Twitter Etiquette

With the explosion in popularity that Twitter has received, especially with the massive usage at SXSW, it has become very clear that some facets of twitter are beginning to annoy people. For the benefit of all twitter users, I have made a list of rules for Twitter usage.

  1. Conversations that require more more than two @ replies should be moved over to a direct message. People not involved in the conversation don’t want to be spammed with conversation that should either take place at the water cooler or in private. I don’t care if you are trying to decide on a place for lunch with your twitter friend. If it doesn’t involve a large number of your twitter followers, don’t fill our twitter feed with your discussions.
  2. If you are going to Twitter events, do it on an alternate account. For the sake of the sanity of those not at the event such as SXSW, we don’t need to be made jealous by your twittering of every person you run into or panel you listen to. Use a second account that your followers can follow if they want to know every detail about your event experience.
  3. You should not twitter more than once every 15 min unless it is in reply to another twitter user. Certainly there are situations that make for an exception to this rule, but generally speaking, especially those people that are alerted via text message, get annoyed with constant twitters from a single person. It can also be very costly to those that get message via text message. I have stopped following several people for excessive twitter usage. You should never twitter more than 30 times in a day unless you want to lose followers.
  4. Do not follow massive amounts of random Twitter users for no reason. I have had many random people follow me that only a handful of people follow, yet they follow thousands of people. You cannot keep up with all of those people and are generally seen as a spammer hoping people will follow them so they can promote their projects. As a personal rule, there is no way I will follow you if you follow more than a thousand people than follow you.
  5. Automated Twitter messages should be done on a second account. I have noticed this problem primarily with Twitter users that use their account to announce things like when they are broadcasting on sites like If you are going to enable such an automated Twitter messaging feature, use a second account for it so that if you have a bad connection and are constantly coming on and off, people don’t get spammed with messages they don’t want. Much like having a second account for Twittering about events, the same goes for automated Twitter messages.
  6. Don’t post the same thing to multiple services. If you are going to have accounts for all the different services like Utterz and Pownce, post unique messages to each service. Don’t post the same thing to all of the services. Nobody wants to receive the same message multiple times because they follow you on multiple services. Decide what you want to post to what service and stick with it. Don’t post a single message to multiple services.
  7. If you have many projects that you want to plug updates on Twitter, make dedicated accounts for each project. I admit to breaking this rule, but if you have a project that you post every change you make, or have multiple projects that have regular changes, they should have their own, dedicated accounts. It is always a good idea to keep business and personal things separate. Not only will this keep from annoying your current followers, but it will also allow people interested in your projects to stay up to date without getting messages about every aspect of your life.

If you want to keep your followers happy and grow in Twitter popularity, I highly recommend following these rules. These are the rules that I have come up with that seem to address the worst problems I find on Twitter. If you have more to add to the list or have an issue with my rules, please post your opinion in the comments. While I choose twitter, many of these rules apply for the other services such as Pownce or Utterz.

There are now even more Twitter Etiquette rules!  Check out Twitter Etiquette Part 2!



, ,



65 responses to “Twitter Etiquette”

  1. Caleb Chang Avatar
    Caleb Chang

    Sorry for being the spelling police: Twitter “Etiquette”

  2. Aaron Brazell Avatar

    Well… you could just get off Twitter. What you describe above is how it is used, like it or leave it. I for one am not changing for you. Plus, the value of Twitter is exactly in what you don’t like. Stuff your pipe and smoke it, dude.


    Point #5 is valid, however.

  3. aka_monty Avatar

    Really? So, those are the rules? And we’re all five years old and NEED rules for giant chat room?
    Apparently the people we choose to follow and who follow us are VASTLY different – my friends LIKE to jump in on @conversations, we like to start with a couple of @s and then add more as people weigh in with opinions and thoughts and funny remarks.
    Part of the twitter beauty is that we can all use it how it suits each of us best, so that each of us gets the most out of twitter that we can.

    But RULES? Are you trying to get people to pick on you on purpose?
    Besides, the rules YOU put down are simply YOUR opinions, not etiquette. Buy a dictionary.
    And frankly maybe your “rules” work for you, but for me & those who think like me? Your points are full of suck.

    I’d agree with Aaron Brazell, #5 is the only valid point. Nobody likes a bot or an auto-response.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have several very entertaining conversations to which I must return.

