Twitter Rules, Revisited

Thinking a lot about Twitter – as if all the links don’t give me away – it’s my social network of choice. NO I don’t want to marry it and make little Twitter babies, but it’s still gotta be my fave right after blogs.

Once upon a time..
Are You a Twitter Ninja?
There were my first Twitter rules. 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 at your leisure.

Just say no.

While I may not have 30 reasons I won’t follow you, I still have a few rules for why I don’t ‘like’ or ‘connect’ with just anyone and everyone.

  • I say no to the needy who also want to be my Facebook friend, connect on LinkedIn.
  • Don’t care about your Klout score, but usually I say no to those with lopsided follow/follower ratios, off kilter tweet stats.
  • I probably say no to those with no bios, no links, or too many links in their bio. Not always deal breakers, but gives me second thoughts.
  • I say no to following eggs and tend to block porny Gravatars. See also, Joey Strawn’s how to write a crappy Twitter profile.

More signs you might be an unfollowed tweeter..

  • If you tweet nothing but hashtag vomit, add 23 tags to every tweet.
    • If you add your own biz hashtag to every damn tweet. Eyeroll.
  • If you tweet nothing but FourSquare check-ins.
  • If you tweet nothing but feeds from your other sites.
    • If you retweet yourself all the time. Like running an ad saying, “Congratulations, you’re following a douchebag.”
  • If you tweet nothing but RTs.
    • If they never attribute the original source or tweeter, that’s tacky.
    • If they’re never, ever personalized, file that one under “Hell no, I won’t follow.”
  • If you tweet nothing but uplifting quotes. Now if they’re mean and snarky, or overheard in the newsroom hilarity, we’re in business.
  • If you tweet too much about your stats: comments, tweets, follows, the nobodycares lists and rankings.

How dumb was I?

Don’t care. I have moved some more ‘personal’ to my business tweets in efforts to strike a better balance, happily cheering the Braves and LSU or chatting wine once in a while. There is a line somewhere, don’t want to scare the fish away with evenings of ‘OMG the fail.. what is the bleepery? I blanking hate this bloody bleep” rants and ravings.

Bottom line: I am so glad I joined Twitter. If nothing else I get to baffle followers with my texting slang, that’s always fun. FWIW.

What are your Twitter rules? Where do you draw your follow and unfollow lines?

Photo credit: Funny Blaugh comic.

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66 thoughts on “Twitter Rules, Revisited

  1. “If you tweet nothing but uplifting quotes. Now if they’re mean and snarky, or overheard in the newsroom hilarity, we’re in business.”

    The smile was slowly spreading across my face but you got the snort at that line. I’m not great at snark myself, but certain people I follow are just for the guilty pleasure of reading snarky tweets, lol.

    In any case, just about any time I say “social media,” that actually means “Twitter.” When I say “engaging on social media,” I mean “tweeting with tweeps.” When I say “I’ve not been on social media in a while,” I mean “I haven’t tweeted.” So yeah. Twitter is it for me, although I’m really putting in the good fight for LinkedIn.

    I should add that I have just about every single one … let me check … no, I do have every single one of those rules, too, but they’re all momentarily shelved if I meet someone elsewhere (blog or LinkedIn) who I respect and wish to talk to “live.” But it’s astounding how many of these same likeable, respect-able, otherwise “with-it”-seeming people do eventually make my unfollow button start glaring at me.

    It’s been too long since I’ve been here, Davina; I thought about how I was missing out over the weekend.
    Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Genuinely Curious Monday: Are We Going Big Corp or Small Shop?

    1. Glad you came by Shakirah.. and that you got a good snort out of it. I can be a snarky little shit but I like to think in a fun, playful way – not a smarmy jackass way.

      Different peeves outrank others, depending on my general mood. If I click on a bunch of your tweets and you haven’t credited the authors even once, I start to think unfollow. And I suspect that many of the folks who tweet this way are the same folks who’ll automatically unfollow back anyway, so no loss. FWIW.

