Despite the intense-sounding title, this is supposed to be a light-hearted post. As many of you know, Twitter is THE premier watercooler-esque hangout spot for procrastinating creative folks. However, Twitter can be an overwhelming, confusing place. It has an etiquette code all its’ own, and sometimes, stumbling around it can make you feel super old and out of the loop.
Twitter Etiquette 101!
Don’t be an egg. Seriously. (I’m referring to the default Twitter user profile picture of an egg) Even if it’s just a picture of your favorite anime character, your cat, or a can of soda, it’s better than being an egg. Many people refuse to follow “egg” accounts, because nine times out of ten, they’re a spam account. Twitter users will connect with you better if your profile picture shows some of your personality, even if it’s not a photo of you.
Like a friend’s thought? A fav will do. Want to end a conversation, but not in a rude way? Just fave the last tweet the other person said. Fav-stars for everyone! However, if you want to signal-boost a friend’s blog post, article, or thought, a retweet will provide them much more exposure.
Hashtags are great, right? We #should #hastag #EVERYTHING, #right?
Nope. That’s annoying. It also looks spammy, and it’s hard to read. Use hashtags like a seasoning. Put the hashtag at the end of the tweet. However, if you want to discuss a commonly hastagged item, then it’s totally fine. For example, there’s no sense writing “I’m so excited about Pitch Wars. #pitchwars” Just use, “I’m so excited about #pitchwars.”
Try to avoid using too many hashtags in your bio, too. It’s harder to read, but a few targeted ones can make you more discoverable to new followers.
Twitter is an amazing place because you can read the tweets of anyone; famous authors, celebrities, your sister-in-law’s cousin’s next-door-neighbor… but use some common sense. Don’t be that person answering every single tweet from a big-name author, or creep out an average person by favoriting every single tweet they post. Ask youself: Does this person follow me? Do they answer and favorite my tweets? Will this be the first or second time I’ve interacted with them today? If the answer is “No” to at least one of these, slow down. If the answer is no to all of them, then definitely don’t do it.
Provide content on Twitter. It’s not just a place for emotional rants, sub-tweets(when you try to call someone out without actually calling them out) and retweeting all the time. Interact with people. Make friends. Share pictures of your city, gifs of your fav shows, funny thoughts. Don’t share photos of other people, or kids though. Remember. Twitter isn’t like Facebook. It’s very, very not private. Anything you share, rude, funny, embarrassing, whatever, may become viral.
Twitter also isn’t a marketplace. Constantly tweeting links asking people to buy your books, your art, your collection of bannana peels won’t result in many sales, and in fact, a lot of people will mute or block you. Aim for one sales-based tweet a week or so, more if you’re gearing up for a launch, but never more than three times a day.
Don’t schedule the same sales tweet to show up multiple times. That might work for commercials, but it doesn’t work for Twitter. Likewise, don’t constantly retweet other people’s sales tweets. DO NOT ever auto-dm people. Most Twitter users will auto-unfollow someone who does this. It’s annoying, rude, and makes it seem like you’re only on Twitter to sell things.
Finally, be nice to people. There’s a real live person behind every twitter account (except for the spam accounts.) Try to treat them like real people. Don’t jump on a tweet and try and turn it into an argument. Don’t pester people begging for a retweet or to be noticed. Don’t send creepy DMs.
And if you got through this whole lecture, and want to be my Twitter friend, find me at @writer_carrie (link here)