  4. pcnerd37 Avatar

    If you guys think I just came up with these off of the top of my head, you are wrong. With the exception of #6, all of the other “rules” come from feedback given by fellow twitter users.

    I have been hearing many complaints about these things for months and so I decided to compile them in a list.

    Much like email, forums, chatrooms, phones, text messages and such, the experience for most people is improved when most people follow some form of etiquette.

    I realize people use Twitter in different ways, but that doesn’t mean their should not be some sort of protocol of common courtesy for twitter users.

  5. orchid8 Avatar


  6. clockworkange Avatar

    You are missing a big piece to all of this. There are no moderators on Twitter for a reason. Twitter is not your every day chat room, nor is it a full-out blog. It’s a whole new thing entirely. The @s could get annoying to those who chose not to be bothered by the SOCIAL aspect of this social media application. If you are strickly using this for work purposes or to have a little clique of friends, then protect your updates and dont’ follow anyone.

    The beauty of Twitter is that it is what it is, simple. It has to stay simple, maybe little changes here and there as the DEVELOPERS see fit. The simplicity can seem awkward to those who are so used to the more complex social networks.

    Just try to relax a bit. DM someone that is driving you nuts with @s, or is making you feel jealous… direct communication is more productive than a passive aggressive blog of etiquette.

  7. Applepie Avatar

    Wow, lots of good debate going on here.

    Here is my two cents on the topic-

    15 min intervals – please try spacing out your twitters. over twittering fills up the timeline and also puts extra strain on the twitter servers. do you really like those crashes, sms disappears, or 5 sec page load times? Being a free service, twitter can only afford so much server power.

    @ convos – i do like open debates on twitter, but if two users are chatting away on a topic i have no place in, please use DM.

    I don’t think pcnerd meant this list of rules as being enforced by the twitter staff. Its more like a “personal” rules list on using twitter.

    @Aaron – “Stuff your pipe and smoke it, dude.

    Keep your comments logical and mature. No one will take you seriously or debate with you if you resort to flaming.

  8. shylie743 Avatar

    I have to agree with akaMonty and clockworkange. I think that really those that complain about others using twitter too much are really the ones not using twitter correctly. Twitter has settings that you can use to eliminate everything you’re complaining about. If you don’t want to see others @ conversations, change your settings. If someone really starts to annoy you. Stop following them. Problem solved.

    What’s this crap about jealousy?! You’re missing out on an event. So, what? Get over it and grow up. Why can others not be excited about something and want to share? Why not be happy your “friends” are having a good time?

    Getting as many followers as possible and keeping them is not why I’m on twitter. Everyone has their own twitter style. I for one am not going to change the way I twitter just to make others happy.

  9. PhilHawksworth Avatar

    It sounds like many of the suggestions presented in the Twitter 10 commandments might be of interest here.

  10. Justin Kownacki Avatar

    *Sniff sniff*

    Smells like… Link bait…

  11. vicequeenmaria Avatar

    You forgot the annoying redundant re-tweet. (Re-tweeting to essentially the same group of people that were twitted with the original message in the first place.)

  12. Jon Burg Avatar

    You might be better off calling these – suggestions for maximizing the value of your Twitter experience rather of etiquette.

    I was going to write a similar post a few weeks back. Then was going to create a wiki type post. Eventually, I settled for discussing high level overviews of conduct rather than tactical, real-world tips.

    I think my key learning (based on comments and feedback on the post) was tat Twitter is many things to many people. Everyone is going to use it in the manner that they see fit. If you, or anyone else believes that someone is abusing Twitter of polluting the expereince, just unfollow them.

  13. Jeff the Great Avatar

    Not sure what the fuss is all about? These are all great suggestions.

    The complaints in your comments are obviously offenders of your suggestions!

  14. Sarah Atwood Avatar

    Hey, you know you can unfollow people right? And you can also turn off sms notifications of the twitterers that twit more often than you would like. It really doesn’t make sense to me to have all these multiple accounts that you are suggesting.

  15. […] on Global Geek News, Jeremy “pcnerd37″ Bray has written a post called “Twitter Etiquette” and a follow up unexpectedly called “Twitter Etiquette Part 2.” While the first […]

  16. Tonka Avatar

    You use it how you want. I’ll use it how I want. If people want to stop following me, sayonara. If not, the more the merrier.

  17. db Avatar

    You need a diaper change.

