Many people offer their suggestions at how to do Twitter better, more effectively, in a way that's better for your "brand," whatever. Basically, I've shied away from such stuff. Everyone can do Twitter however works best for them. In general. But recently, I've come across several annoying things that I wanted to bring up so we all could be better Twitter citizens. So, forthwith, the Miche Etiquette for Twitter manifesto:
1. If it's automatic, don't do it.
Any application that "automatically" does anything related to Twitter, avoid like the plague. This includes, but is not limited to, apps that automatically spam people's inboxes, apps that automatically add new followers, and recently most heinous of all, the automatic posting of a new horoscope each day.
a. The horoscope item is particularly annoying because, first off, you may be a Capricorn. I'm not. Therefore, I don't give a crap what is happening with Capricorn today. (Assuming I even care about horoscopes at all.) You are automatically alienating 11/12ths of your audience.
b. If the app puts it in your Twitter stream for you, how do I know that it has any value for you anyway? You can't tell me that each and every day this app drops pearls of wisdom into your Twitter stream.
Twitter, when used properly and to best effect, is like when you have something that you just can't wait to tell your best friend, neighbor, sister, significant other. Some witticism or life event or fascinating link. It is REALLY only these things that people want shared. Something that, at minimum, is of value to you.
Now, if you want to get your inbox spammed with your Capricorn horoscope, knock yourself out. But why should I, or anyone else be subjected to it? It's just rude and insensitive, and I will unfollow you for it.
2. Celebrities, get a grip.
Celebrities, God's gift to the world, after all, think we revolve around them, hang on their every word, and breathlessly await each bit of info and concert posting. Well, in short, we don't.
a. Keep your concert calendar to your fan pages, please. Those who really do seek out this information, will seek it there. Twitter is your connection to the world, and the world's connection to you. AS A PERSON. Not as a celebrity.
b. Think again of "info I just have to share with my best friend, etc." Would you breathlessly tell your best friend that you're playing in Tahoe on July 28? And here's where you can buy tickets? Probably not if you want to keep that friend. Think of Twitter as one big friend. PLEASE.
c. Twitter is not the place to try out your latest bits, Conan O'Brien. Comics who don't talk in real words, just drop jokes in their Twitter stream are also unfollowed by me. If I want to see your comedy, I'll just watch you on... wherever it is you are now.
d. You wanna see how real celebrities act on Twitter, don't look to Ashton Kutcher. Check out Rainn Wilson, Alyssa Milano, people who are truly giving back. That's how you do it.
e. Don't use your Twitter stream to answer fan questions. This is also what a website is for. I do understand that those of you (Conan O'Brien) who are only following, oh, say ONE person, think that the stream is your list of responses from fans, um, it's NOT. Try following more people and find out what the Twitter stream really is. All this You, You, You stuff may be how traditional media works. It is definitively not how Twitter works.
f. Maybe there should be a rule that Celebrities Have to do a Follow Friday at least once before they can post anything. That would be useful.
3. Be positive, be uplifting, be helpful.
a. People want to be lifted up by the power of Twitter. They don't want to hear your bitching about your husband, your coworker, your boss. Negativity is on the fast track to an unfollow, trust me. I'm not saying that everyone can be cheery all the time, but really people don't wanna read a bitch session. I recently had someone that I value on my Twitter stream go off because a food truck kept pinging him with messages that he found to be inane. So he let loose about TEN Tweets about how rude and disrespectful this truck was to him. And when people tried to call him on it, his answer was, "if you don't want to hear me bitch, unfollow me." I was way ahead of him, but he got his wish. And I kept the offending truck ON my Twitter stream.
In short, personal vendettas of any kind belong in an email, or a DM. Don't let this loose on the rest of us. Being angry in public only makes you look bad, and this is as true on Twitter as anywhere else.
b. I don't wanna hear how your husband is sleeping around and with whom. These are private conversations. (Remember those?) Remember, anything you post on Twitter can be seen by ANYONE. And remains, long after you're done with it.
c. Helpful, kind words go a long way on Twitter as in life. Use them.
4. Selling still doesn't work for me on Twitter.
a. More and more, especially in the mornings, I see people trying to sell or market this or that: seminars, websites, classes, products. They almost always rate an unfollow from me. Mind you, an occasional website or blog mention is fine. If I look at your profile, and it's all selling, or even 3/4s selling, it's an unfollow.
b. Twitter is a people place. Chat, conversation, getting to know one another. If you wouldn't rush home to tell your sister: Buy this DVD from me!, don't do it in your stream either.
5. If someone bugs you, UNFOLLOW.
a. I regularly purge my Twitter stream of people who've committed any of the above egregious crimes. Life's too short to have angry people venting, or self-important celebs preening, or marketers selling their crap at you.
b. A good part of really enjoying Twitter is getting people on your stream that you truly want to hear from. For some people, this means only following 10 people. For me, it means having a lot, but purging frequently (daily).
c. Whatever you do, ENJOY. Twitter is a blissful experience to me. I don't know how I lived without it.