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Six Basics of Tweet Etiquette on Twitter

Twitter is a community of people seeking knowledge. Like any other community there are guidelines for how to communicate with and treat others. Below are a few basics related to appreciation, grammar, and sharing of information to remember if choosing to recognize others or communicate with followers on Twitter.

Express Gratitude

  • If others retweet (RT) something you have sent as a tweet, you should send out thanks messages. Regardless of whether they write it as a new RT with a mention (@) of the account name or if the built-in Twitter retweet option was used. The thank-you message may be sent as a direct message (DM) to only their account. Or the thank-you may be done as a mention using @ or the mention option in a new tweet that may be seen by everyone following.
  • If a general question is sent to followers, be sure to send back a thank-you via DM, mention, or reply option for any helpful responses.

Don’t Be Rude

  • If others mention your account, a thank-you with the appropriate response and a reference of what was in original tweet may be tweeted back via a mention of their account. If the response is not going to be positive, it is better to do it as a direct message so rudeness is not spread across the twitasphere. Recognition of a mention is nice but it is not considered required by most users on Twitter.
  • Also, do not be crude. Although it happens in most communities, curse words or symbols indicating them and other obscenities are not nice, nor appreciated by most readers, and can even be confusing to some. So unless the desire is to be unfollowed or blocked, avoid doing this.

Grammar Rules

  • You only get 140 characters in which to share your message in a tweet. Therefore most readers believe it is ok to abbreviate words and use numbers or letter to replace full words when necessary (Example 2=to/too, 4=for, w=with, n or +=and). However most prefer to be able to quickly understand what they are reading so avoid doing this when he message will fit in less than the Twitter maximum character range.
  • Although some tweeters occasionally use texting formats, which is acceptable if the majority of their followers do the same and these people are the only target audience. Complete sentences following standard grammar rules are preferable for a clear communication to a large audience. Full text sentences are easy-to-read and understand. Not using proper grammar may give the impression that the sender is not literate.

Share Good Stuff

  • When receiving a great quote, good article link, or other interesting information from a follower or other resources, feel free to share it with your followers via a retweet or a custom tweet. Many on-line article sites and blogs have a button set up where you can instantly share a link to the article as a tweet if logged into a Twitter account.
  • If during a Twitter search for a particular topic of hashtag (#) a good tidbit is found, feel free to retweet it too. Also, check out the original Tweeter by clicking their account name to see if they present lots of relevant information in case following is also desirable.

Don’t Spam

  • Sharing is good, however sending too many tweets can get you labeled a spammer. There are some people who send a tweet every 1-2 minutes after a while others either quit reading those tweets or choose to unfollow, block, or mark as spam these multiple tweeters. So think about it before setting-up one of those auto-senders to create tweets, hiring someone to tweet on your behalf, or spending all your time on the phone or computer developing tweet material.
  • This does not mean that sharing products, services, or freebies should not be done via Twitter. It just means do not overdo it. After all, most people like to find out about free offerings and be the first to know about a new product or business. Many on Twitter will even be willing to try these things out and communicate their finding to followers via new tweets or retweets of the original text.

Process Direct Messages

  • If someone sends a question via DM, it is polite to answer back via DM especially if you have something relevant to share. However, every DM does not require a response as many are strictly “For Your Information” (FYI) to let you know more about the person who is newly following you.
  • If it is to be a private conversation, use the TO option in the direct message window and not @ so that the information remains between two users and not made available to the twitasphere.

These basics for showing gratitude, sharing information, responding, and grammar usage should help make Twitter a better communication tool for letting followers know what they might find interesting. Remember Twitter is a community of people seeking knowledge, but not expecting information overload as can happen when proper etiquette is not used.

About Amit Raj

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