5 ways to NOT annoy people on Twitter

by Ginger on November 15, 2010

in Blogging & Social Media

I love Twitter. I’m fully a Twitter convert (come join me–I’m @rambleginger), and while I may not be the wittiest, or the smartest, or the most interesting, I love the conversations that happen there, the people I’ve met there, and the links/blogs/websites I’ve been exposed to (not to mention the momentary escapes from the drudgery of my day!). Twitter = great.

That being said.

It’s a really easy medium to misuse. There are a whole lot of people doing a whole lot to annoy the shit out of me on Twitter. I’m not even talking about *what* people are posting, so much as *how* they are posting.

I’m not immune to it–the other day I found myself putting a tweet up that probably made me look like an ass. And as soon as I did, I resolved that I would make myself a list of rules I personally won’t break anymore* because they annoy the ever-loving crap out of me to see in my stream**. So here is my list of 5 ways to not annoy people on Twitter!

  1. Don’t retweet your conversations. Look, I know the entire conversation is amazing and all your followers really want to know about what you and 3 other people are saying to each other, but…wait, we really don’t. Or if we do, we already follow everyone involved and will see it anyway. Seeing multiple RT and @ signs per tweet, 10 tweets in a row? ANNOYING.
  2. Don’t post the same tweet/link 10 times in 10 minutes. There are a few people I follow who do this–you can tell when they get online because they tweet the same thing 10 times in a row (about once a minute). Look, I get wanting to retweet your blog post to catch more traffic, but once a minute isn’t the same thing. Knock it off.
  3. Don’t post the same tweet/link every day for two weeks. On a related note–if you haven’t written a new blog post in 10 days, don’t keep posting the OLD link 5 times a day. I’m not even talking about the voting requests (which are a different matter), I’m talking just normal, everyday links.
  4. Don’t just retweet people who are talking about you. Again, I get the promotion angle, I really do (hey, this is part of my day job too, I get it). But if the only time you ever retweet other people is when they’re talking about you, well, that’s annoying.
  5. Don’t try to force people to read your link with an @ mention. Unless it’s about them, in direct response to them or to something they’ve written, or something they asked for your take on, this really just looks desperate. People will either read something, or they won’t. Don’t try to force their hand.

Obviously, I haven’t touched on some of the big annoyances (auto-DM’s anyone?) but we all KNOW those already (right? RIGHT??). These are ones that I didn’t even think about until I started seeing them in my stream all the time. And hey, we’re all going to screw up occasionally and annoy *someone* online, but it should (hopefully) be a rare occurrence, rather than an everyday one. Let’s just hope that some of the worst offenders eventually learn that they’re not promoting, they’re just annoying!

How about you–what annoys YOU on Twitter?

*Yes, I did one of these recently. I vow not to again because I annoyed MYSELF so much. I knew as soon as I did it too, but I decided to not delete it as a reminder that I need to think BEFORE I tweet.

**You might say, “hey why don’t you just unfollow those people?” Well, in a few cases, I actually have. But in a few others, I actually like the information I get from the offending parties so much that I make myself ignore the annoyance factor. We’ll see how much longer the balance remains in their favor though.

As always, you can find more lists every Monday over at ABDPBT!


Becca November 15, 2010 at 1:19 am

My biggest problem is that I have a lot of followees who take it really, really personally if someone unfollows them. I’ve given up unfollowing people now, but just maintain a private list of people that I actually want to read and take people off it if they bug me too much!

I also hate it when people ignore @ mentions that are actual questions. I appreciate that major organisations and celebrities get a ridiculous amount of traffic, and can’t be expected to, but small-time bloggers who get 20 mentions a day could perhaps find the time to answer a one-off, basic, non-personal question.

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I would get upset if some people unfollowed me, but not many, but I know it bothers a lot of people. Lists seem like the best way to handle that.

Oh, and yes, ignoring @ questions tends to bug me too. I give everyone one or two times (maybe they missed it!), but after that I just get irritated.

bekah November 15, 2010 at 6:06 am

I think I just dont get twitter in general. This is the second time I have had a twitter acct, and I think I am going to delete it again. At first I thought it would be funny, but it’d just….not.

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 9:56 pm

You know, it took me about a year to really *get* Twitter. I had to wrap my head around it for work, so I had to stick it out. It’s really only been in the last year that it’s clicked for me.

julie June 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Thanks for this comment, Ginger. Like Bekah, I don’t quite get twitter. Now FaceBook, that I get. I guess I will just keep trying at twitter, but I feel like I’m by myself inside a box.

