Generally, I’m pretty cautious about social media. I don’t use FourSquare, I am just now setting up a Linkedin account, and I only use Facebook for the occasional light stalking. Okay, that’s a lie. I, like many of us have spent many a boring lecture perusing people’s profiles. And though I have had a Twitter account for over a year, I only just started really using it this past summer.
Now, 101 tweets later, I am basically a twitter expert (another lie, but just go with me here) and I have noticed a few twitter faux pas. Here are some tweet tips — Tweetiquette, if you will — that your friends, your followers and your potential employers will appreciate!
1. Watch Who You Follow and Who Follows You
Following each Real Housewife of New Jersey as well as their featured family members seemed like a great idea at the time; but in reality, it just clogged up my Twitter timeline with shameless plugs of their latest music debut (ahem, Melissa Gorga). The lesson here: choose your twitter community carefully! Only follow people or companies that contribute something to you personally. Find companies that are in your future career field, news sources, or websites that entertain you and only follow those.
When it comes to your followers, you can choose to protect your tweets. If you are with trying to start a company, website or trying to appeal to as many people as possible, you obviously want your tweets public. However, know that with an open account, you will receive spam tweets that can be annoying and at times pretty creepy. If you are using your Twitter for more personal reasons, like staying in touch with friends and colleagues, or just staying in the know with topics that interest you, go ahead and protect those tweets, but just know that the security will limit the size and scope of your Twitter community.
Hashtagging, according to Twitter.com’s help center is “used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. Hashtagged words that become very popular are often trending topics.”
Now, I know we’re all guilty of this occasionally, but do not abuse the #hashtags. If every word in your tweet has a little # in front of it, you’ve got a problem. Also, keep #hashtags on Twitter and Twitter only. They mean absolutely nothing on Facebook or in private text messages except to point out that you cannot handle the level of social media on which you are currently operating.
Yes, I know that Twitter is not a term paper. Even though you technically aren’t receiving a grade for your tweets, just pretend that you are. Since 140 characters disappear pretty quickly, you are allowed to be lax on some of the usual rules (abbreviations, numerals, etc.), but avoid major mistakes that make you look unprofessional and let’s be honest, unintelligent.
“I hate when people misuse ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. Come on! We learn those basics in elementary school,” says Illinois collegiette, Jenna Dijohn.
4. Don’t Drink and Tweet
As with any other form of communication, alcohol can taint your Twitter. Is it easy to upload a picture of your friend passed out on your couch with an empty One World Pizza box at 3 am? Yes. Should you do it? No. When future employers do a background check on you and see repetitive drunk tweets about those ‘killer tequila shots’ or ‘the b#@ch that cut you in the line at Joe’s’, they will not be impressed.
A July 15th article of the Washington Post discussed the recent and growing trend of employers digging into applicants’ social media history. Social Intelligence, a company based out of California, is contracted out to corporations all over the country to do social media checks, just like other companies do criminal background checks and drug tests. Know that they are out there looking! If you slip up and drunk tweet, please, delete.
5. Think Before You Tweet
Even if you have protected your tweets and you have restricted who can follow you, please don’t punish the ones that do. Use Twitter to post informative articles, share funny moments of everyday life, upload interesting photos, and basically, contribute something to the Twitter community. Do NOT check in to 15 places within one afternoon, tweet over 10 times a day, use twitter to complain about EVERYTHING, or always be negative and rude. Remember the general rule of thumb when it comes to tweeting. If anyone else said this, would it bug/offend/bore you? If so, keep it to yourself!