  2. I finally made it over here, Davina. Been meaning to stalk you down to your blog for a little while now. [smile]

    I did a clean out of people I follow more than a year ago. I unfollowed a few thousand. I was immediately unfollowed back by twice that number. Which demonstrated something. But I have no idea what. [grin] Also, I don’t know why but Twitter makes some sense to me when I’m under 2000 followers. And it was even better when I had 100 followers or less. Go figure!

    My batting average for following back a new follow is about one out of five. I have no rhyme or reason to it and I’m almost ashamed to admit this. Obviously, I prefer following people that are relevant, interesting or engaging. On the other hand, I have to see three or more spam messages in a row to hit the block or unfollow. I’d be more proactive on the unfollow if I wasn’t so lazy.

    Twitter porn doesn’t do much for me. After all, I’m in Romania – the European capital of sexual tourism. [laughing] Bill, I have a guest bed room here for you. For your business trips, of course. [grin] If you rent a cool car and spend money like there’s no tomorrow, you can have live your wildest sexual fantasies. Or $100/night. Whichever is cheaper. [grin]

    Is Twitter a graveyard of inspiration and false advertising? When the full moon is out… there’s no doubt.

    Do you remember when you were thankful for an unengaging follow, a retweet, or a one time engagement? Ah! Those were the days!
    Stan Faryna recently posted..A Morning Litany For A Fair Damsel In Distress

    1. Oh, now you’ve done it… open invite to Bill?! 😉

      Not sure if I have a rhyme, reason either.. other than what’s interesting, what looks like a nice mix in the stream. Stan I do remember the old days.. and thinking someone who tweets 50 times a day was nuts, what is w/ 5k follows, like how could they do that all the time and who could keep up? Silly me I got over the real-time and wised up.. and yes, still thankful for the engagement and following I have. Glad you made it over, thanks.

  3. Congratulations, you’re following a douchebag

    That, my lady, was a classic 😉

    You kill me Davina 🙂 This was a ton of fun.

    As for my rules, I just try not to land on any of Brewer’s ‘This is how to tweet like an idiot’ lists!


    1. Yes these are MY rules Marcus.. folks are free to do their own thing. They of course 1) won’t be followed by moi and 2) might have their idiotic douchery immortalized for the world to see, their call. Unless every 3rd tweet you send is about the glorification of The Sales Lion and you start RT yourself all the time.. think you’re safe. 🙂 Thanks.

  4. I figure in about three months we’ll get a post from you about your new Twitter rules- but I am good with that. Social media is a dynamic environment and we should all embrace that. Say, I am glad that we connected here. Let’s connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. RT@thejackb
    Jack @ TheJackB recently posted..Why Is Daddy Crying

    1. Heh.. and hee. No, this revisit took almost 2 years Jack. It’d take quite a bit of new and even more offensively heinous behavior to get me ranting again so quickly… but you never know. Wouldn’t put it past some folks. 😉

  5. Hi Davina!

    Well, as you know, I’ve got a lopsided follower/following ratio and, after my recent post, you know why.

    Maybe some people have issues with my being super-selective about follows, but honestly, it’s what kept me from giving up on Twitter when I was first trying to figure it out and feeling so frustrated.

    And I know some people say that Tweetdeck and Hootsuite take care of follower organization for them, but I mostly use Twitter on my blackberry and those kinds of programs always freeze up my phone – not fun.

    So, I guess I’m kinda Twitter old-school just mostly using the site’s online interface.

    But even though I’m selective, I don’t really have any hard and fast rules – pretty much if I like your blog, your tweets look interesting, you’re willing to chat and you’re not spammy, I’m willing to follow.

    (although, I have to agree with John, that 4Square thing is ANNOYING. I haven’t unfollowed (yet), but I’ve hidden updates by ppl who routinely send those out).
    Tisha | tMedia recently posted..Call & Learn Teleclass on Creating Successful Podcasts & Videos

    1. I’ve been going on unfollow binges Tisha.. cutting 10-15 a day… I’ll see an unfamiliar face.. look at the tweets and decide, though some may make it back if we have a new interaction on a blog or chat.