Erin November 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

I am a huge fan of twitter! I don’t really think that I’m that entertaining of a person to follow, but I love the connections it has allowed me to make. It’s a great way to get to know my blogger friends better, and it keeps me entertained while I’m pumping.

People who do nothing but retweet really drive me nuts on twitter. Why are you on twitter if you don’t have anything to say?

ABDPBT November 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

There is one person on Twitter who regularly does all of these at least three to four times per day. She also does the coffee, cupcake and Ativan tweets. I want to unfollow her but it’s kind of like a car accident, I can’t look away.

Dangermonkey November 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

I’ve seen this guy retweet when someone recommends they follow him. It seems so egotistical coming from him. The people that see it follow him anyway, so what is that supposed to be? Validation?
I also hate unnecessary hashtagging, like “I ate a #sandwich.” Hashtagging for jokes is okay though. Hehehe.

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Ugh, those kinds of retweets are just…ugh. Ego much?

I love joking hashtags from other people, but I am NOT funny enough for most of those. And I’m too wordy, I can’t give up character count for hashtags that don’t mean anything.

Brooke November 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

I hate reading Giveaway Tweets. I’ve actually hidden some people on Facebook for such behavior. Look, I get your giving something away… or trying to win something else. But it is insanely obnoxious. The more I see your giveaway, honestly, the less likely I am to enter it.

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm

There’s one person on Twitter that was posting a giveaway tweet every hour or so. I just don’t understand that!

Lisa November 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm

“Seeing multiple RT and @ signs per tweet, 10 tweets in a row? ANNOYING.”

THANK YOU. This drives me crazy. Even if there is something in there that’s funny and I’d like to read, I can’t find it in amidst the “RT @blah @so-an-so RT @someoneelse blah blah blah (cc @anothertweep)”

Megan November 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

If it helps, I don’t remember you doing anything annoying!

Megan November 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Oh, any one of my pet peeves is when people “yell” about their new blog post. “POSTED!” or “BLOGGED!” It’s not that exciting. Really.

Elizabeth November 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I’ve been meaning to tell Tweeps to just cut it out, but you did it for us. Yay!

Cranky Twitter Husband November 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Oh HELL yeah. What we need is more than an unfollow, but also some kind of digital equivalent of stabbing someone in the neck with a popsicle stick when they, oh I don’t know, RT about winning a gaddamn iPad a couple dozen times. #hashtag

Kathleen (amoment2think) November 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I totally agree! Although I do think some of these things are okay sometimes in extreme moderation. For example, I like to RT when I get #ff @’s. Mostly because I figure people that follow me might also be interested in the other people that the person has recommended. I didn’t really think of it from the overly-self promoting aspect. Maybe I should stop doing that. And sometimes I like to retweet part conversations if it is with someone new or about something I think would be of interest to some people that follow me. But again, extreme moderation. And the rest of them, yeah, I don’t like that.

Anyway, what gets me the most is when people seem desperate to get people to read their post by tweeting them over and over again. One ICYMI is sufficient. Oh, and those that care way to much about who follows them or doesn’t follow them or starts following them or stops following them and how many followers do they have. Um, I guess it is kinda a popularity contest, but I don’t judge my twitter experience based on how many followers I have or how much ‘klout’ I have. I judge it on the value of the conversations I have and the interesting stuff I get to hear about (like really great articles and great blogs, ect.) I hate those “please help me get 5 more followers to get me to 500” tweets. Gag. Just ‘build it, (“it” being your content) and they will come’. (Sorry, I am grumpy tonight).

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Oh, on some of these, I definitely think there are variations where it’s more ok than others–like you said, with Follow Friday, or a PART of a conversation. It’s when it’s more than that that it veers into ugly territory.

Oh, and yes, yes, yes on the “x more followers to X!” Seriously, just work on making connections and the numbers will come (or they won’t, and seriously it won’t MATTER)!

Lisa Sunbury November 15, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I’m a new reader, and I came to read because I found you on twitter through amoment2think. I’m also new on twitter, and so appreciate this post on how to use twitter, but not annoy anyone ( too much anyway.)I was reading, and holding my breath, hoping I hadn’t done anything too bad yet, because it’s not at all intuitive to me (the way facebook is.) I’ve been reading a lot, and asking a lot of questions, and also trying a lot of different techniques to try to connect with others, as well as to try to find my “voice” and my style on twitter. It’s one of those things that I just have to play with in order to get right I guess, but it helps to have some input from actual twitter users (like you!), so thank you again! I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing- one of the great things about twitter so far has been the great blogs and writers I’ve found to read and connect with.

