Ten Rude Twitter Habits to Break Today

Many freelancers enjoy connecting on Twitter. It’s a simple application that’s easy to learn, yet it has a huge number of apps that can be added to expand its functionality.

Plus, most freelancing specialties have a large Twitter community. From personal experience, I know that there’s a large writing community on Twitter. I know that there is also a large design community there as well as communities for several other professions.

Clearly, freelancers can benefit from using Twitter, but along with the good is the bad. I’m talking about bad habits. Many freelancers develop bad habits using Twitter simply because they haven’t taken the time to think about how they use this tool.

In this post, I share ten bad Twitter habits that may even be considered rude. If you’ve developed some of these habits, you may be annoying your Twitter community and leaving a bad impression.

Bad Twitter Habits You Shouldn’t Ignore

Here are ten bad Twitter habits you should stop doing:

  1. Leaving Twitter in the middle of a conversation without telling anyone. You wouldn’t walk away from someone in the middle of a conversation without saying something to let the other person know that you’re leaving. You shouldn’t suddenly abandon a conversation on Twitter either.
  2. Retweeting retweets of your original tweets just to get attention. I actually conducted a small, informal survey about this practice. Most respondents agreed that retweeting someone’s retweet of your original tweet was annoying and only acceptable if it added clarity to a conversation.
  3. Begging for work through Twitter. Again, this is another behavior you probably wouldn’t do in person. You wouldn’t normally constantly beg acquaintances for work, although you might let them know from time to time that you are looking for work.
  4. Autoresponse, autofollowing–really auto-anything. No one can be on Twitter 24/7, so some scheduling of tweets is necessary. However, if your Twitter involvement is too automated you may be creating the impression that you aren’t really interested in connecting with others.
  5. Tweeting personal relationship info. (Twitter break-ups, etc.). Is there anything more tacky than breaking up with your partner over Twitter? Whether you’re a celebrity or just an ordinary person, some things really are better when handled in person.
  6. Cussing and other foul language. It’s always important to think of other’s sensitivities. While you may be comfortable swearing in front of your close buddies, you probably really don’t know your Twitter community that well. Many find this practice offensive.
  7. Using a hash tag that doesn’t really fit your tweet. Using the wrong hash tag isn’t a clever way to get a bigger audience for your tweets. Rather it does one of two things–highlights you as a newbie use or worse, as a conversation crashing cad.
  8. Ignoring @mentions and direct messages. If someone has taken the time to address you directly with either an @mention or a direct message the polite thing to do is to reply. Imagine yourself at a social gathering with someone trying to talk to you.
  9. Making it all about you. Twitter is a conversation and successful conversations are typically give and take interactions. Too many Twitter users are just there to promote their own interests only, but that really defeats the social purpose of social media.
  10. Spam. It should go without saying Twitter spam is always a no-no. I can always tell a spammer from the following two characteristics: their tweet has nothing to do with anything I’ve been discussing, and they are following no one and have no followers.

A Quick Rule of Thumb

I’ve listed some specific problems that I’ve seen on Twitter. Naturally, many of these mistakes are made unintentionally, but that does not make them any less annoying.

When using Twitter (or any other social media tool, for that matter–even the new Google+ tool) a quick rule of thumb is to think about how your interaction would come across if you were face to face with your followers/fans/friends. If it would come across as being rude, negative, or boastful–don’t do it. More often than not, this rule will keep your from making a bad impression on Twitter (or any other online site).

Your Turn

Have you noticed any bad Twitter practices that I’ve missed?

Share your own Twitter pet peeves in the comments here.