Just because you have a huge following doesn’t mean you aren’t a total jerk. Here’s why.
Few have mastered the world of micro-blogging, especially on Twitter, where your 140-character update could make you a star or completely solidify you as the biggest twerp on the Internet. In fact, Twitter etiquette extends far beyond what you say. It’s about how you say it and how you conduct yourself with others. If you’ve no desire to have any following other than your parents and a couple of friends who think you’re funny when you drunk-Tweet, then be sure to follow the following (very bad) advice.
1) Follow Everyone Seriously, start clicking that “Follow” button on every Twitter account you encounter. Your follower count will swell because many people have a “you follow me, I follow you policy.” When the number you follow far outstrips those following you, it brands you instantly as not worth following, and even more likely, a Tweet-spammer. But what do you care? Look at those numbers!
2) Never Update Why bother even writing anything? If your numbers are way up, you can consider yourself a “success” on Twitter without posting, ever.
3) Tweet Constantly You’re easily as interesting as director Kevin “Clerks” Smith, right? So why not use Twitter as your soapbox for 10 or 20 posts per hour? Go ahead, your narcissistic addiction to being the center of attention will hardly be noticed.
4) Hash Up Some Tags Hashtags are terms starting with the hash sign (#) that indicate an “emergent phenomena” that Twitter users have an interest in. The tags are tracked in real-time by Twitter, Google, and some others, so you can see what’s…emerging. Make up your own, and don’t worry about if they’ve ever been used before by checking at Twitterfall. The longer the better; try to use as much of the 140 characters as you can in that single hashtag—people think that’s hilarious! An example: “My butt hurts #arentyougladIdidnttellyouwhymybutthurtsItsahemorrhoid”
5) Repeat Everything If you’ve got a Facebook account, you may as well give it the least amount of attention possible. Set up all your tweets to go directly to that network, too, using Facebook’s Selective Tweet Status app. Add the #fb hashtag to each tweet, and voila. Your friends on both services won’t mind, because they’re either so devoted to your cleverness they want to read it twice, or they’re too stupid to figure it out.
6) Skip the Profile Seriously, why would you want to tell anyone what you do or care about, or show them what you look like, or provide a convenient link back to even more information about you? Let people wonder, and maybe that mystery will be all the incentive they need to sign on as a tried and true follower.
7) Gussy Up the Background You can personalize the image behind your Twitter page. What you should do is create a large image with the left hand side filled with so much dense information (all the stuff you left out of your profile, and more) that it could serve as a Wikipedia entry about you. Since that image isn’t clickable, the links in it will be worthless, but at least people can re-type them. For that matter, why not put your own advertisement on it? Try a service like MyTweetSpace to create one.
8) Keep Weird Hours If you’ve got lots to say at 3am, tweet it loud and proud. Not only will the vast majority of your potential readers miss it, but the followers that do care enough about your posts to get them as text messages will get a lovely wakeup call.
9) Friday Following
Ever seen the #ff hashtag? That’s to indicate “Follow Friday,” a hallowed tradition where you suggested to your followers other cool people they could be following. It works best when you fill the tweet with so many @ names they can’t be easily understood. And skip explanation of why the person might be remotely interesting. Your word is good enough.
10) Make a Begathon
Whenever you get close to a nice round number of followers, you should immediately start tweeting about it and pleading with those who already follow you to hype you feed to friends via retweets.
11) Provide Shorter Linkage
Everyone likes to have links in tweets. You can provide your followers with plenty to click on, but be sure to leave off the HTTP:// part of any URL (that’s 7 whole characters saved!). So what if it doesn’t work and they have to cut and paste it? Oh, and never say anything about where the link leads. Everyone likes surprises.
12) Forget Time Zones
Ever felt the need to live tweet about something you’re watching on TV? It could be the biggest game of the year, or maybe the Oscars, or the season finale to everyone’s favorite show. If so, you should definitely post every reaction you have, in detail, and never use the term “SPOILER” when you do. The people on the time delay will appreciate the preview. No one likes surprises.
13) Pitch Some Sales
It has been said that some people want to get information on Twitter, or gain unique and interesting glances into the lives of those they follow. Nonsense. They want you to pitch them. Sell, sell, sell. Throw in lots of self-serving links. This is a captive audience who you have to assume adores you, so you should take advantage of them in every way you can conceive of.
14) Make Simple @ Mention
If someone asks you a question, and you decide to do a mention (where you put their @address in the body of the tweet, so all of your followers see it) rather than a reply (where the @address is up front, so it only goes to that person and your mutual followers), make sure to keep answers terse. Just write “Yes I do @address” rather than explain what the hell you would do. It’s best if the majority of people get no context.
15) Retweet Commentary
It’s never enough to simply retweet someone else’s post. Better to cut and paste it, re-write it just a little, and then at the end add your own thoughts on why the retweet was worth your precious time. Why should that interesting tweet speak for itself? In fact, just steal it and make the post look like you wrote it originally.
16) Announce That You’re Leaving
Whenever you decide you will no longer follow someone, be sure to tell everyone why. “I’m no longer going to follow @egriffith, that guy is a blowhard and tweets too much/little” is no more rude than going up to the host of a party and saying, “You suck. I’m outta here.” The bigger the name, the more they should hear it, because famous people don’t have feelings like real people.
17) TMI for the People
Once you’ve got a lock on a few hundred people, its time to really let loose with the information that you know they want. This can, and should, include just about anything regarding your politics, your eating habits, or adventures in the bathroom. Also, consider using Twitter for therapy when your marriage falls apart or your kids get arrested.