10 Ways to annoy your Twitter followers
When I finally joined Twitter in 2007, it came as a welcome relief. I had become so sick and tired of Facebook and all the Facebook Application invites. Every Mafia Wars and Farmville invite I received seemed to push my blood pressure further and further into the red and Facebook had lost all meaning.On the other hand, Twitter was quiet. The people I got to interact with were a breath of fresh air because, it seemed, that everyone was fed up with the noise on Facebook.
But it would appear that all the annoying people on Facebook have now joined Twitter.
In order for me to maintain my sanity, I have decided to put together a few rules I hope you’ll find useful. Think of them as the “neighbourly walls” that keep society functioning:
1. If you follow me, I don’t have to follow you
Very little annoys me as much as someone who demands I follow them. OK, in the early days I broke this rule too, but the beauty of twitter is that I am in control of my account and I will decide who I want to follow. If you send me demands to follow you, I will block you.
2. Don’t ask me why I unfollowed you
Right behind #1 is this gem: If I decide you’re annoying me, I will unfollow you. Don’t ask me why I did it — my twitter stream is my little world and I will follow and unfollow whoever I like. The same goes if I decide to block you. Just let it be.
3. Please don’t preach at me
I know you love Jesus. I love him too. But if I decide to say something or tweet about something that affronts your particular world view or brand of faith, please don’t preach online. It’s as rude as if you were doing it in person. Let’s save sermons for Sunday mornings. (I’m usually at the 8:30 service).
4. Talk with me, not at me
Twitter is about being in a conversation with someone. And it’s exactly like a real-life conversation. Don’t talk at me non-stop. Conversation means more than one person talking; otherwise it’s just a speech.
5. Don’t send out auto-DMs
An Auto-DM is when you’ve set up a message to thank them for following you once they click the follow button. Yes sure, it’s cute and sounds very nice — but it’s incredibly impersonal and that’s exactly the opposite of what Twitter is all about. So if you’re tempted to auto-DM, don’t.
6. Don’t retweet about yourself
It’s always nice when someone says something nice to or about you. Unfortunately you lose all credibility online if you go ahead and retweet the compliment. It makes you look shallow, self-important and just plain icky.
7. You’re more than just your job
We all have jobs. Many of us hate our jobs. There are even some who like their jobs. But please don’t tweet all day long about your job/boss/clients and how you love/hate/adore/ignore them. It quickly gets old and boring. You’re more than that. Show us twits what a lovely balanced person you are. (The same goes for those obsessed with Sports Clubs, Societies, Scouts, New Agies, Churchies, Political Organisations)
8. If you wouldn’t show your mother, don’t do it
Remember that whatever you tweet today will stay on the internet long after you die. Make sure that whatever you tweet accurately reflects how you want people to remember you. You may find that naked picture of your neighbour ironing her clothes funny, but others may not (if you’re not convinced, just read up on #jugcam) My general rule of thumb is this: If you wouldn’t want your dear sweet Mom or Grandmother to see the tweet, then you probably shouldn’t put it on Twitter.
9. Don’t steal tweets
Sometimes people say something nice or funny on Twitter. There may be other times you wish you had said it first. You may even convince yourself that you said it first and that by some cosmic freak your thoughts were telepathically stolen from you. Whatever you use to justify this to yourself, do not steal tweets. Claiming a tweet as your own is as much a crime on Twitter as plagiarising Harry Potter and telling everyone it was yours. If it’s something worth sharing with your timeline, retweet it.
10. Don’t moan and gripe
My pet-hate on twitter is the “moaners and groaners”. Yes, we all have bad days and there’s nothing wrong with telling people you’d rather crawl naked through a pit of scorpions than attend one more meeting with your boss (who incidentally may actually be following you on Twitter). But Twitter is my place to chill out, talk with friends (old and new) find out what’s news and have a good time. And yes, sometimes I need a virtual hug and cheering up. But if every single tweet of yours is a gripe or a moan or a complaint I’ll think you are either seeking attention or in serious need of therapy. Either way, you will be unfollowed.
Robert Frost once said “good fences make good neighbours” and as in real life, Twitter has rules that keep us functioning like a civilised society. It’s not a free-for-all and by taking a little time to observe the nuances online you’ll find that we really could become very good neighbours