My Twitter Rules: I won’t tweet about lunch.

I had this list of Twitter rules typed, ready to post on my blog. Thought it be a nice follow-up to several other guidelines and columns about the best ways to use Twitter. But then I read this:

“If I don’t like how Jessi is promoting herself on Twitter, then I can UNFOLLOW her. But I think it’s silly for me to tell HER how SHE should be using Twitter so that it’s better for ME.” – Mack Collier.

Mack, you are so right. A quick review of 20-40 tweets and a glance at your profile tells me what I need to know about your Twitter style. If I don’t like how you tweet, I can NOT follow you in the first place. If I don’t want to not or unfollow someone, I can keep them in the TweetDeck All Friends doghouse (or FriendFeed).

Retweet Policy.

Blame Augie Ray for this. On his blog he suggested that thanking for a retweet should be a direct message, not public. I commented that perhaps it was proper etiquette to openly thank for RTs, suggested it may even be offensive not to. He had lots of discussion on this one.

  • If you ever thank me for a retweet, you are very welcome.
  • If you tweet or retweet my post, Thank You. Very much.
  • That typed I may or may not thank you via Twitter for the retweet. Odds are you’ll get a DM. If I had a bunch of RTs I may send out a group TY tweet.

Consider yourself warned. My Twitter Style.

  • Less is so much more. I don’t tweet a lot and when I do I’m trying to contribute. Hopefully I will NOT: ask stupid questions, tweet the obvious, or otherwise add to the high percentage of blather.
  • I will stick to the topics as advertised: public relations, social media, marketing and design with a few nice relationship-building conversations and occasional asides into Atlanta, wine, LSU, and what I’ll do when I win the lottery. If it’s wrong that I don’t tell you where I’m shopping RIGHT NOW, I don’t want to be right.
  • I will read the linked article before I retweet it; I may event take the time to comment, as it’ll make me sexy. (Read it on the Internet, must be true.)
  • I will include the source or author when I tweet an article, so you know it’s not mine.
  • When I tweet my blog post I will warn you that it is my blog post, so that you can decide to read or ignore it at your leisure. (If I forget, please call me out on it.)
  • I will not repeat or retweet myself. Too much.
  • And since I am not a chef, restaurateur or semi-pro food critic, I will not tweet what I had for lunch (unless it’s really good). That is all.

Want More? Keep Reading.

11 thoughts on “My Twitter Rules: I won’t tweet about lunch.

  1. I loved this post and your rules. I always find it weird that I have a Twitter stream with friends and people following me about business topics: should I post that philosophical thought I have at 2:00 a.m.? How about a great party? Or just business stuff? Worlds collide with Twitter and I’m pretty sure that the best streams are those that have a good mix of stuff. I could be wrong and be losing followers every time I tweet about a drunken escapade =)

    1. To each his own is the right motto for Twitter. If you or I don’t like how someone tweets, we can unfollow or ignore them. I’m working on putting a little more personality in my tweets, so that it’s not ALL business and people can meet the “real” me (and hopefully not run screaming). Thanks for sharing your comment.

  2. Davina, I just posted this info to your LinkedIn Discussion as well.

    I have been defining and refining Twitter best practices for business for over a year and have spoken at many marketing conferences on this topic. I’ve ramped up over 40 Twitter accounts across multiple business categories and tweet from at least six to eight accounts every day.

    I always say Twitter can be used any way you want. In fact, I tweet for some fictional characters (and won a Shorty Award for doing that), which is odd by most people’s standards. That said, however, if you’re using Twitter for BUSINESS purposes, there are definitely best practices you can follow to seed engagement and garner high-quality followers.

    Without going in-depth on how to do that, my best advice is to treat your twitter stream kind of like your digital resume if you’re building your personal brand, or your marketing materials if you’re building an actual brand. Aim to tweet things that provide value for the greatest number of people (or delete tweets that don’t after recipients have received them). Thanking people publicly for retweets doesn’t generally meet that criteria, so I don’t advise it.

    Plus, when you have thousands of followers it is unwieldy to thank everyone who retweets you – publicly or privately. I don’t do Follow Friday for the same reason. It’s easy when you’re a newbie, but just plain silly once you become a power user.

    To me, it’s similar to using games and quizzes on Facebook. They seem fun when you’re a newbie, but after you have hundreds or thousands of friends, the dozens of invitations you get to participate in these things every day seems like spam.

    Of course, if you have no business objectives for using these platforms, you can do anything you want with them.

    Social Profiles:

    1. Carri- I agree that Twitter is the tool we make it to be, per our own uses and practices. I use it for mostly business reasons, and yes my Twitter stream is an extension of my digital resume. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  3. Interesting post, thanks!

    I agree that people should use twitter in a way that works for them, and everyone has different needs and goals so their uses will be different. But I also think that there are some main common points and recommendations that will help someone be a more valued part of the community. I think that posts that help those who are new to twitter understand how to best add value are great. And the same rule applies here: if you don’t want to know how to do that, you don’t have to read the post. Right?


    1. Carolina- Agree that everyone will use Twitter in what works best fore them; there isn’t a one-and-only-way to use Twitter. Rather than tell everyone what I liked/disliked about their tweeting, I just wanted to share what works best for me. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  4. Great point and post about refraining from trying to tell others how to make Twitter better for you. I too commented on Augie Ray’s article and was frustrated with his (and others’) approach in trying to create a better Twitter by their own definition – especially when they do it from a platform that claims authority and expertise. I wrote a post ( inspired by the RT Thanks points he made and asked for opinions and thoughts. It generated over 80 comments and almost unanimously they disagreed with him.

    I really appreciate people like you who understand that there are other people in the world who may feel differently about things and rather than attacking them you wisely point out that we can choose who we want to associate with or not.

    Thanks for your approach and insight!


    1. Brian- I was one of the dissenters on Augie’s post. I get that the “Thx for the RT” may seem like self congratulatory BS, but from what I’ve seen it’s the proper etiquette. Plus it returns the favor a bit. I thought this take from @ValerieSimon was interesting, the idea that the reader is grateful for what was shared.

      Thanks for reading, sharing your thoughts.

  5. Great article. I like your style. :)It’s good that you say these are your rules. I’m really sick of reading “The Rules” on how to tweet, when I, and others I know disagree with them. So, I really like the way you wrote this article.

    I totally disagree with #2 on Augie’s list(RT thanks publicly). I feel it’s perfectly polite and ok to publicly thank someone. I do, as do a lot of my friends. I don’t see how it’s self-serving at all, and it gives those you are thanking the opportunity to be seen and followed.

    It really doesn’t clog up the Twitter stream either. It’s a blip in a fast moving river of tweets. If you don’t like it, simply ignore it, and it will move right along in a few seconds.

    1. Vonnie- I lurked before I leapt, so I’ve read tons of How To posts (and had written my own). But Mack’s post about not telling others how to tweet really hit home. It’s about how I like to tweet, so I thought a transparent disclosure of my Twitter style was better.

      Lots of folks disagree about the RT etiquette. It’s all relative, and I think we can decide for ourselves the line between politely returning the favor, and self-promotion. Thanks for your comments.

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