Proper Twitter Etiquette

Before you tweet, understand there are do’s and don’ts in 140 characters or less. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips to make sure you tweet properly.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #192

Let’s make one thing clear – I love Twitter! And my followers on Twitter are fantastic! But not everyone is like me. I find there are two types of people: those who love Twitter and those who hate it. There is hardly a middle ground. And those who fall into the “love” category are quick to point out when one of the “others” do not follow proper Twitter etiquette.

Whether you are well versed, just getting started, or completely hate Twitter, you can’t deny that it’s a large part of the communications in today’s world. You can’t escape the fact that Twitter is here to stay (especially if they figure out how to monetize the darn thing). So knowing how to properly handle yourself on Twitter is a must for today’s internet users.

So before you crunch down your message to 140 characters or less (and retweet this article!), check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for proper Twitter etiquette:

Tip #1 – Know the Vernacular

I get that not everyone is a fan of Twitter, I do. I blame that mainly on the funky vernacular associated with it. From retweets, to Direct Messages (DMs), to “Why are you using the @ symbol?” to hashtags, Twitter has a certain language of its own that, if you open yourself up to it, is quite easy to follow. In fact, you don’t even have to have a million followers to understand that a tweet is a message and retweet is like forwarding your message to all your friends (in a nut shell). There are the two key features of Twitter, just to get you started. But if you are going to use Twitter, throwing around incorrect terminology is like ordering a Zima at a bar…or just buying Zima at all. It’s just something you don’t want to get caught doing.

For starters, if you want to really catch up on Twitter–speak, check out the Twitter Basics page that shows all the terms, what they mean, and how to use them properly. Do you have to memorize all of them? No way. But it’s still nice to know them so you can get by in a business conversation/meeting. Calling a tweet a “twit” or that you are “twitting” is like telling a fashion designer you are fan of “Lewis” Vuitton. You could hear the record skip.

After checking out the Basics page, talk to some friends, ask them how they use it, and see if they can help you learn the terms and how to use them better. It never hurts to learn another trick of the trade.

Tip #2 – Watch What You Post

I don’t think we need to point out all the details of “tweets gone bad”… but then again, it is kind of fun. From Anthony Weiner’s embarrassing photos that he sent over Twitter (yeah, that was a good idea!), to comedian Gilbert Gottfried’s improper tweet about the Tsunami victims, to random drunk tweets from every corner of the world – people keep forgetting that once something goes live on Twitter, it GOES LIVE! Yes, you can delete a tweet, but if someone already saw it (as was the case with Anthony Weiner, and a savvy journalist who picked it up) it stays on their feed, until they refresh or scroll away. So, the wise Twitter users usually take a screen shot of said tweet to use as ammo. In some cases it’s a good idea to let those who tweeted improperly suffer the consequences so they can’t run from their posting (yes, you Mr. Weiner). But in all cases, the best thing to do is to just watch what you send out into the Twittersphere.