In a recent dinner conversation, I was chatting with a friend of a friend about social media. She asked what networks I’m active on, and since I work in the field my answer was lengthy.
She responded that she’s engaged on Facebook, Quora and Pinterest – but has no interest in Twitter. When I asked her why not, she said she has enough access to information like what people ate for lunch and how their Caribbean vacation was and didn’t need another network to that end.
When I explained that I use Twitter for purely professional and informational purposes – keeping up with news in real time, tracking trends, reading interesting articles, and cultivating relationships – she was surprised, and shared that she’d like to try that out. I was equally surprised at her impression of Twitter in the first place.
The information you consume on Twitter is a product of the people you follow, so the content flow is completely controlled by you. That said, my conversation with this potential new Twitter user was a good reminder to be constantly conscious of the tweets you’re contributing to the firehose.
Here are four things to never tweet, if you want to be a positive and productive contributor to the Twitterverse.
1. Your Foursquare check-ins. In general, nothing you tweet should be automated. On the top of the list is your Foursquare check-ins. No one cares that you’re at Panera getting dinner “w/ 14 others.” Don’t insult your followers with a throwaway tweet that’s useful to no one.
2. Anything personal you’d put in a Facebook status update. Facebook’s “Update Status” box prompts, “What’s on your mind?” Nine times out of 10, anything that answers that question from a personal perspective does not a great tweet make. You have 140 characters to submit something purposeful and deliberate to the thousands of potential people who could see your tweet – don’t waste them on a complaint about Christmas shopping, a shout out to your newly engaged friend, or a photo of your ice cream sundae.
If what’s on your mind is an interesting book you read, a takeaway from a class or conference, or your two cents about another Twitter conversation you’ve been keeping up with, by all means – share. But anything with a solely personal-life, frivolous slant doesn’t belong on Twitter. Unless you’re a celebrity. In which case, nothing in this post pertains to you.
3. Your Instagram photos. Yes, photos make for great tweets. But not if you’re auto-tweeting your Instagram shots of your dog, the snow outside your window, and your newly organized kitchen. Especially since your followers now have to click the Instagram link and be taken out of Twitter to actually view the photo. And even more especially if you’re not even editing the photo caption so it fits into one tweet.
4. Good morning, good afternoon, and good night tweets. First of all, there’s zero guarantee the people you’re tweeting “good morning” to are even in your zip code. It could be lunchtime for them by the time the sun rises where you are. Second of all, you can convey good will and friendliness through your general Twitter personality and skip the uncecessary generic greetings.
Is there anything you’d take off, or add to, this list of things to never tweet?
(Stop sign image via Shutterstock.)