Twitter 10 Commandments (Updated)

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Over the past few months, Twitter has experienced explosive growth, attracting celebrity users such as Oprah, and a growing mountain of media and blog coverage. However, many new users are falling foul of Twitter etiquette. In many cases, unfiltered tweeting could be dangerous to your Twitter health – you could end up losing your followers fast!

As such, Patricio Robles builds upon the original Twitter 10 Commandments with an updated list below:

  • Thou shalt not use DM autoresponders. More often than not, DM autoresponders are used poorly. Unless you have a good reason to use them and know what you’re doing, consider avoiding them altogether.
  • Thou shalt not beg for retweets. If your content is good, other Twitter users will retweet it. Asking "pls RT" makes you look desperate.
  • Thou shalt not autotweet. Unless your followers followed you to get automatic updates (eg. they know your account is tied to a content feed), autotweeting is usually a bad idea.
  • Thou shalt not tweet in bunches. You know the guy who always sends out a couple dozen tweets in rapid-fire succession? Don’t be that guy. Sending lots of tweets in a short period of time is just downright annoying.
  • Thou shalt not take your followers on a trip to hashtag hell. Hashtags can be extremely useful but they’re frequently abused by spammers, marketers and applications. So choose which ones you use wisely. Hint: hashtags relating to body parts, private matters, illegal activities and words you wouldn’t use in the presence of your grandparents are usually the ones to avoid.
  • Thou shalt not sex up your avatar. Everyone loves a pretty face but when it comes to your Twitter avatar, make sure that pretty face is your own. Using a photo of a beautiful woman or a studly man to attract attention is suitable only for the lowliest of spammers. And don’t forget to keep your clothes on; your rock-hard abs may be worthy of exhibition on the beach but you probably don’t need to show them off in Twitter’s public timeline.
  • Thou shalt not oversell. This is ‘social‘ media. Just as nobody likes the person who is constantly selling vaccuum cleaners at the cocktail party on Friday, nobody likes the person who is selling via tweet 24×7. So even if you’re using Twitter for business purposes, don’t go overboard with the pitches; providing value with your tweets will do more for your selling efforts than 140 characters of hard pitch.
  • Thou shalt not overfollow or autofollow. If you have 500 followers but are following 5,000 people, something is wrong. Some people have sophisticated beliefs regarding follower ratios; I don’t. But common sense is in order: there are plenty of reasons not to follow other users and you should only follow people who you find interesting. As it relates to autofollowing, if I told you I was jumping off a cliff, would you follow me over the edge? Hopefully not. Consider applying the same logic when it comes to who you follow on Twitter.
  • Thou shalt not sell out. Tweeting a message for a company for a chance to win a free laptop may be a good deal for the company but you’d probably ask for more if you were selling your soul and not your Twitter account. Even so, by tweeting marketing messages for compensation (or a chance at compensation), you send the message that you’re easily bought and sold. That’s probably not a message you want to send.
  • Thou shalt not tweet before thinking. You are what you tweet. So think twice before saying something dumb. From retweeting a fake news story to crudely voicing a opinion that makes you look like a jerk, there are plenty of ways you can put your foot in your mouth in 140 characters. So keep your shoes on and your feet on the ground by thinking before you hit ‘update‘.
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Author: Jas

Jas Dhaliwal is a highly experienced International Social Media Strategist. Currently working as AVG Technologies, Director of Communities and Online Engagement, he specialises in building and engaging with social communities across the web. Born and bred in London, he is passionate about technology and social anthropology. Prior to AVG, Jas launched the social media program for Microsoft’s MVP Award program. Jas holds a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems and has an MBA from Brunel University in London, England. You can follow Jas as @Jas on Twitter or on Google+

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