The Newcomers Guide To Twitter Part 7: Twitter Etiquette #New2Twitter

The Newcomers Guide To Twitter is a ten-part series of introductory lessons, tips and suggestions for people using Twitter for the first time. Please share these articles with your friends, family, colleagues and anyone you know who is struggling to “get Twitter”.

So, you’ve studied the basicschosen the perfect usernamesetup your profile at Twitter.com, started following some cool people, picked up some followers yourself and wrote some really great tweets. It’s all looking good. Now… have you thought about your behaviour on Twitter?

As with most things in life, everybody’s favourite micro-blogging social network comes with a series of norms and expectations. These best practices are closer to guidelines than hard-and-fast rules, but newcomers to Twitter would do well to observe this list of 10 Twitter etiquette suggestions to maximise their presence on the platform.

1. It’s Okay To Lurk

In fact, not only is it good practice until you get into the swing of things, but there’s nothing to stop you lurking forever. Twitter can be an amazing source of data, and you don’t have to write even a single tweet to tap into that. But at the same time, if you have things to say, then you can improve that data by getting involved.

2. You Don’t Have To Follow Back

Never forget: you’re under no obligation to follow anybody on Twitter. Ever. It’s 100 percent your decision. Twitter doesn’t work unless you’re careful to only follow people who are right for YOU. Equally, just because person A finds person B interesting and worthy of a follow, that doesn’t mean the reverse is also true. Indeed – any many don’t want to hear or believe this – it rarely is.

3. Avoid Text Speak

If you can’t squeeze a proper sentence into 140 characters (or, ideally, less), try, try again. Never sacrifice quality of prose for an extra word or two, especially if they’re wrttn lk ths.

4. Keep It Real

Find the balance between being overly negative and happy clappy trappy. Neither camp is enormously popular except with other people who are like them. (And nobody likes those guys.) Don’t be somebody you’re not, but if the real you is a jerk, a sap or a fraud, you should probably work on it.

5. Retweet Often

Retweets are the backbone of Twitter and a day shouldn’t go by when you haven’t found at least one thing worthy of a retweet. That said, don’t retweet everything, and don’t retweet anything. Despite what some folks say (and state in their Twitter bios), to your followers, a retweet is usually seen as an endorsement or, at the very least, information that you want others to read and, if there’s a link, click. Accordingly, when you retweet on Twitter, think about the message that you’re sending to your network.

6. You Don’t Have To Thank For Retweets

When somebody retweets you, it’s a nice feeling, certainly when you’ve just joined Twitter. You’ll want to thank them. So I say sure, go ahead. After a while, however, assuming you’re doing okay, retweets of your stuff will become very much par for the course. Some of your tweets will get retweeted a lot. Thanking each and every person for doing this is not only a bad idea, it’s also completely unnecessary. If everybody on Twitter thanked everybody else for retweets, Twitter would be completely ruined. We’d have probably 50 percent more tweets and they’d all be noise. So, unless somebody has gone out of their way to do something special with your content on Twitter, you don’t need to thank them. Honest.

7. Don’t Send Automated Direct Messages

Never. No exceptions. Literally nobody likes these. And I mean that: literally nobody. Indeed, use direct messages sparingly. They really should be something that’s (a) absolutely private and (b) really needs the other person’s attention, with some sense of immediacy.