  18. Mnemonic Device Avatar
    Mnemonic Device

    Maybe Twitter isn’t for you? Or maybe you’re following the wrong people? I was sent a link to this post by a few other people I follow who couldn’t believe the “Twitter Police” attitude of your post, and your strange self-righteous tone. Please go find something constructive to do with your time.

  19. Steven Fisher Avatar

    1. I’m pretty sure you can filter out @ messages. I admit I don’t do it; I find it a neat way to meet clever people. If it works, use it. If it doesn’t, complain about it to Twitter or use client software.
    2. There’s client software available that will filter out strings. Use it or stop following people who are at events. Me, I’m interested.
    3. Feel free to stop following people who tweet too often, or just turn off notification. I like frequent tweets; I’ll tweet ten times in an hour and then not at all over the next three.
    4. Totally agree here. In fact, this is the solution to your first three issues.
    5. Totally agree here, although it largely depends on the volume of messages.
    6. What you’re doing is global, and so your updates should be global. If you don’t like this, make sure you only follow a single service.
    7. I’m assuming you mean automated posting; totally agree here.

    Why not follow people you like, tweet the way you want to, and stop trying to police others?

  20. misfitduck Avatar

    hahaahahahahaha if you don’t like the conversations, then stop following those people. geeez. There is always someone trying to tell others what they can and can’t do.

  21. joe mieczkowski Avatar
    joe mieczkowski

    or…you could just stop following whoever it is seems to upset you enough to write a whole article about them. twitter is what it is to each person who uses it. that’s the beauty of it. the best part is that if you don’t agree or like what your reading, you can just stop following. people need to remember that they can change the channel in life a lot easier then they think.

  22. Brian Avatar

    Dear Jeremy:

    With all due respect (though that doesn’t seem like much)…*bite me*. Twitter doesn’t belong to you or the chuckleheads you get your feedback from. If you don’t like the twittering habits of certain people, there’s a very simple solution…*stop following them*.

    It’s not a popularity contest.

  23. […] Twitter Etiquette | Global Geek News Blog – "it has become clear that some facets of twitter are beginning to annoy people. For the benefit of all twitterers, I have a list of rules for Twitter usage." Not as much as his post appears to have annoyed. I think the automated post thing is right tho'. […]

  24. Electrasteph Avatar

    Feel free not to follow me; I break almost all your “rules” and will continue to do so.

  25. macross Avatar

    Wow! you must be an absolute delight at parties.

  26. kodi Avatar

    You seem to see an intrinsic value to “following” apart from “receiving the updates posted by a user.” What, pray tell, is that intrinsic value?

  27. scott Avatar

    I’ll use Twitter the way I please. If you want to make the rules, build your own networking site. Sheesh. Some people.

  28. Carla Avatar

    To quote my own Twitter message, written yesterday:

    “Don’t use Twitter to ___. Haven’t seen so many declarations about how you should/n’t use an online service since the early days of LJ.”


  29. Rules for Using Twitter | Sui Generis

    […] you, feel free to drop me a line.Jeremy from Global Geek News recently posted his guide to “Twitter Etiquette“. It’s basically a list of supposed rules/guidelines on what shouldn’t be done on […]

  30. danielthepoet Avatar

    If you were looking for attention, dude, you sure have it. Hope you make good use of the traffic because right now, my tweeps aren’t real fond of your post.

  31. […] what happens next? Like most newly formed societies, self proclaimed law makers came out of the wood work. And, interestingly, two things […]

  32. gilbert Avatar

    Seriously, what is wrong with you?

  33. MIchael VanDeMar Avatar


    Keep your comments logical and mature. No one will take you seriously or debate with you if you resort to flaming

    Riiiight… because running on to a public playground and making up rules that you feel all the other kids should play by is sooo mature.

    I feel I need to second Brian’s *bite me* here. If you want to highlight annoying behavior, and slam certain people by name for doing it, then by all means, do so. But coming up with a list of rules you expect them to abide by, just because you chose to follow those people in the first place?


  34. GeekMommy Avatar

    You know, you’ve become part of a conversation here – but not the positive part.

    When I posted 10 Reasons I Don’t Follow You on Twitter it was kind of understood that these were *my* standards – not standards I was advocating anyone else use.

    Twitter is used different ways by different people. It is one thing to say “here’s how I do things, and if you choose to do elsewise, I will likely not interact with you” and “you should do this.”

