Trick or Tweet: 14 Ways to Alienate Twitter Followers
This is a follow-up to “Netiquette on LinkedIn.” In the spirit of cooperative intelligence, I will illustrate how to be cooperative by sharing examples of bad Twitter communication practices that alienate Twitter followers.

14 ways to alienate Twitter followers

1. Advertise your blog posts and everything about your business with every Tweet. It’s OK to send a person to your blogs as you publish, but it is tacky to repeat and/or re-tweet (repeat your Tweets) about your business continuously. I like the 80:20 rule–80% of my Tweets are about others; 20% about me.

2. Don’t share anything about yourself in your profile. That’s a way to discourage people from following you. People are curious about who you are: tell them and be human about it. I include a link to my LinkedIn profile, and got that idea by looking at a colleague’s profile.

3. Don’t have a picture or brand by your name. That’s an opportunity lost for branding. It’s so much more interesting to see someone’s picture next to their Tweet rather than the ugly, brown default space.

4. Don’t use your Tweets as a chat room. Some people are really just Tweeting to each other. Send that person a direct Tweet. The rest of us feel left out and don’t want to be a part of your personal conversation.

5. Don’t publicly berate anyone in your Tweets. Remember your manners.

6. Twitter is not a megaphone for one way communication. Engage your followers by sharing information you think they will appreciate and ask them questions.

7. Set up a robot to send a standard message thanking people for following you on Twitter. I find this insulting. I would rather get no message than a robotic one.

8. Mass following everyone so you can inflate your numbers, and then use that success metric for influence. Some people will “Brag Tweet” that they just got over 100 followers in a 24 hour period. We followers don’t care! Think about how this makes your followers feel–not very special.

9. Some people argue that you should automatically follow everyone who follows you on Twitter. I think it depends on your goals. I am not in Twitter for the numbers game. I would like to get to know the people who follow me, gradually. For example I am not a huge sports fan or into pumping iron, but somehow I am being followed by these types. BTW, Tweet Deck lets you organize those who follow you in categories that you create. For example, I create separate columns for Tweets from my personal friends, my research and competitive intelligence colleagues, friends in Colorado, and frequent Tweeters. Lately I prefer Hootsuite, but was disappointed when LinkedIn no longer allowed us to post on LinkedIn groupsjust to our LinkedIn individual or LinkedIn business accounts.

10. Some people Tweet so often that they fill up their followers’ screens with their Tweets. It’s obvious they’re using software, such as Tweetdeck, Buffer or Hootsuite  to stream out Tweets 24/7. I’m not knocking the use of technology: just don’t use it to abuse us! I think it’s better to send out occasional Tweets that are relevant to your social networking goals and the brand you are portraying. For example, I mostly report on competitive intelligence, market opportunity analysis, win/loss analysis, elicitation, and cooperative intelligence’s traits of leadership, connection and communication.

11. Some people Tweet the mundane details about their life which we really don’t care about like, “I just baked a loaf of bread. I’m waiting for my flight at Denver airport.” This is boring! Is this how you want to be remembered?

12. There are some people who have 1000’s of followers, but who follow no one. This is rude and insinuates that you are a taker. The only exception to this rule might be news stations like CNN, but even they want to follow a certain number of people to stay up with the news.

13. Some people just Tweet a link and don’t tell us why we should want to visit it. This takes very little time to include. It’s a real turnoff just to provide a link and makes people think you’re lazy.

14. Some people don’t Tweet. Yet they expect you to follow them. What? Why?

So what do you find aggravating about practices on Twitter?

Check out The Dark Side of Twitter: What Businesses Need to Know.

Building Relationships on Social Media Takes Time Too

In closing, when communicating on social networks, as with in-person networking you have to decide what works best for you based on your objectives for social networking, your ethics and philosophy. Recognize that everyone you connect with has their own standards which might be different from yours. It takes time to build a successful social networking presence just like it does the old fashioned way through meetings and phone calls. Relationships take time to develop, and the best way to nourish them is through continual, consistent communication, asking questions and listening.

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11 thoughts on “Trick or Tweet: 14 Ways to Alienate Twitter Followers”

  1. What I find most annoying on Twitter follow your 13, but I have a couple of additions:

    1. If all you’re doing is retweeting other people, what’s my motivation for following YOU?

    2. Your #11 is all well and good, but what makes me tired are people who tweet NOTHING but links. Every tweet is a link to something else. I think if you can never say what you want in 140 characters, Twitter is NOT the medium for you and you need to go elsewhere. A tweeted link should be uncommon, not commonplace.

  2. It’s interesting your comments, Kaa. I like people who provide links since I use Twitter to learn, and it’s hard to learn much in 140 characters. I also like to RT friends in my profession when they write good stuff since that way my network gets to see it.

    The point is you should use Twitter how you see fit, but just don’t be rude! Cheers! Ellen

  3. Interesting post. I think I’m guilty of some of these 🙁

    I have an interesting case. I have a blog where I just post my latest cartoon. I always tweet when it is first posted, complete with a description like “cartoon : Toyota Sticky Accelerator “, and a link of course. Does the 80/20 rule apply here, because technically I am entertaining people (or at least I hope I am)?

    I also read a post somewhere that says it is okay to send the same tweet up to 4 or 5 times a day. That seems obsessive, and annoying. On the other hand, according to my links, I only get 10-20 people clicking my links out of the 5000 followers I have. Your Advice please 🙂


  4. Hi Johnny,

    I think it depends on your Twitter strategy. Your cartoons are definitely funny. Love the i-tampoon accompanied with ragtime music. But people do get tired of seeing repeat tweets. On the other hand not everyone keeps Twitter on all the time, so that’s the thought with repeats. You’ll catch different people depending on when they’re viewing Twitter. But those who are tracking you don’t want to see repeats: that’s what I was getting at with the etiquette, cluttering Twitterspace with repeat information that advertises what you’re up to. When I see people posting the same stuff, I might “stop seeing” what they’re saying and gloss over their messages since it’s same old same old. Does that make sense?

    I know my Twitter habits have changed since I wrote this blog almost a year ago. I don’t Tweet as much and don’t leave my Tweet deck open all the time since it messes up my other programs and I have to get work done! I also find that I get better leads from using LinkedIn, while I certainly get the message out about things in my life through Twitter and Facebook more readily and have linked them together.



  5. Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and amazing design.

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