      It’s fine to not have as many rules.. I’ve clearly just noticed some annoyances and well, this is how I follow or not. Being interesting and engaging will go a long way, that’s the real dealmaker and will help me overlook the rest. Thanks.

  6. I never understood people who RT themselves? Ok I get it the ego trip but come on, would you go around and say “well as I said earlier to so and so” Umm There are people like this so I guess twitter just magnifies the DB.

    Now I don’t have a set of rules as a list of pet peeves.
    My biggest one is 4Square, Please I implore you if you don’t want me to go looking for the Unfollow button don’t update me on where you shop, exercise, drink, eat, watch movies etc…

    I remember asking Gini and Lisa what is the point of that annoying little app? Their answer was that it’s just a game to gain more points or see who becomes mayor of some weird places.

    I’m with you with people who seemed to have linked their Twitter account to the and just send our random quotes all day.

    My personal fav (sarcasm) is people tweeting “please follow me now and I will reach x number by this evening’. Seriously!

    Davina, nobody tweets like you do and you can quote Ghandi all day, as long as you add your great 4 letter words I will keep on following you 🙂

    Have a great weekend and yes please do tweet about food.
    John Falchetto recently posted..Do small business owners really need social media?

    1. I tweet about food once in a while… but let’s not go overboard. That’s my issue with a lot of my peeves John, people go WAY overboard with this crap. The FS stuff is about gaming, making some business and social tasks ‘fun’ – which somehow translate to better marketing and greater ROI. IDK. Self RTs .. seen them done a number of ways, not a fan of any. Oh yes, the begging for more followers, FB fans, LI connections to hit a ‘big’ number.. seems so desperate and needy, seriously.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts.. and BTW sometimes it’s 3-letter words. 😉

  7. I follow some people who break my rules but they include:

    Do not over tweet, auto tweet, curse, be a jerk, ignore feed back and communication, follow no one or only a few.

    Promote, do not spam. Engage do not lecture, inflame or defame.

    A few exceptions get a pass but if someone wants to know why I unfollowed them the answer is usually spelled out pretty plainly.
    Christian SingleMom recently posted..SingleMamma4God: @Awesome_Divorce I am at about a 43 Klout score but you have more influence on Facebook than I. Welcome to Twitter.

    1. Warning: I do purple with the prose and let a curse word or two fly sometimes. Part style, part personality and if I’m going off on a rant, it stays. I respect that it’s not for everyone.. and also don’t care for it if that’s ALL I see.

      I Like: “Promote, do not spam. Engage do not lecture, inflame or defame.” There’s a balance, a tipping point when it’s too much, too much. I’ve made exceptions of course, a pass for someone who I really like, think is really smart or even just a lot of fun. Thanks.

  8. I have “rules,” but I’ll break them if I know the person. I think I follow one egg, but he’s someone I worked with, so I forgive him. No bio, no way, again, unless you’re a blood relative or potential employer.;-) Like you, I don’t give a crap about any numbers: how many followers, Klout/schmout, peer schmindex, whatever. Here’s my process: If I know you (interacted with you, read your blog, you read my blog), I follow you back. If I don’t know you, I look at your photo, read your bio, and review your tweet stream for the past 3-4 days. If it’s interesting, I follow AND I send the person a tweet to say hi. Not interesting, maybe you just tweet about rugby or botany or something that has zero relevance to me, then I don’t follow.

    I try to go through the list of people who have followed me recently to make sure I follow people back, but I’ve been attacked by spam followers lately and haven’t had the motivation to work on it! But if I see an avatar I recognize, I follow back straightaway.
    Marianne Worley recently posted..Go With the Flow: Brilliant Life Motto or 70s Hippie Mantra?