    You unfortunately took the latter route, and I’m afraid that is what has so many annoyed by your post rather than responding to it positively.

    I won’t say bite me – I only posted to let you know why it is that so many are reacting so poorly to what you see as rational suggestions.
    They may be rational behaviors and those you find acceptable, but they don’t work for everyone – and no one likes self-appointed traffic cops.

    As long as we have the option to follow or not follow people there’s no reason to create rules anyone else must follow.

    To quote the wise and inimitable @shelisrael – “I don’t tell people how to behave. I think I should tell them how I will disengage if they choose to behave a certain way.”

  35. » Blog Archive » New Media Malaise

    […] night I was linked to a post by Jeremy Bray, aka “pcnerd37” on Global Geek News Blog entitled “Twitter Etiquette,” and it’s successor, “Twitter Etiquette Part 2.” For whatever reason, Bray decided […]

  36. Lunza Avatar


  37. […] Twitter Etiquette | Global Geek News Blog Oops! “For the sake of the sanity of those not at the event such as SXSW, we don’t need to be made jealous by your twittering of every person you run into or panel you listen to.” (via (tags: twitter,) […]

  38. lolagrrl Avatar

    Are you sure this isn’t an article for “The Onion” that was just horribly misplaced??
    I mean, if you reread it in that context, it’s actually quite funny!

    Sheesh… and I always thought that when someone says Twitter RULES, it was supposed to be meant as a compliment.

  39. […] Twitter Etiquette | Global Geek News Blog Einige wertvolle Tipps (ok: das mit dem zweiten Account für Konferenzberichte sollte ich nächstes Mal auch machen….) (tags: twitter howto) […]

  40. […] GlobalGeekNews: Twitter etiquette. GGN is SO wrong! @shelisrael – “I don’t tell people how to behave. I think I should tell them how I will disengage if they choose to behave a certain way.” GGN got it VERY wrong! Read the comments to see why (tags: culture howto socialmedia twitter work newmedia etiquette) […]

  41. Copyrighting Stupidity…

    The level of stupidity on the internet knows no bounds, but occasionally there are individuals that descend below even the typical train wreck mentality of the average internet user. And they usually start a blog.Eventually the worst of the stupidity …

  42. Koka Sexton » Lead Story » Everything you ever need to know about Twitter

    […] of etiquette that you should follow. This has been talked about on several websites like MWGblog, Global Geek News Blog, and WebProNews. You could always Google Twitter etiquette and see more. The top 3 I will mention […]

  43. Sam Jones Avatar

    Most of these are good but number 6 is totally wrong.

    Yes it’s a user’s responsibility to know what services are feeding other services (e.g. twitter tweets going to facebook) so people aren’t being overwhelmed with the same message multiple times on the same service.

    And it’s as important to think about the services’ audience (e.g. facebook is for my friends, twitter is for my internet people, delicious is mostly for myself). But to say it’s a bad idea to submit the same thing to multiple services is just silly. The whole point of applications like Mahalo Share is to speed this process up. It’s very rare that I’m going to want to twitter a link or delicious a link and not also want stumble that link.

    Over simplifying rules like this is a bad idea.

  44. 25 Twitter Tips for College Students | Global Geek News Blog

    […] Twitter Tips for College Students.” While I will say that some of these don’t follow my Twitter Etiquette or Twitter Etiquette 2 posts, some of them are great ideas that any college student can find […]

  45. Demanding a Higher Standard of Service from Twitter | Global Geek News Blog

    […] being flamed, I decided its time to do another Twitter post.  No, this is not another part of my Twitter Etiquette posts.  This post is about why we put up with the horrible service on Twitter and how we need to […]

  46. […] opinion on what makes the most sense.  I usually only “follow” people who use the same tweet etiquette I […]

  47. […] being the research fiend I am, I looked it up today, and yes, there is — believe it — a guideline of Twitter etiquette. With a second […]

  48. Matthew Avatar

    here’s a hint…if you don’t want certain people’s tweets to text directly to your phone…twitter allows you to turn “send tweets to phone” off for that person. no need to write rules.

    bible is right. letter of the law kills. thanks for killing me.

  49. The PlayStation Network Terms of Service: Revisited! | Global Geek News Blog

    […] post as it is now the third most viewed post on the Global Geek News Blog behind the Twitter Etiquette and Twitter Etiquette 2 posts.  OK, here we […]

  50. 876 Avatar

    Who died and made you king..?

