The (totally subjective) Do’s and Don’ts for Twitter

It seems like all I do is blog about Twitter around here. Which, I suppose, is only right considering that’s where I spend the vast majority of my time.

I got a couple of new follower notices this morning. When I went to look at their pages to find out more about whether I will follow them back, a couple of them did two things that really sort of bug me. One seemed to do nothing but post inspirational/motivational tweets, and the other’s page was filled with nothing but “Welcome @soandso, @newbie, @scoobydoo, @buffy, @spike” and on and on.

I chose not to follow either one. I do not like motivational quotes much. I find them pretentious and annoying. But that’s just me. There are folks out there who enjoy them and find them helpful or powerful, and that’s cool. That’s also why this list of mine here is completely subjective. It’s based on what *I* like and don’t like when it comes to Twitter, tweeting, following, and unfollowing. What you like, what you can tolerate, and what you dislike about it maybe the exact opposite.

One problem with this particular list is that I have two main twitter accounts. One for my more personal tweets and one for my slightly more professional tweets. Somehow it just ended up that my @stephromanski account list became full of awesome journalists, coworkers, graphic artists and other folks who fill out the industry.

I figure my other account, the personal one would be full of stuff that might annoy the aforementioned professional peeps. I like to use and I mainly talk to my boyfriend on the personal one. Those tweets would probably annoy the hell out of my professional friends.

So this Do/Don’t list is aimed at those using Twitter for professional reasons rather than personal ones. Also, I guess I should say it’s geared towards media folk on Twitter.


  • Don’t post tweets full of new followers names. It’s boring for your current followers to see tons of that in their timeline. Especially if your account is really hopping and you get loads of followers all the time.  It’s not so bad if it’s two or three new followers once in a while you’re saying hi to though. I’m not anti-welcoming for new followers. I think you should acknowledge them somehow. What I prefer is an actual ‘Hello’ and give the new follower a chance to respond. I like more interaction. It’s why I’m on Twitter.
  • Don’t DM a new follower with a link to something you’re promoting. If I followed you, I saw your link I your profile (hopefully you’ve put it there ;)) and will have checked it out if it interested me. A DM welcome is peachy, but I’d appreciate just a simple ‘Hey there, thanks for the follow!’ if you don’t mind.
  • If you absolutely *must* post motivational tweets, spread them out or something perhaps? (Conversely, I actually don’t mind multiple tweets of quotes from movies, plays, song lyrics or authors. How weird is that?)
  • Don’t overuse Twitterfeed. I think Twitterfeed is all right if it’s spitting out your latest blog post once in a while. I do use still use it – but sparingly, and not for my job. But if you’re a news organization, plenty of Twitter experts keep saying turn off the feed man. Spitting out 5 headlines an hour is spammy and annoying. Turning off the feed for my newspaper was the best thing I could have done.
  • Don’t tweet a whole lot of really personal stuff on your professional account. I mean, some is fine, but there’s a balance. It is nice to get a sense of the whole person, but there may be a limit to how much of your personal life you want your colleagues to know.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you’re new to Twitter and it doesn’t seem as if anyone is responding to you. Just keep tweeting, and following people. You will eventually gain followers and some of them will @reply to you 🙂


  • Back to the welcoming thing, I do think it’s okay to just do a general “Hey welcome new followers!” once in a while, but I don’t think it’s all that necessary to name each and every one as they come in.
  • Do interact with your followers. Jump into conversations others are having. On Twitter, it’s actually OK to do that, especially if you’ve got worthwhile advice or feedback on the topic.
  • Be yourself when you tweet. If you’re cheerful, it shows in what you tweet. If you’re grouchy, it shows as well, but no matter your mood, keep tweeting and give your tweets your own personality.
  • Take advantage of some Twitter extras like – If you snap a cool pic on your phone you can post it to twitter for everyone to see.

This whole post came about from just a couple of things that bugged me this morning when I got a couple new followers. So this list is incomplete because I really do like Twitter, the good and the bad. So what I would love is if anyone reading this left some of their Twitter pet peeves and/or top things they recommend doing on Twitter in the comments. I know not everyone’s going to agree with mine and I’m cool with that 🙂

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