The Ultimate Twitter-Etiquette Guide

The Ultimate Twitter-Etiquette Guide : Twitter Do’s and Don’ts

Aaaah, Twitter! How else would we know what the Dalai Lama really thinks or what Richard Branson had for dinner or if Rashida Jones apologized to John Travolta for asking him to come out of the cupboard. Even Barack Obama is tweeting again and thereby joining the crowd of more than 100 million persons, companies and organizations who use the world’s most famous Microblogging service.

The whole Twitter-Etiquette in just five points! This sounds great, don’t you think?

1. The Twitter Self-Presentation

Your Twitter Account is your digital business card. The possibilities for your electronic self-presentation concentrate on 3 things:

Your Photo

Recommendable is a pic that shows you clearly and ideally gives a hint of your personality. Don’t try, come hell or high water, to be funny or original and don’t change your pic too often as this might give the impression that you are too ambitious or trying too hard. And I personally would refrain from wearing sunglasses… the eyes are the mirror of the soul, right?

Your Bio

Use your real name; there are already too many anonymous weirdos online. In case your name is already taken because your are really famous or your name is John Smith, adjoin a short and unique addition. The old Greek proverb “keep it simple, stupid” is also has validity for the characterization of your persona.

Your Background

There is nothing to say against the classic Twitter background but if you want to stand apart try and customize your own! It just takes a few minutes and tutorials can be found all over the web.

2. Twitter-Courtesy

Social obligations always result out of the individual circumstances and the contiguousness to your acquaintance and the summa of these two quasi results in a Courtesy-Quotient – The new forms of interactive involvement on social networks of the virtual society have by far the lowest courtesy-quotient. This is also valid for Twitter and at the same time is a blessing and a course. For you this basically means that if somebody you don’t know contacts you about something you’re not even remotely interested in, you don’t have to answer him/her/it… cool, isn’t it?

3. Twitter-Arithmetic

Never before it was so easy to precisely calculate the social rank of a person as now in the age of Twitter. After joining, just for a millisecond, we are all the same. After that, every individual will be valued by the conjunction of the following variables (Warning mate, don’t take this too serious):

Tweets (t) = the number of your own micro-messages with maximum 140 characters
Following (f) = the number of Twitter-Users who you are following
Followers (F) = the number of Twitter-Users who are following You
Only t and f can be directly influenced
This results in the following formula
t << F ==> prominent
t ≥ f ≈ F ==> in the Media or PR-Business
t >> f >> F ==> thirsty for glory or just plain narcissistic

4. The Twitter-Psychology

Well, it’s a known fact that we live in difficult times and many people out there feel already valorized if they receive a virtual fondle. But to brag about the number of followers on Twitter is equally pathetic and awkward as to swank about your eBay-feedback-score or at least as measly as to crawl the search engines on how to tweet to get more followers… The best method to get more followers is still: GET A LIFE, PLEASE!

Twitter is, similar to Amazon’s “you might also like… “, giving you suggestions. Only on Twitter they are (mostly) not about products but about people. But never ever forget: Twitter is – despite of the hype – just a machine. So please don’t fall in despair if you mostly find profiles on the “Similar to you”-Page that you are absolutely not interest in or even fill you with a slight sense of disgust. But here’s a quick advice guys: If this keeps happening you probably should change something – On Twitter and in Real Life.

5. The Twitter-Taboos

Let’s face it: 140 Characters are enough for every banality. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to take part in the dumb-game. Tweet regularly, but no trash! And if you really feel the need to tweet trivialities, the at least do it in a witty way.

Be careful – Tweeting is no traditional small talk; the rules are a bit different. Even some “celebrities” had to learn this the hard way.

Basically it is pretty simple: What doesn’t belong in public doesn’t belong on Twitter – Keep in mind that while the technologies are relatively new, the reactions to breaches in etiquette are still pretty much old-school.