A Brief & Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide – by Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan Kelly ShibariI have been extremely fortunate to have met a few amazing people as I started in social media. One of those people is social media expert Chris Brogan. He is one of those guys that really IS a social media expert (and not one of those snake-oil salesmen types out there); having been in the realm for over a decade, he is one of those guys that is not only a vault of thought-provoking information, but is also someone humble enough to perpetually be open to other people’s ideas. He is a joy to listen to but also to bounce ideas off of. I regularly read his blog, and in the very, very rare occasion I have to chat with him (he’s become more of a recluse of late), I walk away a smarter, happier person. Thanks, Chris.

(Oh, by the way — that’s us in the pic to the right from back in 2009. He was nice enough to invite me to speak at my first social media conference – the Inbound Marketing Summit. I guess he thought it would be fun to have an adult industry person speak about how that industry is being affected by new media to a room full of marketing and tech people — and it was!)

He posted an informal Twitter etiquette guide way back then. See, this is the beauty of social media. One person talks to another, shares ideas with another person, who then shares it with … you.

With his kind permission, I post Chris’ blog post here:

I love Twitter. I think the service is a wonderful tool that permits a whole new way of communicating. The thing is, it’s also a place where newcomers might often make some mistakes in their choices that will likely be taken in a negative manner, and will likely result in an unfollow or a block from other Twitter users. The idea to write a brief and informal twitter etiquette guide came from my new friend Zaven, who asked whether, in some cases, people might just be behaving in a social structure that makes sense to their culture, but not mine. He might be right. With that as a motivator, here are some guidelines for Twitter to consider. NOTE: these come with the You’re Doing It Wrong seal of “don’t take anyone’s word for law, least of all Chris Brogan’s.”

Maybe, as this is fleshed out, you’ll have some ideas to add or subtract to the guide, and we can update it accordingly. Fair?

A Brief and Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide

  • It’s okay to follow people you don’t know on Twitter. They can choose whether or not to follow you back.
  • It’s okay to unfollow people on Twitter. Unfollowing doesn’t automatically mean “I don’t like you.” There are many other reasons.
  • It’s okay to @reply someone a question or comment vs direct message, especially if it’s an idea where others might weigh in or add a perspective.
  • It’s better to direct message someone if you’re making 1:1 plans or having a very focused, personal conversation.
  • It’s not polite to direct message people you don’t know well with your automated quiz results or similar. It’s great that YOU like those quizzes, but others see it as spam.
  • Some people are not a fan of auto reply messages that are sent in direct messages when someone follows you on Twitter. They (and by “they,” I also mean “I”) consider these robot behavior.
  • Promoting others and talking with others is a great way to show your participation to the community.
  • Only blurting out your information and links doesn’t usually come off as friendly or community-minded.
  • You don’t have to read every tweet.
  • You don’t have to respond to every @mention.
  • You aren’t obligated to reply to every direct message.
  • However, the more you can respond, the more people tend to stay with you and build relationships.
  • When retweeting other people’s works, it’s okay to truncate a bit to be able to retweet. Please preserve the link and also the original person’s Twitter name. (ex: RT @mackcollier “Twitter lives and dies on retweeting.”)
  • When retweeting someone else’s retweet, it’s sometimes okay to drop the secondary source and just retweet the original poster of the information. (example showing a change to a retweet): “RT @chrisbrogan RT @mackcollier Twitter lives and dies on retweeting” turns into “RT @mackcollier Twitter lives and dies on retweeting.” (make sense? agree?)
  • Want to avoid the above problem? Make your retweets more retweetable.
  • It’s Ok to have multiple twitter identities (from Jack Bresler)
  • It’s OK to disregard robots. (from Jack Bresler)
  • If you’re running a customer service Twitter account, it’s polite to follow back the people following you. (from Ted Coine).
  • Unless you have the author’s consent, it also may be unwise to pull from another feed stream, like mybloglog, and place the information into the twitter stream (from WWAHHMpreneur)
  • Swearing/cursing might well be bad etiquette, and feels like swearing loudly in a public place. (from BizyBiz) . *Note: I sometimes swear. Sorry. 🙁
  • Pitching your blog might not be the next best move directly after a follow. (inspired by cherylandonian)
  • Don’t get hung up on the numbers, that’s not what matters. Its a case of who you know not how many you know. (from Justin Parks)
  • and what else?

What else would you want to tell people who are new to Twitter? Do you agree or disagree with my ideas? What else will we do to help new people get acquainted?

Your thoughts are important.

So that’s it. Twitter can be surprisingly simple if you make it that way. I’ll mention other suggestions on how to generally behave in social media – all of this leading up to my workshop at Internext in Hollywood, FL (if you look above you’ll see the clickable banner that’ll take you to their site) about how to use social media properly in the adult industry. I hope you’ll attend.