Twitter 101: Pet Peeves & Rules to Follow

I’ve been tweeting now @mrlibrarydude since 2008. By no means do I consider myself an expert, but it’s something that I find enjoyable and absolutely worthwhile professionally. Through Twitter, I’ve been able to connect with a great group of librarians, and other people interested in higher ed and technology. Through it, I’ve received lots of great ideas and advice. In fact, it’s usually the first thing I check when I get into the office. Here, I have developed some rules to follow, along with a few “pet peeves.” What do you think?

  • No bio: Make the effort to write a short bio on your Twitter profile. Don’t make me guess. Who are you? What are you interested in?
  • Re-tweets: Occasional re-tweeting is completely OK. I do it! But don’t let all of your tweets be re-tweets. Try putting your own spin on a re-tweet: do you agree, disagree, have a differing point to make about what you are re-tweeting? Tell us!
  • Zero tweets: Do not start following hundreds of people without tweeting something yourself. I don’t follow people with zero tweets.
  • Professional v. Personal Twitter accounts: You will find disagreement on this. Personally, I’m not a stickler for the professional v. personal Twitter accounts. I tend to be somewhere in the range of 70% professional tweets and 30% personal tweets (e.g., weekend fun, Flickr photos, daily musings). I like some levity. Reading people’s personal tweets often brings a smile to my face. Just beware of posting something that reflects poorly on your employer if you have indicated where you work in your Twitter bio. Libraryland is a small place.
  • Foursquare check-ins: If you have a Foursquare account, please TURN OFF the automatic post-to-Twitter setting. I don’t care if you’re at home, at work, at Target. An occasional post-to-Twitter is OK—especially if you’ve discovered a new place, good food (maybe I want to know!), or it’s something library-related.
  • Extended Tweet Statuses – Yes, I know you can now write more than 140 characters. But the point with Twitter is BREVITY! If you can’t say it in 140 characters, then blog it instead.
  • Hashtag love – Not sure if your followers will understand what you are tweeting? Then include a hashtag. Make it something understandable to your audience! Although I must admit that, as a librarian, I had no idea what the #hcod hashtag first stood for when all of the HarperCollins tweets started coming across my computer ;)
  • Negativity – this is the “Debbie Downer” tweeter, or the person with NOTHING ever good to say about anyone or anything—I get it. It’s your way to vent. But I’m not interested in it and I won’t be following you.
  • Private Profiles – This does bug me. If you’re going to follow me, then why is YOUR profile private? I understand people who want to use Twitter more for personal or “fun” activities might want a private profile. But, if you’re using it for professional purposes, why not make your profile public? It’s a good way to network.
  • Live Tweeting at conferences: Proceed with caution. For this to work, the tweet should display the following qualities: needs to stand on its own—I should not need to know about any prior content. It should also provide a good idea, interesting concept, or a helpful hint.

What are some other Twitter “pet peeves” that I missed? Leave a comment!

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One thought on “Twitter 101: Pet Peeves & Rules to Follow

  1. Thanks for the information Mr. Library Dude. I see the usefulness of Twitter, but I don’t have time to use it. I use Twitter to filter the ‘libraryland’ and ‘genealogy’ buzz.

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