Twitter Etiquette: 4 Rules to Follow Right Now

You've probably already annoyed a bunch of people on Twitter. Here's how to stop.
You've probably already annoyed a bunch of people on Twitter. Here's how to stop. Photo by Esther Vargas via Flickr
Twitter is unstoppable. What was once primarily a way for people to post inane updates about what they were doing at every second of the day is now the de-facto news wire service of the twenty-first century...and a place for people to post inane updates about what they are doing at every second of the day.

It's not going anywhere and, quite frankly, for all the complaints, it has given us access to information faster than anyone ever dreamed possible. Now, instead of days-later news of events, we get real-time, on-the-ground updates on everything from political happenings to natural disasters. That's pretty cool.

What's not cool is how some people choose to use Twitter. Yes, there is an etiquette to using the social media platform. We aren't going to cover everything you should know about Twitter, but here are four things that have seemed to grow in prevalence over the last year or so and need to stop, like now.

Don't use loads of hashtags.

What is this crazy practice of using like 10 or 12 hashtags in a single Tweet. It's almost as annoying as the handclap emoji in between every word of a sentence (stop it!). We see it on Instagram too, so don't think you Instagrammers are off the hook either. Use one, maybe two, three at the very most. But you don't need 20 hashtags for one sentence on Twitter. Pick a couple and stick with them.

If you are tweeting a lot about something, give it a hashtag.

We aren't against hashtags, however. In fact, quite the opposite. Using hashtags is super helpful when searching for tweets. If you don't think we've been obsessed with #brexit the last few weeks, you are kidding yourselves. It is of particular importance to use hashtags when tweeting a lot about a single topic or event. It helps those who want to follow along find out more information. And for those of us who DON'T want to follow along, we can mute that hashtag without muting you personally. It came in super handy for #sxsw.

Never retweet every single tweet from a thread.

We have mixed feelings about threads on Twitter. On one hand, they do help get information out quickly about potentially important and newsworthy subjects. On the other hand, if you need 20 tweets, wouldn't it be better in an actual news story or blog post? We get that people like to read them, however, and they are probably more well read than just linking to a news post, so we will live with it. But, what we can't abide is someone re-tweeting Just retweet the first one and we'll decide if we want to follow along. Don't make us mute you!

Don't retweet yourself...unless it is for a good reason.

If no one liked or retweeted you the first time, do you think retweeting yourself is going to spark that in people now? If you want to pull up a really old tweet to humblebrag a little or to poke fun at yourself, cool. We are down with that. But if you just want more people to see some knowledge you dropped that everyone originally ignored, forget it and move on. You look desperate.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke