You know I use Twitter a good deal, Gentle Reader, yet recent discussions made me realize I am following many rules of etiquette and expecting others to abide by the same in a very Mademoiselle Geraldine manner. Searching about the net proved that only the very basics seem to be discussed out there (here’s one for authors and one dealing with all the various platforms).
So I thought I might involve Mademoiselle Geraldine’s on the blog today, and have Lady Linette cobble a few etiquette suggestions together, (mainly so I can direct friendly twitters at this blog post when they accidentally commit a faux pas).
Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Lessons on the Etiquette of Fine Twittering
(Featuring Lady Linette’s commentary)
Basic Tweeting ~ or the Primary Flutter
- If you wouldn’t want to read it, why should anyone else?
LL ~ The same rules apply to Daily Fashion Periodicals and gossip over tea.
- No more than 3 hashtags.
LL ~ Hashtags are like accessories: best used in moderation and important mainly for aesthetic or deadly reasons.
- Saying: “Bad day, going for a drink” is OK. Saying: “Don’t worry about me, I’m fine” is passive aggressive.
LL ~ The one inspires sympathy the other solicits self-aggrandizing drama.
142 Characters Makes for the Perfect Gathering*
Nature requires 132 (giving 10 spaces for others to play)
Custom gives the following formula: 142 minus (number of characters in your handle plus 3 character spaces for retweets)
Laziness takes all 142
Wickedness uses an extension service to lengthen tweets
(Based on “Nature requires five, custom gives seven, laziness takes nine, and wickedness eleven.” ~ C. Stevermer on the subject of sleep)
* This is now obsolete due the the character limit expansion of 2017. But I still think it is a good idea to keep tweets as short and quotable as possible!
Proper Citation in All Things
- Attribute sources.
LL ~ Even Evil Geniuses list who they steal from.
- RT means you are quoting directly and in total.
LL ~ Rather like gossip.
- MT means you have cut someone else’s tweet down or otherwise modified it.
LL ~ More like rumor.
- “via” calls out the original source, so far as you know, and indicates that you’re eliminating the chain of RTers.
LL ~ Something on the order of hearsay.
- Trim the @s. If a conversation is going and not everyone is still participating, don’t include handles of those not involved.
LL ~ Only gossip about people *behind* their backs. (For another side of this subject Lady Linette suggests you read Seanan McGuire’s excellent post: The terrible intimacy of @.)
- Don’t solicit a tweet of a public figure. Don’t call them out publicly to take action on your cause or product. For anything, no matter how good you think it.
LL ~ For example: Hey @gailcarriger my church’s werewolf chopped liver social is something you should tweet about. Oh @gailcarriger you’d love my new bouncing baby book and so would your fans.
Put yourself in their shoes, they don’t know you, they don’t have time to research the validity or quality of the cause (although you are demanding to use them for social proof). AND if they do it for you they have to do it for everyone.*
Let’s Talk Direct Messages (DM) ~ Or Sending Round Your Card
- Please don’t set up an autoresponder DM for when someone follows you. “Thanks for following me, please visit my Facebook page LINK!”
LL ~ This is the digital equivalent of allowing your dirty dog to jump all over someone’s beautiful white dress.
- DMs are for correspondences of a private nature. If you do not know the person you are DMing intimately already, consider a polite short link-less DM first, introducing yourself.
LL ~ Like a calling card.
- Don’t solicit over DM.
LL ~ I should hope this goes without saying.
- DM that contains nothing but a link will be perceived as spam.
LL ~ Like ordering around someone else’s servants. Shocking.
- DM that doesn’t contain specified information for your recipient will be perceived as spam. “I think you would love this LINK” is bad, while “Gail, look at this octopus LINK” is good.
LL ~ Always personalize your calling card with a note.
- If your DM will take more than two tweets, you should ask for some other means to communicate instead (in other words, take the conversation to Facebook or email.)
LL ~ Do not waste calling cards where a letter should suffice.
Spam ~ Or Coping With the Enthusiasm of Others
- Never follow a link in your DM unless it is tailored to you with specifics you recognize as legitimate.
LL ~ Are you a servant to be ordered about?
- Never follow a link that is anything like the following:
- “Ha ha, what are you doing in this picture? LINK.”
- “This person is saying nasty things about you LINK”
- “I lost 20 pounds just like this LINK”
- LL ~ I know this great hat shop, you just have to tip the driver, eat three scones, and dance a jig first.
- Never follow a link that then requires you to “re sign in” to Twitter, this is a fishing scam.
LL ~ Multiple introductions? I think not.
There you are, I hope Lady Linette and I have been helpful coping with the minefields of twittering. It’s quite the social whirl out there, but the right etiquette makes everything easier, and, as Mademoiselle Geraldine’s has it, everything is also easier to manipulate.
As always, you don’t have to take my word for it…
- Twitter Guide Will Make You See What You’re Doing SO Wrong And How To Make It Right
- When Writers Do It Wrong: The Top 10 Ways To Annoy Your Twitter Followers from LitReactor
- How To Transform Online Connections Into Real-Life Relationships
- Top 5 Tips Using Twitter
Want more Etiquette?
* If I’ve blocked you, this is probably why.gail carriger, important for authors, recommendations, shaving the beast