Don’t Be Rude: Top 10 Ways To Keep The Peace on Twitter

Twitter is a great resource for social networking and personal interest purposes — as long as you don’t make a total fool of yourself or take steps to make others disrespect you. There’s a lot of talk about people who talk about being cyber bullies on the internet, but there are actually a whole bunch of ways to be a rude Twitter users. Keep these 10 things in mind to be a peaceful Twitter citizen.

1. Don’t link to or embed inappropriate content. Especially with the new Twitter, content besides your 140 characters reigns big on the social media site. And if you’re making inappopriate videos, pictures, or audio clips publicly available, it would be most polite to stop.

2. Don’t plagiarize tweets. Twitter has a built-in mechanism for this — the retweet. Do not just retype someone else’s words without giving them the credit of an “RT.”

3. Thank people for mentions. You have to use your judgment on this — if you receive @mentions all the time, then oyu don’t necessarily need to thank people for every one. But if someone addresses you on Twitter, especially in a complimentary way, it’s nice to thank them back.

4. End the ‘thank you’ cycle. Again, using your judgment, it’s perhaps okay with certain people, once in a while, to thank them for thanking you on Twitter. But usually, if someone thanks you for mentioning them, you don’t need to thank them for being polite. Going overboard just wastes cyberspace.

5. Explain your criticisms. If you are tweeting something negative about a person or current event, you’re going to appear more trustworthy if you can briefly articulate something specific that is making you react badly. For example, instead of tweeting “I HATE LADY GAGA,” try “I don’t like the lack of harmony in Lady Gaga’s new single.”

6. Retweet once in a while. Retweeting shows that you are interested in what other people have to say — by retweeting, you’re not just posting content, but recycling it to make Twitter conversations deeper.

7. But not too often. If you only retweet what other people say, without adding any commentary of your own, you might want to reevaluate your Twitter usage. Of course, everone has the right to use a personal Twitter account however they wish, but if you’re tweeting to establish a public or corporate reputation, it’s a good idea to post some of your own original thoughts too. You wouldn’t want to be the too-many-retweets guy.

8. Don’t fill your Twitter page with a personal conversation. If someone clicks on your username and only sees two names — yours and someone else’s — that’s a sign that you should be e-mailing, not tweeting. Unless your conversation is something a huge audience would like to read — like a tweet battle between Stephen Colbert and Glenn Beck — you’re being rather rude.

9. Don’t hate on a group page. One of Twitter’s best and most supportive features is the hashtag. Often these hashtags are associated with people joining in solidarity, like for breast cancer or the recent #wherewereyou tag for people to remember September 11. If you don’t have anything supportive to say about the topic, just make sure that your comments are constructive.

10. Edit what you post. For a lot of users, especially people who are just using the site for social purposes, tweets are super casual updates. That’s fine, just be sure that what you’re actually posting about is appropriate and not just a crazy outlet journal. Feel free to tweet what restaurant you ate at — skip the tweet on how many times you used the restroom while you were there. It’s rude to assume others want to know that.

We can’t all be diplomatic all the time. But a little etiquette goes a long way.