    1. See Marianne, you gotta look at days… a wider section of tweets; if someone was on the road one day, they may have a higher than normal FSq count. I’ve liked some of the tools that give a snapshot: follower ratio, percentages of tweets, links, RTs and @replies. I look for that variety, not too much of one thing (though the majority of my tweets are links). I like that you send a hello tweet (NOT a crappy Auto-DM) .. I probably should do more of that kind of thing.

  9. This is a pretty awesome list. Twitter is on everyone’s mind, what with former Rep. Weiner and his incredible stupidity.

    I do have some automated tweets, due to Triberr. I do, however, read all of them. Only once or twice have I gone in and removed a post from my Triberr stream. Other than that, I chat with folds about nearly everything.

    I pimped my blog pretty hard yesterday since my post was a Father’s Day post about my Dad. It took a lot of tears and tissues to write, so I wanted folks to see it. 🙂

    Anyway, good observations, and my personal Twitter pet peeve are the people who preach engagement, but won’t deign to engage with me because I have less than 500 followers. I also hate the “team follow back” people too. They should not be allowed to breed 🙂
    Nancy Davis recently posted..How I “Met” The Beatles

    1. Heh. I know many folks who do set their Triberr tweets to manual, so they can read them. I just have issues when I see a stream that is NOTHING but unread, blind tweets that are automated and programmed like it’s the ‘Guru Kiss Ass Channel’ ALL the time.

      If I have a good post, I’ll RT .. once a day for a couple days. But I don’t RT myself, other’s RTs of me 47 times a day. It’s a little much… kinda like some a-holes that talk about themselves in the 3rd person all the time, ya know?

      Share your peeve Nancy, a la my comments w/ Bill. Don’t follow me back, fine. But don’t orate from on high about engagement, being ‘social’ or the pressures of being a leader with a big following.. when you’re only tweeting with 50 of your 10K followers. I totally liked Brian’s post on the team follow back crap, just breeds spam and more crappy follows. Ick.

    2. And I don’t think there is anything wrong w/ pimping a post that was very emotional and you wanted to share. We might be preaching to the choir w/ these responses, but people do know you Nancy (and of course Davina as well) and we know what you are all about. I don’t think anyone will call you out for that.

      Hey Ms D, I thought you said I was supposed to be talking about myself; it’s the only topic I know……….:)
      Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

  10. We have VERY similar rules, my friend. Nay. COMMANDMENTS. Why don’t we get together and put together our commandments for twitter? Thou should not be a douchecanoe, etc.

    I also unfollow passive-aggressive people. I don’t have time for passive-aggression. Don’t do the fake nice BS and then lecture other people on being nice.

    Also I would just like to say that I really laugh as much as I type it out.

    1. I do too Jenn.. sometimes I have the biggest grin on my face as I’m commenting or tweeting. Cannot be helped. My commandments are not set in tablets of stone, no Ark of the Twitter Covenant to go find. Some folks can get away with a few sins here and there just so long as they keep it real, don’t get too full of themselves and don’t do this douchey crap ALL the time. Mileage will vary.

    1. Amanda my dear, dream bigger. 😉 Think everyone has a different threshold for bullshit, how they define crap and the levels they’re willing to tolerate. My settings hover between “eyeroll” and “non-existent.” Thanks.

    2. She will do a webinar to teach you; only $99.95 for early registrants…….

      Just thought I’d butt in and pass that info on as Ms D doesn’t always like to promote herself.
      Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

  11. Davina,

    I don’t know if I have told you this yet but I think I love you. Anyone who can consistently make me laugh to the point where I nearly fall out of my chair at work is really special to me in my book. This rules are great. I wish I had of known them before I started randomly following folks. Now I have spent weeks trying to clean up the clutter and get rid of the slackers. People actually retweet themselves. I think that is the equvalent of me telling myself what I ate for breakfast. “Hey Frank, You ate cereal for Breakfast.” That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. (note to self, stop retweeting your own posts Davina is on to you) I have learned so much about what not to do on twitter by reading your posts. Now to go ruin someone elses day with my random twitter updates about the price of pork bellies.

