Or this designed to be for a US audience only?

    With any luck an informative article such as this would be read by those in charge of Twitter feeds around the world, but what would be the point in news services like the well-established @at5 of Amsterdam or the nascent Brazilian events portal @speventos tweeting in English?

    I wouldn’t call your suggestion controversial, but hope you can add some substantiation to show it isn’t misguided!

  • Thanks for the comments guys, appreciate it. Drew, I am not going to say I disagree with you, but I just think that if the majority of your followers speak English, that is the language you should be tweeting in. Obviously, if they do not, it is your choice…

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  • Liz

    I have read that U.S. users are less than 50% of Twitter’s users. It’s an international communication tool. You choose who to follow, it’s up to you to follow only English speakers if your language skills are limited to English. It’s too bad you won’t be able to converse with people from other countries by learning their language.

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  • Very informative.
    In regards to #8 though, I answer as many of the new followers by way of DM so are you saying that this is wrong? My words actually are varied for each follower. I say things like thank for the follow “their name” if they’ve listed it, and I usually check out their W/S or Blog and make a comment about it, again only if they’ve provided this information. On the other hand I just say thanks for following and leave it at that because I believe that those people are only there for themselves.
    I have just followed you in Twitter too BTW.
    Cheers
    TakeThe_Plunge
    AKA FreshRoasted
    AKA Urzay G.

  • I admit that I have broken probably 9 out 11 of these rules above when a newby to twitter. I agree with most, but feel I get very ample results from my Auto DM on new followers, but want to add that it only works if you send them something meaningful and not a sales pitch.

  • Very nice list and excellent advice. What amazes me is how so many people can break all of these rules and still appear to be Twiterati. You might want to take a look at my recent most on the same topic, How to Suck at Twitter (and Still Look Successful): http://webmarketcentral.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-to-suck-at-twitter-and-still-look.html

  • Great information here for Twitter Newbies! I have definitely broken a few of these rules and have been on twitter for over 1 year now. I recently wrote a blog post that compliments yours: “How To Identify Quality and Relevant Twitter Users:” http://rbeale.com/social-media-marketing/twitter-followers-how-to-identify-quality-and-relevant-twitter-users/

    I would love your feedback if you have a few minutes.

    Best,

    Ryan

  • This is a great list you have compiled, it should be a must read for newbie Twitterers.

  • I agree with all of the above except for the language one.
    That point can only be valid in an environment where the dominant language is English.
    Although bilingual, I live and work in the Netherlands, and our daily language is Dutch. So we tweet in Dutch mostly, unless communicating internationally.
    The point should be, therefore, perhaps not to mix languages in your twitter. A seperate account for each language? If I wanted to go international and Tweet in English I think that is what I would do.
    evavanherel

  • Charles Flemming

    Loved the list. Very useful advice. Even if I don’t adopt one or more of the points, at least it educates me on some of the dynamics involved in choosing.

    Sorry, but I am deeply amused–because of its context–by a spelling error in #10.

    It’s like stuttering over the word inarticulate.

  • Excellent list! Good reminders for us all. Interesting to see “Twitter Protocol” beginning to emerge.

  • Cannot thank you all enough for reading and sharing your nice comments. So glad you liked the post. Would be happy to connect on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hilzfuld

  • Gary S. James

    YES YES YES I constantly wonder where these “Social Media Experts” have come from. I have ascertained, like pyramid schemes, the people “making good money” from social marketing are the people selling the webinars touting “making good money as a social media expert.” Thanks for the good info.

  • Great list for folks to have as a guideline for starting to use twitter.

    I’ve always thought Facebook as a family and friends site and twitter as a whole world site.

    I agree on the direct messages especially the most common ones that are selling a service. I suppose I’m so used to them that I might be missing real DMs because I skim my DMs.

  • #12, don’t accidentally post a personal tweet on your business page. Your business’ followers don’t need to know that you love going to Subway with your wife. (like many things in life, this was learned the hard way 🙂

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  • Well, OK, some good thoughts, nothing is perfect. Since I am partially blind and my computer corrects most of my mistakes and changes some words to mean something else from time to time, I may feel a little embarrassed for having mess-spelled a word here and there. I too enjoy writing people of other languages and my computer will translate anything and everything to a degree that I can understand my friends from around the world. The Google Translator is free. Oh, yes, I might comment. I am an anti-social media expert, but I assure you, it is not intentional.

