Twitter Etiquette

Twips and Twicks Twutorial

The social media maven, and brilliantly fast author @bethorne has composed a fantastic FAQ for Twitter. Take a look:

Twitter Etiquette – Twips and Twicks Twutorial

These are just some general guidelines for anyone who might be new to twitter. By all means, have as much fun as you want, but if you are at all confused about what might be considered bad form on twitter, or how to navigate it, this might help.

Unlocked vs Locked: If you want to interact with anyone who isn’t following you on twitter (celebrities, authors, etc), you need to be unlocked. Otherwise, the people to whom you are tweeting won’t see you. But keep in mind, that an unlocked account is google-able, and if you are saying anything that you don’t want your boss/SO/kid/mother-in-law/pastor to see, either watch what you say or lock it up.

Your feed: This is a scrolling stream of all the tweets from the people you follow on twitter. What you will NOT see are tweets from people you follow that are in reply to people you DON’T follow. In other words, you aren’t following my husband, so if I start a tweet with his user name like this: @MyHusband hey, I’m making brekkie for dindin … that won’t show up in your feed. Same thing if @writer_DG replies to someone you don’t follow. If she replies to someone you DO follow, you will see that. This also means that if you want ALL of your followers to see a tweet in their feed, but they may not be following the person you are talking to, you can put a . or a symbol or a word before their twitter handle so that it gets seen. But use that sparingly. The functionality that hides @replies from feeds is a courtesy; you don’t want to circumvent it regularly.

@Replies/Mentions: This alerts another user that you are talking to or about them. It invites them into your twitter conversation. It’s great! It’s how we get to interact with celebrities or other people who aren’t following us.

• Removing @mentions of users who aren’t interacting: It is good practice and twitter courteous to remove an @mention from a conversation if someone is not interacting. For example, if you mention @writer_DG in a tweet about the books, the show, a quote, etc. and three or four friends hit Reply All, she is getting a LOT of notifications. After the first several tweets go unnoticed or un-replied to by @writer_DG, it is best practice to remove her user name from your subsequent tweets. Take anyone who isn’t engaged in the conversation out. If you want to still talk about Sam or Diana, use the very smart #Heughan instead. A good rule of thumb for this is hashtag=talking ABOUT them and @mention=talking TO them.
• Replies/Convos: On most, if not all, twitter clients there is a little quote bubble by a tweet that will show you to what that tweet is replying. On most clients, it will show you the whole conversation. If someone tweets you something like “Yes I totally agree!!” and you haven’t tweeted anything in hours and have no idea what they are agreeing about, click that little conversation bubble. It will show you which tweet of yours they are replying to. Same if you see something interesting that Diana or Sam tweeted, but don’t know what they are answering. Click the bubble to see the convo. (Also, if YOU are replying to someone, it’s best to actually CLICK REPLY so that this functionality works. If you just start typing out a tweet to them in reply to something they said, they may not know to what you are referring. REPLY helps everyone.)

Hashtags/Trending Topics: This is a great way to see what is being said about a certain topic. Just search or click on the hashtag, and see what anyone talking about it has to say. You really can’t use these incorrectly, as they are also just a fun way to put little “asides” into your tweets. However, don’t abuse them by putting them in self-promoting tweets and spamming the feed.

• If you are trying to get a hashtag to TREND (get popular enough to be seen on the “Trending Topics” list) re-tweeting does not count toward the trend. You have to compose an original tweet with a hashtag.

Interacting with Celebrities: This is a tough topic, and is largely up to your own discretion. Would you go up to an actor while he’s having dinner in a restaurant and ask for a pic? Some of you would, some of you would never. The same goes for twitter etiquette when talking to celebs. Obviously Sam and Diana have been very gracious over the past couple of weeks. Remember that they can see what you write. So when other actors start being announced, be nice. A few guidelines:
Use your best judgement.
If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on twitter.
If they aren’t responding, don’t keep @mention-ing them.
If you get a reply, say thank you or reply back.
If you don’t get a reply, don’t throw a fit.

• Spam Campaigns: These are generally considered a no-no. Unless an entertainment outlet or a show host (Jimmy Fallon for instance will do this sometimes) ASKS for a particular #hashtag spam, they don’t want a hundred, or even a dozen, fans tweeting at them. It doesn’t usually have good repercussions. You could get blocked from that celebrity altogether, or they might begin to DISLIKE your actor/show/movie/cause/fandom BECAUSE of the spam. ENews asked for #HottieOfTheWeek, so that was great. But don’t go on crusades of your own devising. They backfire, and are not generally appreciated by the celebrities they are aimed at or in support of.

Twitter Clients: If you have a smart phone, get the twitter app, or another twitter client so you can tweet anywhere. My favorite is Echofon Pro. I also use Hootsuite to manage my dozen or so professional accounts. Tweetdeck is another popular one. You can also download twitter clients to your desktops. They are much easier to navigate than twitter web. Again, I use and LOVE Echofon for Mac.

Retweets/RT: Y’all get this one right? You hit RT and everyone following you sees the tweet from whomever you are RTing. If they already follow that person, they don’t see a RT. You can REPLY with a RT by clicking “RT with Comment” (this function is not available on twitter web, but is on most clients).

Follow Friday/#FF: Follow Friday is just a nice way to help your followers find other like-minded tweeters. Use the hashtag #FF. It’s also best practice to say WHY they need to follow them, like “follow these funny ladies” or “#FF these Outlander fans.” Follow Friday has kind of gone out of vogue lately, but since so much of the Outlander community is new to twitter, it might be nice to do for a little while. Using the #OutlanderFans or #Heughligans hashtag is a nice help as well. I almost always use #JAMMF when I’m talking about Outlander.

Direct Messages (DMs): This is a private message between you and another user. You cannot send DMs to someone who is not following you. So don’t try and then get upset that Sam didn’t reply. He didn’t see it. One good thing about DMs: you can get notifications for DMs and respond to them just as easily as regular tweets, so if you and a twitter buddy get to talking about something that you don’t want to show up in everyone’s feeds, you can take it to DM without a problem.

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