I 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 response to the reaction I have received from the first post. I also have some new rules that were brought to my attention after the original post. Before I introduce the additions to my list of rule for proper Twitter etiquette, I shall respond to some of the comments I received over the last story.
Before I respond to specific issues, my “rules” are not something enforceable and are not intended to be. They are for the benefit of the Twitter users and in hopes of keeping the Twitter service stable. Twitter doesn’t need any help to crash, excessive usage doesn’t do them any favors. That said, it seems that many people do not understand what Twitter is.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service, NOT a chat room or instant messenger. If you want to have large discussions, use an IRC chat, not massive @ usage. People who don’t care about your @ conversation don’t want their feed spammed with your conversation because you are too inconsiderate to move to an actual chat room.
I have had a number of people suggest that I stop following people that I had these issues with. I don’t like doing that because occasionally these people Twitter something I find valuable. In the months that I have used Twitter, I have followed probably 50 different people. I stopped following four of the top users that I was following and it cut the tweets I receive by probably 75%. While I won’t name names, but it is people like them that flood everybody’s Twitter feeds which ruin the experience for their fellow users. I don’t like to stop following people, but if you have an unhealthy obsession with Twitter that creates a less enjoyable user experience for me, I will stop following you. The purpose of my list is so that people don’t create a less enjoyable experience for others.
The final point I want to address that I have received some feedback on is my thought of multiple accounts. While nobody seems to disagree with my idea of moving automated posts to a second account, many people don’t seem to understand my idea of having different accounts for different purposes. The purpose of having multiple accounts is that followers may care about some things you post, but not everything. By having an account for multiple things, you can have happy followers that care about that particular topic but don’t want to be inundated with messages that you post about other topics. I will give you an example. Say somebody hosts a large number of podcasts or blogs about several different topics. If I enjoy some podcasts or blogs but don’t care about others, I don’t want updates about the stuff I don’t care about. Having to sort through the posts I don’t care about to get to those that I do is both inconvenient and frustrating from a user experience standpoint. Having choices is always better than being forced to take everything.
Now that my response to reader comments is over, I want to introduce a couple of new rules for proper Twitter etiquette.
- Messages should not be split up over multiple Twitter posts. There is a reason you only have 140 characters to post in. Like I mentioned earlier, Twitter is a micro-blogging service. If what you have to post about takes more than one post, it should be posted in a blog.
- Twitter is not a chat room. If you are having large conversations that involve multiple users, move it into an actual chat room. There is a reason that IRC has been used for many years and is still very popular. It is far better for a conversation than filling up peoples feed with @ messages about whatever you are discussing.
- Posting the exact same message multiple times should be avoided at all costs. If you are unsure that a message went through, check your feed before you post the same thing over again. Nobody likes to be flooded with identical posts, especially if its something they don’t care about.
I have no plans to write a third blog post on this topic unless I see it necessary as I have other topics I would like to write about. If I feel the need to respond to a comment, I will do so in the comments section. Before you post a comment, keep in mind that my list is to improve the user experience of the twitter users, not attack your personal usage habits.