  • Thanks for this information. I received my first direct-reply message thanking me for following someone about a week ago. I thought I was remiss in some sort of Twitter etiquette, so I started direct messaging people that started following me thanking them for doing so. I will quit doing that. Thanks for the heads-up.

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  • Dylan

    Thanks for sharing this with us! I think many people who read this often make mistakes, including me. I do think that this a process we will have to go through and in the future Twitter will be better used.

    I do think that you missed out on the goal of using Twitter. A lot of people I know use Twitter to communicate with their friends. So if that is your only goal I think the language does not really matter.

    I am curious about your next blogs!

  • Excellent list! As you pointed out you learnt this the hard way and that’s the best way to ‘get’ Twitter. I’m all for keeping it real, organic growth and keeping the ‘social’ in Social Media.

    You definitely treat Twitter differently to Facebook and should invest more time. Twitter = network building; Facebook = to nurture and strengthen that network, and LinkedIn = credibility …that’s my successful Social Media recipe. 🙂

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  • Great and easy to follow Twitter basics here. Nice job.

    Twitter isn’t for everyone but there are a lot of people out there that can use this tool to educate and entertain others, but they won’t even give it a try due to their preconceived opinion.

    I personally hope that Twitter sticks around for a few more years. I get all of my initial news from Twitter and that leads me into searching for more details if I’m interested in the topic. I love it. The strategy of my tweets are to write about beverages and beverages only.

    Thanks again for your tips.

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  • dem

    Best HOW-TO use Twitter article. Really

    Cheers,

    @dmanzur

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  • Thanks for the great Topic.

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  • good points … I also don’t like the ‘auto-follow’ and ‘auto-DM’ thanking people. Thank you for confirming my beliefs.

    as well, i have always said people should refrain from using ‘expert’ and much less ‘guru’ as these 2 terms are soooo damn over used. I c people with a few thousand followers and they are ‘Social Media Gurus’ and I say, ‘huh’ … IMHO, ‘guru’ is a spiritual term and should be respected in this manner.

    thanks again for sharing your views 🙂

  • Totally agree on the auto-follow. Heck, I’d rather have 100 followers who read what I have to say than 50,000 who just don’t care.

  • Your post is fantastic. Thank you! You have kindly outlined all basic “Etiquette Rules on Twitter” and I agree with all of them. The reason I called it “etiquette rules” because you provide the reasons “why” and also explain the outcomes… Twitter should be treated as a working medium to learn, grow, and share the best ideas, practices, and experiences. Thanks again for respecting our time and giving your fellow-twitters their daily lesson on how to tweet in style!

  • Wow am I actually the only comment to your great writing?!?

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  • Michelle

    Thank you for putting this list together. You’ve helped clear up a good amount that I was wondering, especially the DM thank you piece. 🙂

  • Great news brother

  • These tips are awesome & I couldn’t agree more. I really admire how you write from a Twitter user’s perspective and not from a “holier than thou” point of view. I’ve grown more and more frustrated by people telling me how to use Social Media without actually seeming like they use it themselves. Your articles (which I found today from an Alltop tweet) are great, and I wish you a ton of success (not like you need it!).

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  • Great article with some brilliant advice that I will point my clients to. Thanks for your time and advice.
    http://twitter.com/robbydesigns

  • Jimmytwohats

    “I have read that U.S. users are less than 50% of Twitter’s users. It’s an international communication tool. You choose who to follow, it’s up to you to follow only English speakers if your language skills are limited to English. It’s too bad you won’t be able to converse with people from other countries by learning their language.”

    Um, ye, 50% are in the US. What about … I don’t know … England? Australasia, South Africa and many of the English-as-a-second language countries such as India and Holland.

    The point is, if you want lots of international followers, then use English. But sure, if you only follow German tweeters and you’re German, then obviously speak German. I think that’s kind of obvious.

    I would have probably had this rule down as ‘Use the appropriate language for your purposes’, rather than highlight English.

    But ye, English isn’t only spoken by Americans, hence the name, ‘English’.

  • Ruth

    I raise my hand up in the air and hang my head in utter shame….. I joined twitter about 2 months ago and broke every rule, I just had no idea how one was to get people to interact with me. I first tweeted Hi …. but no response, I thought it was not working (stupid huh). Any ways have purchased twitter for dummies and it should be arriving in the next few weeks and will begin to mend my ways. I wish twitter would pay attention to what you write as I has most certainly opened my eyes and I will be taking your advise to heart and start sorting my twitter page out. Any one who is new to twitter needs advise on what to do and what not to do …. look what happened to me.

    Cheers
    Ruth (South Africa)

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