Six basics of tweet etiquette on Twitter

Twitter is a community of people seeking knowledge. As in any other community, there are guidelines on how to communicate and treat others. Here are some basics related to appreciation, grammar, and information sharing to help you remember if you choose to acknowledge others or communicate with followers on Twitter.

Express gratitude

  • If others retweet (RT) something you tweeted, you should send thank you messages. Regardless of whether they write it as a new RT with a mention (@) of the account name or the built-in Twitter retweet option was used. The thank you message can be sent as a direct message (DM) only to your account. Or the thank you can be done as a mention using @ or the mention option in a new tweet that can be seen by all who follow.
  • If a general question is sent to followers, be sure to send a thank you via DM, mention, or answer choice for any helpful answers.

Do not be rude

  • If others mention your account, a thank you with the appropriate response and a reference to what was in the original tweet can be returned through a mention of your account. If the answer is not going to be positive, it is better to do it as a direct message so that rudeness does not spread through the Twitter sphere. Acknowledgment of a mention is good, but most Twitter users do not consider it mandatory.
  • Also, don’t be rude. Although it happens in most communities, curse words or symbols that indicate them and other obscenities are not pleasant, nor appreciated by most readers, and can even be confusing for some. Therefore, unless the desire is to unfollow or block, avoid doing this.

Gramatical rules

  • You only get 140 characters to share your message in a tweet. Therefore, most readers think it is okay to abbreviate words and use numbers or letters to replace whole words when necessary (Example 2 = for / also, 4 = for, w = with, not + = y). However, most prefer to be able to quickly understand what they are reading, so avoid doing this when the message fits under Twitter’s maximum character range.
  • Although some tweeters occasionally use text message formats, which is acceptable if the majority of your followers do the same and these people are the only target audience. It is preferable to complete sentences following standard grammar rules for clear communication with a large audience. Full text sentences are easy to read and understand. Not using proper grammar can give the impression that the sender cannot read and write.

Share good things

  • When you receive a great quote, a good link to an article, or other interesting information from a follower or other resources, feel free to share it with your followers via a retweet or custom tweet. Many blogs and online article sites have a button set up where you can instantly share a link to the article as a tweet if you are logged into a Twitter account.
  • If during a Twitter search for a particular hashtag (#) topic you come across a good piece of information, feel free to retweet it as well. Also, check out the original Tweeter by clicking on their account name to see if it features a lot of relevant information in case you want to follow them too.

No spam

  • Sharing is good, however, sending too many tweets can get you labeled as a spammer. There are some people who tweet every 1-2 minutes after a while, while others stop reading those tweets or choose to unfollow, block, or spam these multiple tweeters. So think about it before setting up one of those automatic senders to create tweets, hire someone to tweet on your behalf, or spend all your time on the phone or computer developing tweet material.
  • This does not mean that products, services or gifts should not be shared through Twitter. It just means not overdoing it. After all, most people like to learn about free offers and be the first to know about a new product or business. Many on Twitter will even be willing to try these things out and communicate their finding to followers through new tweets or retweets of the original text.

Process direct messages

  • If someone submits a question via DM, it’s polite to reply via DM, especially if you have something relevant to share. However, all DMs do not require a response as many are strictly “For your information” (FYI) to tell you more about the person who is following you recently.
  • If it is going to be a private conversation, use the TO option in the direct message window and not @ so that the information remains between two users and is not available to twitasphere.

These basics of showing gratitude, sharing information, responding, and using grammar should help make Twitter a better communication tool so that followers know what they might find interesting. Remember that Twitter is a community of people seeking knowledge, but not expecting information overload, as can happen when the proper etiquette is not used.