Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tweet, don't twitter

"Talk rapidly and at length in a trivial way * " is what prompted this blog post. I've been on Twitter for close to two years now and thought it was time I compiled a "Thou shalt not" list for tweeting. So, here goes:
  1. Do not use "Pls RT". Not only does that use up six characters, it also presumes I am not smart enough to know if something is good enough to be shouted of from rooftops.  That, and the fact I hate being told what to do.
  2. Do not use up all 140 characters unless unavoidable. Leave enough room for your twitter handle (if someone wants to RT) and some comments (from people who're sharing your tweet).  The first is self-promotion, the second is courtesy.
  3. Do not tweet ONLY to share your blog post URLs. Thanks, but we have feed readers for that.
  4. Do not keep retweeting like there's no tomorrow. If we are linked through Twitter, there's a 1 in 2 probablity that our Followed list is very similar. Retweets by you clog up my timeline.  If you find yourself retweeting stuff too often, consider putting those tweets into and sending out ONE single tweet daily. Besides, if all that you do is retweet, I am going to Unfollow you within a week (unless what I was looking for was a human feed-aggregator. For free).
  5. Do not just retweet - tell me why you thought it was retweetable (see #2).
  6. Do not be a radio commentator on the sports field. If I am as enthusiastic about that game as you, I am watching it (and not reading your tweets). If I hate sports, you're clogging up my timeline and, No, I can't filter you out because you never use hashtags and words consistently. This holds true not only of sports but of TV programs as well.
  7. Do not tweet something that wouldn't make sense to 50% of your followers. What, you do not know about your followers? Bleh! You talking to chairs and tables, then - where's the point?
  8. Do not tweet long updates one after the other, 16 tweets to a minute for 3 full minutes. If you have lots to say, use Twitlonger (or whatever) or write a blog post.
As with life, so with Twitter - do not blabber and do know who you are talking to.

* One of the definitions of 'twitter (verb)' given by the Oxford dictionary

Disclaimer: Sorry for the rant post but I just had to. Rant, i.e.


Anagha said...

1) New template! Looking good! :)
2) I agree with most of your points. The rant was necessary!
3) It's so hard to know your followers if, like me, you have friends, colleagues, bloggers and other random netizens following you, and you're too lazy to create separate accounts for work and fun.
I take solace in the fact that I tweet infrequently enough to not annoy anyone! :D

Anindita said...

I agree about the difficulty in knowing your followers but, audience analysis having been drummed and hammered into me, I make at least an effort to visit the profiles of my followers to get a sense of what they are like (by reading through their tweets).

:) You like this template? I was thinking of changing the colours back to blue....nahin kare kya?

Anagha said...

I prefer this layout - the previous one was too clinical for me.
As far as colors go, I'd go with blue too :)

Rincewind said...

I plead guilty to counts three and two. Thank you for making me reflect on my tweeting habits!

I agree with your points. On my personal account I follow some people who seem to have their brains connected to Twitter via electrodes. Whatever they think, they tweet. Perhaps I should point them to this post. ;-)

Larry said...

Good list, Anindita, except for #6. If you tweet occasionally about your favorite sport, TV show, music, or other interests, it helps me to see more of your whole personality. I find that very appealing. Sometimes I'll even learn something -- for example I learned from my Twitter friends that cricket, a game about which I know virtually nothing, has a lot in common with baseball, a game I've lived since childhood.

So excuse me, but I'll opt out of #6. If I overdo it you can stop following me. :-)

Anindita said...

:) :) Larry, I've never seen you give a running commentary of any sports. You should see my Twitter TL on days India plays a cricket match. It's utter misery. Utter misery.

But yes, I agree an occasional tweet on something outside of work is really great. It reveals the 'person' in you, makes Twitter more 'human'.