  51. Twitter Etiquette Part 2! | Global Geek News Blog

    […] have been surprised by the reaction I have received in last post about Twitter Etiquette.  I expected to get flamed, but not quite like I did.  I have decided to write a second post in […]

  52. Web Conversation Etiquette and Direct Messages « im.seeking.balance

    […] read a number of blogs about twitter etiquette – including ones that seem to have missed the mark, perhaps (judging by the comment backlash) – the twitter 10 commandments (though I disagree with #9 – please […]

  53. Twitter 101 | Socially Searchable

    […] of etiquette that you should follow. This has been talked about on several websites like MWGblog, Global Geek News Blog, and WebProNews. You could always Google Twitter etiquette and see more. The top 3 I will mention […]

  54. […] I found this great article about Twitter etiquette.  And I like this one even better. […]

  55. Dourgrim Avatar

    Wow, there are a LOT of easily offended Twitterers that read this page. One has to wonder how they all got here, unless they were searching for “Twitter Etiquette,” which is how I got here.

    Relax, everyone. Freedom of speech means that the dude who wrote these “rules” has as much of a right to share the boundaries he wishes everyone would follow as you do to ignore those boundaries. Why troll? Read, absorb whatever information you believe to be valid, ignore the rest, and move on with your lives. Personally, I think he’s got some valid points in there, but I don’t think he’s personally telling ME how to use Twitter, nor do I believe that was his intent. His (probably unintentional) misuse of the word “rules” (“suggestions” would’ve been a much better choice of words here) doesn’t necessarily mean he thinks his way of Twittering is the only way… he has compiled information and opinions from people he’s come into contact with and posted it, just like nearly everyone else on the internet does. Big deal.

    Oh, wait… unless, that is, YOU are the ones trying to tell HIM that what YOU do is the only “right way” to do things. Of course, that couldn’t possibly be the case, right? I mean, that would be hypocrisy of the highest order, now wouldn’t it?


  56. Shanky Baba Avatar

    My list of Twitter (N)etiquette are : 7 Essential Twitter Netiquettes [ ].

    Let me know what you think about it.

  57. Sierra Skye Avatar
    Sierra Skye

    I read your blog in a regular manner, and I really like your way of writing
    Please keep going, smile
    your sierra

  58. asweetp Avatar

    I agree and I disagree with this post. If people would learn to manage their SMS texts that they get from Twitter, then they would be less annoyed by repeat text when someone is on a tweet-roll.

    I use the sleep feature on Twitter and turn my ringtone to vibrate for all my SMS text messages. Also, no one should be using the SMS feature if they do not have an unlimited texting plan.

    If you do get annoyed by multiple SMS, then turn off device updates for the offender and just visit them when you are on the web. I have a couple that I follow that I like their tweets, but they do it more than I have time to read SMS. I still follow as I feel they have something valuable to say just not with SMS updates. Most of the people I follow that I receive SMS from are ones that I know personally and maybe that’s what the “offended” should do with their accounts.

    That being said, I do agree that if someone is in @ convo mode with another, they need to take it direct if they go more than 2 @s.

    Oh, I will admit to the occaisional tweet-roll; however, I do not tweet that way on a daily or even weekly basis. So I don’t feel like I need a slap on the wrist by the Manners Police.

  59. radiochique Avatar

    Thanks for posting. I find this info very helpful. Would like to know your etiquette perspective on trade News tweets – I send out our news via Twitter each day – thought? Thanks for you time! RC

  60. Mrs4444 Avatar

    This was very helpful. Thanks!

  61. Mrs4444 Avatar

    P.S. As a brand new visitor to your site, I would just like to suggest that you have your name somewhere on the homepage (since I’m referencing your post in one of my future posts and would like to know it but am too lazy to dig for it! 🙂

  62. Mrs4444 Avatar

    Oops! Sorry, Jeremy! (found your name, obviously)

  63. 23 Etiket Menggunakan Twitter | Journeme

    […] and Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide Christopher Null, Top Twitter Etiquette Tips Jeremy Bray, Twitter Etiquette Margaret Mason, The Thoughtful User Guide: Writing My Twitter Etiquette Article: 14 Ways to Use […]

  64. […] a community, you will need to respect general twitter etiquette. There is a really good article on twitiquette on Global Geek News. Just like anyplace on the internet, it is important to remember that what you type is public, even […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.