    1. Heh.. how are pork belly futures these days? It’s not that my rules are LAW.. they are MINE. When I get my snit on, I’ll clean out 50 people in a sitting.. just for doing stupid crap. Now if one doesn’t mind stupid crap, then by all means.. knock yourself out and follow them; hell I’ll lend you a frying pan.

      The self RTs? If it’s part of a conversation, and you’re late replying… sometimes you sorta include part of the original tweet, so others may follow. That’s different. But RT yourself all day, everyday… every post, RT, TY and then recycling them makes me ad nauseous and feeling unfollowish. Appreciate the love Frank, thanks.

    2. Hey I saw that; Ms D better be sharing some of that love, you can’t have it all Frank.

      BTW – I went to Starbucks today and ate cereal; and RT’d 3 times……just sayin’…
      Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

  12. Well you know how I feel on this topic.

    Sadly, I think it’s a shame that very few people who ever make these mistakes will ever read a post like this and realize what they are doing wrong.

    They like to have a “hit it and quit it” attitude towards Twitter that means they are constantly looking for a way to interact faster so they can move onto another spammy activity.

    I’ve somewhat grown tired of the Twitter love-in where people hold back from calling other people out. I think we all have some level of responsibility for helping to keep things honest because if we don’t, we’re looking at a situation were your Twitter feed will be like your inbox 98% crap and 2% gold – at best.

    1. Therein lies the problem Danny. We’ve discussed that in terms of marketing, of blogging, of PR.. the folks who need to read these posts are the ones who ain’t gonna read these posts. I’m mixed on the callouts; yes I get it and would that there’d be more healthy, respectful debate. But then I don’t want others to tell me how to tweet. So I write and share posts like these.. then give the unfollow button a healthy workout once in a while. Thanks.

    1. OMG Mark, thank you! I feel a little icky when I tweet my latest post once or twice .. and THAT is with a warning. There’s one douche who’s so proud of his clever quip, he’s got it scheduled to RT at random; think I’ve seen it 3-4 times in the last couple weeks .. and I barely pay attention. One of these days, my follows will get a serious douchebag and douchebaggette clearinghouse sweep. Thanks.

    2. Whew, at least I haven’t done that. HOWEVER, I have been cheesy enough when someone RT’s my post I MIGHT RT my thanks back. Of course, I don’t get much of my stuff RT’ed so its way under the radar anyway………..just sayin’…….
      Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

  13. Tell us how you really feel, won’t you, D? :p

    My rules: I don’t care about how many followers someone has, I don’t care if they’re “X” guru/whatever – if they’re talking to me/engaging, I am more likely to follow them back. I’ve adjusted my Twitter settings so that I no longer get notifications for new follows, so I don’t even check to see if someone’s following me or not. If we start a conversation, and I like it, I’ll follow.

    I also find people to follow from blogs (esp. since Livefyre has come into the mix!), which has been great. Like you, I block porny Gravatars and spammy links immediately. I try my best to make sure I’m following someone if we’ve consistently been engaging in conversation, but sometimes I don’t realize that I’m not, and then a gentle nudge from them (“couldn’t DM you,” for example) will get me right on it. I don’t auto-follow, and I don’t send auto-DMs; it’s been quite funny when someone has sent me an auto-DM that basically challenges whether or not I’m a “real” person… and I can tell immediately it’s an auto. I think some people have unfollowed me because I called them out on that – I don’t care.
    Shonali Burke recently posted..When Traackr Met MeasurePR

    1. You can send the porny Gravatars over to me; my door is always open. I have never been so popular; it still amazes me all these hot chicks want to follow me. I have to pinch myself everyday………..oh yeah, couldn’t DM you; do you always lock your doors at night?
      Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

    2. Yes, there are things of which I am NOT a fan, better to warn the unsuspecting .. just in case. 😉

      I’m like that with some follows Shonali; if they want to just watch and not engage, that’s fine (though I’ll block the spammers). I’ve gotten the split-second unfollows, when I unfollow them and/or don’t follow right back in just a few hours. Not happening. When I see that Auto-DM, then I’ll sent off one or two of the anti auto-DM rants I’ve collected, see if they’re paying attention.. and often unfollow. I’ve also added a lot of follows lately from blogs and tweet chats, really have found some of the best, most engaging Twitters that way. FWIW.

