10 Thoughts On Twitter: AKA My Twitter Rules & Grievances

No, this isn’t an advertisement for my twitter, it isn’t all that hard to find me @CMZINE

This is bigger than that.  This is bigger than any of us.  This is…me just rambling and complaining about the misuse of twitter.  Okay, I’m not changing the world here, but I am talking about using Twitter to the best of its ability.

To start off, why do we use twitter?  We know it isn’t like Myspace, because it isn’t absolutely dead.  We know it isn’t like Facebook, because I can’t accept your friendship out of politeness and still ignore every post you make without your knowledge.  Twitter is not only a potentially very effective social networking tool (if they admit it or not), but it is most importantly a conduit of information, where we can disseminate news to each other in a timely manner and communicate at the same time.

Have you noticed that Twitter has changed it’s opening line from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?”, because there is a major difference there.  I don’t care about every meal you eat.  I do care if Taco Bell is giving out free tacos.  See the difference?  One is just random junk that you say because you’re bored, the other provides useful information that will benefit me.  When we tweet, we need to be doing so with purpose, because why else should we expect people to follow us if we aren’t giving them beneficial information?

What I want to communicate here is not a list where we can never break the rules, but that there should be a general consensus of understanding that we will not misuse this weapon of wonder to the extent that we lose followers and then get offended that they dare not listen to all of our random musings without repercussion.  If we can respect the game, we really respect each other’s time and brain energy.

1.  Don’t tweet numbers.  I don’t care how many followers you have.  I care about how many I have, somewhat, though I care more about the quality of my followers (as I’m sure half of my followers are actually spammers trying to sell me something, most likely a scam or something disgusting or even worse: bad music).  But I don’t care about how many you have (nor do you care about how many I have).  You care if I provide you with information and I care if you can do the same.  If I just wanted online friendship communication, we have Facebook.  We have two websites for a reason.

2.  Don’t re-tweet the same person five times a day.  If you’re trying to promote that person, that is what we have Follow Friday for.  If you just think that person is hilarious or interesting or informative, it is nice that you re-tweet them once or maybe a few times over an extended period of time, but not all the time.  I will have already made up my mind pretty quickly if I want to follow that person, I don’t use your Twitter feed as an RSS for someone else’s Twitter feed.

3.  Learn how to do Follow Friday.  Saying #FF and then listening eight different names does me no good.  Tell me why I should follow them.  Don’t make me do all the work, I won’t.  If you tell me to #FF @timhoh because he is the lead singer of a great band named @houseofheroes then I will understand why and I might be interested.  Do that once.  Don’t tell me about him again the next week.  Trust me that I will have looked into it last week if it sounded interesting.  I appreciate it when people #FF @cmzine but if they don’t tell people why they should follow me, then it probably hasn’t done anyone any good, it is just worthless brownie points.

4.  If you or your twitter account is associated with something, like a website, band, label, team, etc., then most of your tweets should be regarding that thing.  I break this rule the most, especially when I’m watching sports, but I try to make up for it with as many music related tweets as I can.  I’m sure I’ve lost way too many followers by breaking this rule.

5.  If you’re not associated with anything, but are interested in certain things above others, tweet about those specific things.  Otherwise, why am I following you?  If you want followers, you have got to bring something to the table that others are interested in reading about.  If your thing is food, then tweet something interesting about food every day.  Not just what you ate, but why others should be interested in what you ate.  Was it something that they wouldn’t expect to know?  Will it bring something out of them?

6.  Don’t just spam people with your stuff.  “Hey, I like your website, even though I have never seen it, you want to follow mine?” is not an attractive tweet to read.  Don’t be that guy.  It might work to some extent, but you’re more likely to alienate people than anything.  That isn’t how you want to build a name for yourself.

7.  Don’t be too good to reply to people.  There are celebrities that try to respond to their fans.  You’re probably not a celebrity, so don’t be too cool for that.  I know that I appreciate it when guys in bands I like write back to me.  I try to reply to every reply to me that has a natural response to it.  Sometimes I get weird tweets that I don’t know what to say back to, but I at least try to come up with something to say.  It doesn’t take much to think that you’re too good for that, but you’re probably not, unless you are just swamped and can’t sort through them, but that probably isn’t your deal.

8.  Don’t humblebrag.  Actually, do humblebrag, if you are showing appreciation to your followers.  Don’t humblebrag if you’re just talking about how great you are.  I like to humblebrag when it is something like “thanks for making this a great week at CMZ”.  Don’t humblebrag about how you’re so important that you get to do things that other people don’t get to do.  I have failed at this a few too many times, but now I try not to rub it in your face if I get to listen to something before you do.  I might do that to an individual for a joke, but not to every follower, as my job is to get you excited about music, not to get you excited for me that I get something you don’t.  Jealousy is not the best way to get people to be your friend or follower.  That’s how you get rivals.

9.  Don’t re-tweet every time someone says you did something well.  Few things are more annoying than ten re-tweets in a row declaring how great someone is.  This one mostly goes to bands, but I already follow you, so I either already know that you’re great or I am borderline and will be annoyed by a re-tweet that ends up being a re-tweet-brag.

10.  Be personable.  Be funny.  Be real humble.  Be gracious.  Be what you would want to be in person.  Actually, be who you would want others to be in person.  If every tweet is something that you are annoyed by in others in person, then just know that it will be annoying on twitter.  Pestering people is annoying in both worlds.  So is being obnoxious.  Don’t bug people.  If they don’t respond to you with as much excitement as you show them, then pushing them into more of a conversation is probably not going to make things better.

I realize these aren’t all the things that could have been mentioned and I realize there will be some of you who agree with me, while others will be upset with me because either you think I’m a hypocrite or because you vehemently disagree with me.  That’s fine.  This isn’t Scripture.  These are just my ideas on what would make Twitter more enjoyable for everyone.  What do you think?


2 responses to “10 Thoughts On Twitter: AKA My Twitter Rules & Grievances

  1. Andy K March 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with you except for #FF. I will tell you what people to follow and you will like it! :)

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