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A How To Tweet Guide - Yes Another One

When I was in 5th or 6th grade, one my teachers gave the class an assignment: Write down the instructions on how to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Every one of us failed.

Why? Because every single one of us wrote down something to the effect of:Image

  1. Get two slices of bread
  2. Spread peanut butter on one slice
  3. Spread jelly on the other
  4. Combine
  5. Enjoy

The following day the teacher brought in with him a load of bread along with a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly. He proceeded to try and make a PB & J based on our collective instructions… literally.

He took out two slices of bread no problem. Then he tried to spread the entire of jar of peanut butter and jelly – jar and all, over the slices. Within a few minutes we all realized this was a lesson in giving instructions… DETAILED instructions, which we obviously did not do very well.

I preface my article with the above because I will NOT be providing detailed instructions on How To Tweet, making the assumption you know spread the peanut butter (create a Twitter account) and spread the jelly (login to said account) and actually post something.

My rationale is there are enough basic, rudimentary Twitter guides out there and quite frankly if you don’t know how to create an account, login and post… you may want to stop reading right now and go make yourself a nice sandwich, I think you know what kind.

No, I want to address all those “advanced” Tweeters out there… the ones who get it, or least think they get it because from where I sit, a lot of people still don’t… get it.

By now you should know some basic Twitter etiquette such as…

  • Don’t Tweet about yourself/your company too much
  • Engage with your followers
  • Retweet relevant content to your followers; assuming you know what relevant content to Retweet
  • Blah, blah, blah…

But, there are some disturbing… ok, they’re not disturbing but I couldn’t think of a better word… things that people/companies are still doing on Twitter which I want to share with you…

NOTE: I am guilty myself of breaking some of these “rules” so I am far from infallible. I say that because it’s ok, on occasion, to bend these rules but for the most part, try and stick to them, please.

Go To Your Room

Oh look Martha, there’s a 140 characters I can use in my Tweets, I think I’ll use every last one.

There should be an alarm or siren that goes off when someone tries to Tweet something that’s more than say 120 characters or even less. You have to leave room people for Retweeting! Don’t make it hard on the Retweeter to Retweet!

No Ifs ANDS Or Buts…

I don’t know who created the ampersand & I don’t really care. The fact is there is a symbol which takes up less space, leaves more room (see above) yet means the same thing, so why not use it!

If you can use LOL why can’t you use these (to name but a few)?

  • & (and)
  • @ (at)
  • ? (question)

Protect & Serve…

You’ve set up a Twitter account, you’re Tweeting you’re little heart out, I like what I see and I go to follow you and I see…


Altogether now… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Unless you work for the CIA, FBI or other some governmental agency, what possible reason could you have for protecting your tweets?

Nothing turns me off faster than seeing this… no one, no company is that important that I need to see their tweets that I will go to the length of asking for permission.

Give me a break...

By the Numbers

One, two, three, four, five thousand, six hundred, ninety-nine… and on and on and on.

Enough already with spelling out numbers! Jeezus people, there’s a reason they’re called numbers! Use the actual numbers when Tweeting!

Ok, so there you have it. Like I said earlier, I am guilty of breaking some of these “rules” so don’t worry if you do too. Just try to not make it a habit.

And for the record I prefer jam to jelly but peanut butter and jam just didn’t sound right.

Join The Conversation

  • Oct 7 Posted 5 years ago jedi_roach

    Hey, I really like your comment Dee_17... to me, I got more from that compared to the article itself. Very good advice for brands tweeting, which is what I do for my company, Philips.

  • Sep 4 Posted 5 years ago Dave Larson (not verified)

    People who are stalked and harrassed make their accounts private, and it's a good strategy to do so, as legal options are limited and Twitter won't help unless law enforcement gets involved.

  • carl-griffith's picture
    Jun 13 Posted 5 years ago oscar101

    I think it's perfectly reasonable for someone to protect their tweets!

    For a more in-depth response please see here:


  • Jun 12 Posted 5 years ago RianVisser

    There are many ways to twitter and some of them are culture based. I'm Dutch. We twitter more personal and less commercial then in the USA.

    Ik made a free iPhone app: 10 Twitter Writing Tips.  This booklet is an adaptation of the article “Ten things twittering has in common with writing fiction”. It has 10 chapters:

    1          Manipulation
    2          Style
    3          Story
    4          Misdirection
    5          Suggestion
    6          Puns
    7          Central character
    8          Supporting characters
    9          Stimuli
    10        Creating an atmosphere

    With these tricks you learn:

    How to write captivating tweets
    How to get your tweets retweeted
    How to get many mentions and replies

  • Jun 10 Posted 5 years ago Dee_17 (not verified)

    I have 2 accounts - one protected, one not. Protected is for a small group of local friends where we get personal, it's linked to my Foursquare so people I know can find me when I'm out and about, etc. One is for a photoblog I have on Tumblr and for businesses I like and news, that is not protected and my protected one directs people there.

    My pet peeve on Twitter is when a brand/person as a brand gets too personal. If you're tweeting about your products, blogn on a specific subject, etc, I don't want to see you suddenly complaining about your sciatica, how hard your day at work is, and stuff like that. It's so unprofessional and a big turn off to me. If it's a personal account, fine! If not, don't tweet it.

  • Jun 10 Posted 5 years ago Stephen Cerruti (not verified)

    Really? You would put readability at risk by using an ampersand instead of 'and' for the sake of two characters? OK, if you need to get characters back on a long tweet to ensure retweetability then I am with you, but not as a general rule.

    Similarly, the AP style guide's basic rule is to spell out numbers from one to nine and to use numerals for 10 and above. There are tons of exceptions, read up on them if you wish. Again, in most cases you will be losing only a few characters.

    Are you using LOL in corporate tweets? LOL and other initialisms developed initially to account for slow communication methods and input mechanisms. Internet slang was adopted to create a sense of exclusivity for 'in' groups, typically teens or socially less accepted groups like sci-fi fans or hackers. Before you use these type of abbreviations in your tweets shouldn't you be asking if that is the image you are trying to present?

    Professional tweeters should be familiar with the AP Style Guide because it will help their content familiar and accessible to the largest audience. Once they are familiar with the Style Guide they can make a conscious decision to violate it to make a tweet stand out or represent their company in a more appropriate fashion.

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