Having recently, finally joined the world of Twitter, I began to wonder what the proper “twittiquette” was. For instance, what do the “@” and “#” symbols indicate? Should I post in txtspk or lolspk or should I post in proper English? Should I post in third person or first person?
I have found a few articles discussing these questions. For instance, Grammar Girl posted some “Quick & Dirty Tips” about posting on “Tweeting.” I also found an interesting article on BrandFlakesForBreakfast offering some “Twittiquette” tips. Finally, I also found a small Twitter glossary with some information about specific terms and symbols.
Here are some of the best tips I’ve found:
- It’s generally preferable to Tweet in proper English.
- If someone follows you, you should follow them. – I am curious about this tip, as I’ve found it in quite a few articles. Why should I follow someone I don’t know? If someone decides to follow me, how am I to know if this is someone genuinely interested in what I have to say or if they are just some spammer? Three of my five followers are people of whom I’ve never heard. I’m assuming, based on the people they are following, that they decided to follow me based on the people I’m following (common interest, etc.). I really have no idea, though. For those of you that are curious, my other two current followers are reciprocal followings from The Onion and from CenterNetworks.
- It’s okay to use symbols such as &, <, >, etc. and to use numerals when indicating numbers. However, you should avoid using numerals in place of words (don’t say things like 2nite, 4get, etc.). – I am curious if this applies equally to posting from a phone as they do to posting directly from the Twitter interface. When posting from the Twitter interface, I generally post in proper English without any txtspk introduced. However, when posting with a text message from my phone, I usually introduce some txtspk just to save me some time.
- It’s generally not a good idea to Tweet about Twitter or what’s going on with Twitter. You shouldn’t post about how many followers you’ve got, how many posts you’ve made, etc.
- You shouldn’t constantly post about blog entries you’ve made. It’s okay to promote your important blog posts, but don’t overdo it.
- The “@” sign is used to indicate that you are replying to a specific Tweet. The “@” symbol is added automatically when you click to reply to a post, as is the username of the user to whom you are replying (along with a link to their Twitter page).
- The “#” symbol is used to mark specific keywords (or categories) for your Tweets. For instance, if you want to categorize all of your Tweets about SXSW, you would place a “#” symbol before “SXSW” to make it easier to find that keyword.
I didn’t find any tips about whether to post in first person or third person. A lot of the examples I found were written in first person, so I’m assuming that’s the way it should be done. It seems almost as though you should post in third person, as each Tweet begins with your name (so it seems like it should be something like “Curtiss is waiting in the doctor’s office” rather than “Curtiss: I’m waiting in the doctor’s office.” However, it just feels wrong to talk about yourself in the third person. It annoys the hell out of me when I hear celebrities do it, and I don’t really want to do it on my Twitter page. I guess that’s why most of us post in first person.
I hope this information helps other newbies to Twitter. If you’ve got other tips, suggestions or questions, please post them.