  14. Anybody and everybody; I have NO rules. BTW Google is paying me $100 for every follower so I changed my bio to Follow Me I’ll Follow You…….

    Easy on the porn Gravatars, those girls are hot and I think some of them actually like me. I mean, they have to be real, right?

    I don’t have set rules but I do look at follower/follow ratios and number of tweets. If it’s obvious the tweets are automated and cranking them out every 10 minutes that is a definite no-no in my book.

    Like you, I have my core people I engage with. If you are new to me in all likelihood you will have to reach out to me for me to even know you are there. If you are content to just be in my ‘stream’ then so be it.

    I think I only pro-actively follow someone new if they have been showcased in somebody’s post or something.

    I used to think the follow me follow you was a big deal, but I’m so deep in the blogs and posts now I don’t give it much thought.

    Hola ma’am.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

    1. Heee.. you are too funny Bill. Let me break it to you on those hot chicks that are following you around… not actually, I’ll let Brian (@ExtremelyAvg) break it to you.

      The automated, spammy, RT blasting is something I noticed from day one. People preprogramming things to share, LOTS of tweets about themselves, BLIND tweets of whatever, never reading a thing. I used to chuckle when I’d catch them at it (sending something with a dead link) but now.. it’s just part of it.

      I’m revisiting my follows and followers a bit; have noticed some that I don’t really pay attention to, don’t see a lot going on there. And yes the nanosecond I unfollow… if they were following back, they almost all do the same. I’ve also been surprised at some folks who don’t follow me back, considering my engagement with them. Different strokes.

      Most of the peeps WE know don’t do this crap, so this post is more a refresh for the NooBs and clueless. And a warning to any future followers, this is how I roll. FWIW.

      1. I too have a ‘few’ people who I actively engage w/ who don’t follow back. Like Shonali says, they might not even know and I’m ok with that. They engage w/ me on the blogs and have even stopped by the house a time or two so it’s not a big deal to me.
        Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

        1. Of course. I don’t expect everyone to follow me back – though really they should ;-). The people you mentioned are engaging with you, in some way and that’s great; I’m thinking of a few whose posts and tweets preach of community and engagement, and yet I don’t get feel any of that in my direction, just makes me go hmm…

          1. I concur, I mean why wouldn’t you follow me; I’m dynamic, wonderful, amazing, etc, etc, etc, as you are as well.

            I know of the posts and I wonder in their haste to make ‘big’ do they lose sight of what got them there and are just going through the motions now. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, good or bad, it’s just has a ‘different’ feel if you will.

            When I become rich and hugely popular I will always remember my buds……:)
            Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

      2. Unfreaking believable, ask and you shall receive, huh? I just had 10 porny Gravatars pop up as new follows. I have to tell you though I’m kind of partial to Dolly Bagnall, although one has a bio that she likes to travel and meet new people; might have potential, don’t want to be too hasty here……….
        Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

      1. That might be a stretch, but my mind seems to the humor side. If you say something, regardless of what it is for the most part, my mind starts racing to the humor side. Like @KarynBuxman philosophy, she seeks out humor and you don’t have to be hilariously funny all by yourself.

        It probably wears thin at times and I’m sure it really would if I said a 1/3 of it out loud, but for the most part I can’t help myself; maybe I need an intervention program………:)

        Thanks for the kind words.
        Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

        1. Like when I’m out w/ my wife and see some of my pre-wife buddies and I tell her “don’t make eye contact, they’ll want to come over and talk”………..:). I just don’t want her to think I had sketchy friends………
          Bill Dorman recently posted..Do I know you?

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