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Hi Lisa–glad you came by!

Twitter definitely takes some getting used to–I always tell people that you really have to get in there to try stuff before it clicks–but it’s an amazing way to connect with people. It took me a good year before I really felt comfortable with what I was doing, so it’s only been through watching and trying things that I’ve figured any of it out!

Megan November 15, 2010 at 10:04 pm

@Kathleen- You are killing me over here! It’s all so true. I hate the “I just need five more followers!”

Rachel November 16, 2010 at 5:54 am

I hate the really vague dramatic tweets that never get talked about again….
“I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to handle today. I’m just going to cry.”
….5 hours later….
You brought us into your problem, you need to at least acknowledge that it happened (“I’m okay guys!” “Hooray, things got resolved!” etc)
Now I just think you are bipolar.

Busy Mom November 16, 2010 at 6:28 am

@Rachel Exactly!

Becca November 16, 2010 at 6:57 am

My friend’s little sister does that on Facebook all the time! Sometimes no words, just a 🙁 They had a big argument a few weeks ago, and he yelled “Oh go update your status” as she stomped out of the room.

N.C. November 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

Same here. Some of my faves: Tweets that just say simple pathetic things like “this isn’t going well” or “whoops” or “argh”. Twitter was not meant to be a place to unleash brain farts non-stop. Keep that stuff in your head, or at worst, burden your pet with that crap.

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Yes!! Yes!! (also, this comment made me laugh).

clara November 16, 2010 at 11:56 am

Thanks for the laugh! I think you nailed most of the things I dislike.

I just unfollow. Clear it out. It’s amazing how fast you will forget those annoying people even existed! I have re-encountered and re-followed people in the past two years and they’ve obviously been to twitter camp or whatever because their behavior is totally different. There is a learning curve. And then, like someone up there said, there is also the car crash stuff. In my current, sheltered existence (ie: no office water cooler) I need some misery to entertain me.

Yes, I am a horrible person. Now you know.

Ginger November 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Oh, no I’m totally with you on needing the car crash. I work at a job that drives me crazy many days–I need someone else’s drama to distract me some days!

The problem I’ve had with unfollowing is a lot of the people that are annoying ALSO provide me with good info hidden amongst the annoyance. If there’s no redeeming value, I unfollow, but if I enjoy some of the hidden gems I have a harder time saying goodbye. But I’m getting less stringent about that lately as I’m following more people.

julie June 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Wonderful post. Wonderful discussion ‘post’ post. I’ve learned that twitter is definitely worthwhile for many people and that I need to keep trying.

Laura June 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Nice post! A lot of what you mentioned I tend to view as spam and if it it happens too frequently I’ll just stop following altogether. 😉 Great Twitter tips!

Keiko June 22, 2011 at 6:28 am

Here via SITS31DBBB – thanks for linking up this post on Day 16. This is a great article. I am curious though, as to your thoughts on tweeting out for votes. I struggle with trying to get a least 1 vote from every follower I have on Twitter and not sounding so damn spammy.

Ginger June 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

You know, I think the vote tweets are really hard. A lot of it, I think, comes down to your own personal followers. Do they do that a lot themselves? Are they voting? Are they retweeting? Is it something they’re open to?

My follower list? I know that a lot of them would get annoyed at me after a certain point. Some of the people I follow? Not so much. So I think you have to gauge your own followers.

But beyond that, I think in general if you’re tweeting the same message more than a few times a day (be that asking for votes, or linking your most recent post), you run the risk of annoying people. I like the idea of something I’ve seen around the web: for every 1 promotion of myself, there should be 10 promotions or mentions of other people. You seem to do a good job of balancing it–your Twitter stream doesn’t look spammy at all to me!–but it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

In Katrina's Kitchen January 19, 2012 at 3:14 am

This cracked me up! I try to only tweet my new post links 3 times ovet 2 days…by the third I’m pretty much done. I think it is annoying too to be always promoting yourself. I RT what I find interesting but can sometimes get in a rut of only finding the same 10 people interesting. Oof!

Jess January 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Ha ha ha, I was nervous that I was doing something wrong on twitter, but luckily, I don’t do any of though *sigh of relief* thanks for the insight, so I stay away from the annoyingness 🙂

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