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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter Etiquette’

Updated AP Stylebook Adds Geolocation, Link Shortener, Unfollow And Other Twitter Terms

The Associated Press Stylebook, aka “the journalist’s bible”, have released their 2011 guide and have included some new social media terms, including Twitter-friendly words and phrases such as geolocation, stream, link Shortener and unfollow.

Other additions for 2011 are end user and geotagging.

The stylebook is a style and usage guide favoured by newspapers, reporters, broadcasters, magazines and public relations firms in the United States, but is also highly influential throughout the world.

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Think Drunk, Tweet Sober

Picture the scene.

You’ve been out for a meal with friends. Good food, plenty of drink, great company. You’ve had a wonderful time.

You go home and crack open a bottle of wine. A couple of glasses later you think of something really clever. Or profound. Or funny. Or revolutionary. Or life-changing.

I know, you think, let me share this with Twitter.

This, of course, is the worst thing you can do.

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10 Very Proper Tips For Perfect Twitter Netiquette

Debrett’s, the “modern authority on all matters etiquette, taste and achievement”, has joined forces with UK internet service provider Sky Broadband and published a digital decorum offering etiquette tips for Twitter and Facebook users.

Founded in 1769, Debrett’s (named after London-born publisher John Debrett) publishes a range of guides on traditional British etiquette and manners, which date back to the mid-1900s. In recent years they have attempted to modernise and expand their range to include definitive works on correct Etiquette For Girls, Modern Manners and a Guide For The Modern Gentlemen.

That’s right – it’s all very proper, and very British, don’t you know.

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On Twitter, Change Is Much, Much Better Than A Rest

I’ve been active on Twitter for over 3 years. As of the time of writing I am following exactly 400 people.

About 100 of these are folks have been with me since my very early days on the network. I consider them my core. Many of them are friends, born out of Twitter. Some, brought in.

The rest are made up of bloggers, tech and news feeds, individuals I respect and celebrities.

Over the past 36 months or so, the amount of people I have followed has fluctuated considerably (it used to be a lot more). I would estimate I’ve probably clicked the follow button for around 3,000 users. Or, to put it another way – I’ve clicked the unfollow button about 2,600 times. 87% of those connections didn’t work out, at least long term.
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Do You Know, Or Do You 'No'?

Nobody can tell you what to do. And for the record: that includes me.

My article yesterday triggered a lot of reaction. Mostly positive, but some people were upset and others reacted in a hostile manner.

The thing is, I’m not telling you what to do – I’m trying to help you not do the wrong things.

And yes: ‘wrong things’ is a relative term. And you may not care whether what your followers think about you on Twitter (several readers made that very clear). But for some people this stuff does matter (brands in particular), and they’re hurting themselves, and their prospects, when their behaviour isn’t optimal. Or at least consistent.

In all aspects of life there are better ways to perform specific functions. And there is nearly always a certain type of style or attitude that is more beneficial than another – or in some cases, everything else. It can never hurt to know these things. The information alone has tremendous value, as it then empowers you to make a decision. It’s fine if you decide you still don’t care, but there’s an important distinction between not caring and knowing, and not caring and being blissfully unaware.

5 Mistakes You’re (Still) Making On Twitter

Twitter comes with a fairly steep learning curve, and it can take a while for absolute newcomers to get to grips with what the platform is all about.

Indeed, the process of ‘getting Twitter’ is a thing and in and of itself. Some people understand the network before they even sign up. For others, it’s a lengthier journey, and one where they often turn to many social media gurus, looking for short fix, quick and easy answers.

This is a mistake. Ergo, further mistakes are made. Six months pass, and suddenly to other new users it’s YOU who is the ‘expert’. It’s you who has all the answers. And so the cycle repeats itself, ad infinitum.

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On Twitter, Be Nice. Until It’s Time To Not Be Nice

For the most part, Twitter is a friendly place. There’s something about the connecting process between two strangers on a social network that encourages both of them to act in a polite and civil manner.

(As an aside, this can often contrast quite sharply with how our so-called real friends behave.)

However, from time-to-time, often regardless of how well you conduct yourself, things are going to get ugly. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the better you get at doing it right, the more likely it is that you’ll start to develop a sub-following of critics and haters, all of whom will gladly go out of their way to tell you that you’re actually doing it wrong. At least, in their opinion.

For you, this is actually a positive. It means you matter. As Colin Powell once said:

“Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable if you’re honourable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity. You’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset.”

While it’s often true that haters are actually some of your biggest fans in disguise, a growing number of them will be unpleasant, often seemingly bitter people, arguing endlessly and clearly for the sake of it. It’s a trap, and no matter how hard you try, sometimes you’re going to get caught.

It’s these folks I want to address in this article, and in doing so I’d like to pay homage to the words of the great philosopher James Dalton, whose guidance seems very appropriate here.

When push comes to shove, you'll need to ask yourself - what would Dalton do?

When push comes to shove, you’ll need to ask yourself – what would Dalton do?

All you have to do is follow three simple rules. Read more

Lessons In Twitter Etiquette – Is It Okay To Remove Typos And Spelling Errors From Retweets?

This is potentially tricky. Particularly so for brands.

