I am an occasional Twitter user. Although I still haven’t figured out what it all is about, I would go once a day and read through my timeline, re-tweet a few of the most interesting posts, maybe comment here and there. I observe what others do and do the same- like hash-tagging or Follow Friday recommendations.
Quite often, other users will break the unwritten rules, and it will result with me to un-follow them as a form of protest. Yeah, I know- if they don’t use more advanced tools like FriendOrFollow or some service informing them about being unfollowed, they will probably never know. But as it happened to me in last couple of weeks to significantly prune my follow list, I decided to write down a list of things to pay attention to, or some kind of Twitiquette.
1) Fill out some basic info in your bio. If there is no description of who you are and what are your interests (or what are you going to tweet about), you will have hard time convince others to follow you back.
2) If you Tweet in other languages as English, probably not many people who normally Tweet in English would care to follow you back. Also, if you tweet in more than one language, make major of your Tweets in English, otherwise, again, many users will quickly stop following you.
3) You can tweet about what you had for breakfast or what game you are playing on your computer/iPhone/whatever from time to time, but if you don’t tweet about anything else, people will quickly loose interest.
4) Do not link only to your blog/web site/Flickr stream. Unless you are @JoeMcNallyPhoto or @MoosePeterson (or whoever is your favorite “big fish”), chances are your work is not that interesting to everybody. And, Twitter is not RSS feed anyway.
5) Tweet interesting and relevant links, and keep it around a single theme. Write few words what was the source, what the link is for- a blog, web page, video, and what it is about. I never click on links like “new images on Flickr” or “new blog post”.
Often I will also put some effort into finding authors Twitter handle, if they have one, and credit them this way. Nothing is less informative then popular recently “from Google reader”. Not your content? I want to know who wrote it before I open the link.
6) When you re-tweet what others have written, do not forget to include “RT: @…”. Make sure you credit the authors. You cannot image how many people don’t get it. I just unfollowed 3 people last week for re-tweeting others tweets, word by word, without acknowledging that .
What I need to do sometimes, though, is to edit the tweet to fit it into 140 characters- I would delete spaces, some wording, whatever I find the least destroying the original message. Not sure it is OK, but no choice there.
7) Add appropriate hash tags (words starting with #) to increase the number of people finding your tweets. Hash tags allow to create Twitter searches on a subject. Just invent something. You can also check if a word or phrase (written as single word) was already used as hash tag on hashtag web page. For a photographer, a hash tag #togs (from phoTOGrapher, made up by @photojack) will do in all situations ;).
If you think I forgot some important rule, or you not agree with my recommendations, leave a comment below. What are your Twitter pet peeves?