- TIPS: For tweeters.
I know, I know. We're all tired of hearing about Twitter. I have to admit, I've become somewhat obsessed with it, even though I previously wrote in this space about the evils of communicating in short, 140-character bursts. The fact of the matter is Twitter is incredibly useful. I found, during a brief Twitter outage, that I actually rely heavily on the service for news and information. It's not bad for killing a little time either.
But a rash of recent inappropriate tweeting has given me pause, and I feel it's time to address this issue. As an avid user, I feel that, from time to time, I am subjected to useless, vapid and yes, sometimes offensive, tweets.
You know the ones I'm talking about. There was Robert Henson, the Washington Redskins linebacker who insulted just about every blue-collar, hard-working person in the country. After hometown fans booed the 'Skins at home in D.C., Henson tweeted, “The question is who are you to say you know what's best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds.”
There was Tony Robbins, the self-help writer and motivational speaker, who, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks tweeted, “In honor of 9-1-1 we're showing the film of what I was doing that day. I'll never forget it.” Can you believe that jerk?
But those are the big ones, the widely-publicized, super-terrible tweets that steal headlines or find their way to gossip blogs. There are, of course, your every-day offenses, the oft-noticed but seldom-mentioned effronteries that make you question whether you really want to follow said twitterer or not.
Twitter is full of personalities — the shameless self-promoters, the funny girl, the angry guy — so it's no wonder that sometimes an offensive update plagues your Twitter-feed. Having myself been guilty of breaking my internal Twitter code (most of my tweets are simply boring as 90 percent of them are work-related), I've decided to team up with Zack Hill and Robert Blake from the local, and very irreverent, www.5oh1.com to supply you with some Tweeting guidelines. They are, for your reading convenience, condensed into 140 characters or less.
Please do not send out seven tweets in a row. It makes me want to read none of them. / Do not mention your significant other, even in an innocuous way. It makes everybody want to throw up. / Don't air grievances with coworkers, like “don't you hate it how some people don't ever show up on time?” You look like the jackass. / Don't ask me to join your mafia team. I do not know where you find the time for this stuff. / This is my shortcoming, but any more than two hash-tags in one tweet and I'm on to the next one. / If something's been re-tweeted more than twice, chances are everybody else has already seen it too. There's no real point in re-re-tweeting. / Promote local restaurants, not yourself. I might care what you had to eat, but I don't care who you saw there, and neither does anybody else. / If you are on your way to or from somewhere, that is information I can do without. Do something interesting and then tell me about that. / Don't believe that every busty chick that decides to follow you is real; this is called SPAM, learn to use the block option. / Don't re-tweet your own tweet. I could call some people out right now, but will leave it to the Internet to police itself. / Do include a link to something in your tweet. The purpose of twitter is to drive traffic, even if it's stupid. So, (insert link here). / Do get to the point. You lose people if they don't know what you're talking about. / Do remember to use the Direct Message function. What is for one, may not be for all. If there is any doubt, be safe and go with a DM. / Don't tweet music lyrics! Unless you are an extreme emo, this is uncalled for. Be original and express Yourself, not Fall Out Boy. / Don't talk in tweet. Headed to tweetup with the twirlfriend. I twuv all tweeple. One per tweet is fine, let's not over do it. Twease... / Do feel free to ask questions. The Twitter-verse will have an answer. / Don't say everything that is on your mind. / Do be narcissistic, why else would you even be on Twitter? / Do follow someone random, you never know where it will lead.
And last but not least, do follow @zackhill, @robertblake and @gerardmatthews.