Somebody – let’s call them a potential customer – mentions your brand or product favourably on Twitter, either openly or in a linked review. You want to retweet to thank them, but there’s a problem – their tweet contains a stinker of a typographical error, and the Grammar Nazi purist in you can’t bring yourself to retweet without a little creative editing.

But is this the right thing to do?

Of course, if you’re using Twitter’s internal retweet system, you have absolutely no way to edit the tweet, and everything goes out entirely as is.

However, if you’re a little old-school, and like to use the original retweet method, then this does present a dilemma. And it’s not just for brands, either. Tons of great links on Twitter are accompanied by really lousy prose.

So, what’s the solution? What’s fair? It largely depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Some people don’t pay much attention to the quality of their prose, spelling and grammar, and likely wouldn’t notice (or care) if you made a minor correction to their tweet.

Others will notice, and might take offense. This could potentially hurt your relationship. After all, they’ve said something nice, but it seems that all you care about is that they used ‘there’ instead of ‘their’.

Others still care WAY too much about the quality of tweets, taking it to vigilante levels, and crazy as this might seem, if you don’t show an acceptable level of care in what you allow into your timeline you risk impacting those relationships, too.

Here’s my tip – if in doubt, it’s better to change everything than just one thing.

What I mean by that is if you want to retweet something and give the original poster the proper credit (as you should), but there’s a grammatical or spelling mistake in there that physically brings you pain, then

  1. Seek medical help, but first
  2. Rather than just fixing the one or two words they screwed up (thus risking an emotional retort), rewrite the entire headline copy from scratch and simply credit them as normal at the end of the message (perhaps with the via hat-tip, which is my personal preference)

People do this all the time, so nobody is going to object if they see you doing this. You’re still giving credit, and that great link is now getting more attention. However, if your only visible change is to remove an unnecessary apostrophe from it’s, you should be aware that, silly as it may well seem, the original poster might take offense. And perhaps with good reason.

PS. Almost without fail, the absurdity of a typographical error in a tweet is always directly proportional to how many times it has been retweeted before it is noticed. Happens often enough to me that they might as well call it Bennett’s Law. Still, it can’t hurt to try and make everything perfect.

It's Okay – You Don't Have To Agree With Us. (Just Don’t Be An Ass About It)

Everybody has an opinion.

This is a good thing. If we all agreed on all subjects, the world would be incredibly dull.

I share a lot of content on Twitter. Some of it is serious, some of it is funny, and some of it is good, old-fashioned weird. And while I’m not out to cause offense, I don’t shy away from sensitive issues, such as politics, religion and sex.

I don’t use Twitter for one-way broadcasting – I welcome and encourage your responses. I absolutely love it when somebody fires something back that actually makes me think about what I’ve just shared or said, and look at it from a completely different angle. Who doesn’t enjoy that?

Well, the unfortunate truth is… lots of people. Some folks evidently have a hard time with being exposed to a perspective or philosophy that differs from their own. In far too many of these cases, their immediate reaction is hostility. After which, my immediate reaction is to reach for the button marked ‘block’.

There’s a preferred way to share your opinion, and that’s politely. If I’ve been rude or obnoxious, then sure, go ahead and treat me the exact same way.

But if I’ve been good-natured and behaved in the manner to which you have become accustomed, then please respond in kind. And if you’re not familiar with the way I write or think, then take a moment to check out my timeline before leaping to assumptions.

After all, I might have been sharing a joke. Or I might have been deadly serious. But you’ll never know unless you do a little digging. And while I absolutely, positively don’t expect you to always agree with me, it would be nice if we could both agree to be civil.

When Is A Re-Tweet Not A Re-Tweet? When It’s Something I Never Actually Said

The re-tweet is one of the backbones of the Twitter system and it plays a significant part in making links, and the sites and articles that they lead to, go ‘viral’. The ripple effect of a message getting re-tweeted throughout the network is a beautiful thing to see, and if you’re the recipient of all that resulting traffic, a reason for some celebration.

However, you have to be careful. I’m not a subscriber to the notion that suggests it’s poor etiquette to alter the existing prose when doing a re-tweet, but I do think you have to make distinctions between what the original poster (OP) said, and anything you have added yourself.

On several occasions I’ve seen things that I’ve never actually said ‘re-tweeted’ in my name, simply because the re-tweeter changed all the words but left the RT @Sheamus part alone. Often this is an accident on their part, and it can end up with amusing consequences.

Or far more severe ones; like the @reply, you could do a lot of damage to a person’s reputation with a series of re-tweets if you intentionally set out to make an individual ‘say’ things that they never did. Not only does this bad information go out to everybody in your network but, perhaps ironically, thanks to further re-tweets, it has the potential to quickly spread to millions of people.

RT @KarlRove I was rooting for Obama all the way!

This is why I use and recommended the via tag over the RT. For me – and I accept this might be a personal view – the RT should, for the most part, be a literal re-posting of the original message. If you tamper with it, I think you need to do everything you can to ensure that your words are clearly separate from the OP’s. More often than not the RT @Username part comes first, right at the beginning of the message, and I think that the words that follow are seen by the majority as coming from that user.

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