Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Advanced Twitter Etiquette for Writers (Important for Authors)

This post slightly out of date, but still silly and fun.

For a more serious approach just for authors, try this article.

Or this one, Twitter: What You’re Doing Wrong and How to Make it Right

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.

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.

240 Characters Makes for the Perfect Gathering

Nature requires 230 (giving 10 spaces for others to play)

Custom gives the following formula: 240 minus (number of characters in your handle plus 3 character spaces for retweets)

Laziness takes all 240

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)

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.
  • “via” calls out the original source, so far as you know, and indicates that you’re eliminating the chain of RTers.
    LL ~ More like rumor.
  • 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…

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Jane Mary Rose said:

    'LL ~ I know this great hat shop, you just have to tip the driver, eat three scones, and dance a jig first.' This made an otherwise excellent day become perfect. My cat gave me an impressive glare when she saw me laughing at the computer.

  2. Icy said:

    These are excellent, and yet, wouldn't Mademoiselle Geraldine emphasised lady-like or gentlemanly behaviour in all things? I understand that this should be read as given, but this would seem to be missing from many soul's tweet-like communication.

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