Want to be a power Twitter user, and not just a twit? Then let’s stay away from the Twitter account unless you have something worthwhile to share. User tolerance for low-value tweets varies enormously, just as tolerance for forwarded emails can vary. Your grandmother might LOVE showing you the video of the cat playing blues piano, and your best friend may feel the need to let you know that Bill Gates is giving away computers and vacations to anyone who forwards his chain email, but most of your friends and colleagues would rather not hear about it.
So it is with Twitter. While we’re grateful for the character limit built into the network, most folks don’t even want to read three words about how you need to pick up a new toaster, what you had for breakfast, or how you’re going on hour three with the hiccups. Still not getting through to you? Here are a few Twitter Dos and Don’ts to help you out.
Do: Update folks on momentous life events
Are you expecting a child? Did you just get a promotion? Are you engaged? Did someone close to you pass on? This sort of tweet puts the social in social networks. Many folks follow you so that they can keep up with the important things going on in your life.
Don’t: Go on about routine or unimportant happenings
Is your cat having a sneeze attack? Are you headed to work… again? Cleaning out under the bed? Unless you find a body under there, no one cares. There’s absolutely no good reason to fill folks’ screens with spammy content about your last bowel movement or the fact that you forgot to put the snow tires on your car. Really.
Do: Post information of professional interest to colleagues
Is a competitor being bought out? Did you just discover a revolutionary new sales tool? Is your business welcoming a new General Manager? Are you excited about an upcoming conference that others might benefit from attending? If any of these are true – tweet it. Co-workers and friends in the field will appreciate the heads-up, and friends and families will get a glimpse into what you do all day.
Don’t: Post irrelevant or inappropriate information where colleagues can see it
Think your boss is a tool? Playing hooky so you can go watch Sesame Street on Ice? Headed to a latex-themed drag ball over the weekend? More power to you, but be aware of who can see your tweets. The guy in the next cubicle might not want to hear about your personal life, and if the boss catches wind of your feelings about him, things will NOT go well for you. As for the Sesame Street on Ice thing… that’s pretty awesome, but you might want to take a vacation day to spend time with Grover, as HR likely doesn’t understand how important it is that you two hang out.
Hopefully these tips have provided you with a little guidance, just in case common sense is failing you. Twitter is a wonderful tool for staying connected with others in your life, for business or pleasure. Do your best to use this tool appropriately and we’ll all get along just fine. If you tweet about how much you love your new ice cube trays just one more time, though – so help me god – I’m gonna unfollow you.