I don't tend to say much on the subject of Twitter. I also don't tend to say that much on Twitter itself. That said, I do spend a lot of time on the Internet so here are some things you should stop doing now. Like, right now. Call it ‘Social media bad practice’ if you will, or ‘Tips and Tricks for a Tidier Tweet’ if that's the kind of thing you're into. Whatever, stop doing these:
Autotweeting from 3rd party apps
When you use one of the many apps that track your weight, book-reading habits, location, tweetability or shoe-size, disable the 'post to Twitter?' option, please. When I see these posts, all I read is either:
“According to amIanEejit.com, I'm an Eejit. Are you? Try it now.”
“I need public validation. Did I do good? Did I?”
Tweeting a shortened URL which performs an action on the logged-in user's account
Of course, fault for this should also be spread equally between the tweeter, the website which allows GET operations to modify data and the user who isn't wary enough of shortened URLs to expand them first. The person who creates the shortened URL without being aware of the consequences is to blame and an eejit. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's an example:
- You have an account on website X which you are logged into
- I have an account on website X which I am logged into
- Website X allows you to delete your account by going to www.example.com/deletemyaccount.php
- You copy that URL and shorten it using bit.ly
- You tweet “Hey, this is what I think of Website X: http://bit.ly/madeupthing”
- I click the link
- My account on Website X gets deleted
- I stab you with pencils.
Using inappropriate hashtags to piggy-back on an unrelated discussion
Some people use #hashtags as tweet meta data providing an extra piece of context on the tweet – “Om nom nom #fridaymorningbaconroll” – while others use them to create fluid, transient chatrooms. Where in the past you'd have used IRC and created a relevant room, using Twitter and a hashtag, you can jump into a conversation and out again without even trying. If you attempt to barge your way in with irrelevant comments, advertising nonsense or general eejicy, you act no better than an out-and-out-spammer and I don't follow no spammers.
Flooding followers with real-time reporting
Use a separate account for this kind of thing. Macrumors do this whenever there's one of those big Steve Jobs parties – if you want to follow all the info, follow the @macrumorslive account. Similarly, Fridaymix do the same thing. Discussions happen with the @fridaymix account while the announcements of what is currently being played come from @fridaymixdj.
Related: Retweeting your other account.
If I wanted to follow the other account, I'd follow the other account.
Also related: Retweeting your own main account
I heard you. Don't be the guy at the party with one punchilne that you tell again and again. I already know that guy. I don't follow him on Twitter.
Posting quotes from conference presentations without context or grammar
This doubly applies if the quote sounds like a half-hearted Zen koan.
“Listen to the youth. They have younger voices.”
“Use torches to light the way. Technology is your torch.”
This triply applies if you use antimetabole
“Don't follow the herd, herd the followers.”
“Don't live beyond means, have meaning beyond living.”
Of course, the worst is probably tweeting about your own blog post in which you discuss tweeting as if it actually matters.