For those who have figured out how to use it, Twitter has become a great way to find useful information and to build online relationships. For those that haven't, Twitter often looks like a big, jumbled-up mess of unstructured conversations. I can't count the times that someone has told me that Twitter is "useless", "too confusing", or "just a place where people talk about what they ate for breakfast".
Aside from the problem that Twitter.com is an unstructured, hot mess (hence the need for tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite), the jumble of information is contributed to by a lot of folks who: a) don't know what they are doing, b) don't know the rules of the road, or c) are posting content just to inflate their numbers.
The problem is that many of these offenders, aren't necessarily newbies. So, this article is for everyone who has a Twitter account. If you do the following things, it's likely that I'm not going to follow you or retweet you (making you irrelevant to me on Twitter) and in some cases, I might even report you as a spammer.
10) Don't add a photo of yourself - If you don't add a photo, it'll be clear to me that you don't take Twitter seriously enough for me to follow you.
9) Don't add profile information - You'd be amazed how many people out there don't have their profile information filled in. It doesn't have to be in-depth, but tell me what you're interested in and what you'll tweet about.
8 ) Only tweet your check-ins - Don't just sign up to Twitter and connect it to FourSquare, GoWalla, Yelp, and GetGlue and then only tweet where you are when you check-in. If we haven't built a relationship, I don't care where you are...unless you're buying the coffee.
7) Tweet quotes - The number one thing that really chaps my @ss are people who can't come up with something original of their own to say, so they just spend their time polluting the Twitter stream with quotes from famous people. If you want to spend your entire day quoting Mark Twain or Ronald Regan, don't expect me to follow you.
6) Only retweet and never share an original thought - To piggy back on #7, it's not okay just to retweet. Do you have an original thought in your head or are you a social media parrot who can only engage by retweeting what other people say? Everyone has original thoughts, so share them. I'm sure there are some folks who might find them useful...maybe it might be me.
5) Never tweet - Yes...seems kind of like a stupid requirement that someone actually tweet, but you I get a lot of ridiculous follows from people that have thousands of followers and follow thousands, yet...they somehow have zero tweets. Do you smell that? I smell Spam.
4) Only talk about food - The only exception here is if you run a restaurant, are a chef, or are a food critic. Then it makes sense. Hey, we all eat. Food is an integral part of staying alive and just as big a sucker for a good cupcake as the next guy. But don't make it the only thing you tweet about. There are other aspects of life than the fact that you just ordered a double soy chai and it's hot. Duh...it's supposed to be hot.
3) Turn twitter into your own personal (yet public) text messaging system - I don't need to know what the guy across the room at the club is wearing and whether he's hot. I'm not there...I'm not going to ask him to dance. I don't need to know what so-and-so said about so-and-so last week by the lockers and I certainly don't need to know that your sister-in-law is not in your good graces because she slept with your man.
2) Don't be a human - Talk about your brand, talk about your company, never talk about the people who are part of your organization. I'm not engaged in social media to meet software. I'm not engaged in social media to meet press releases. I'm not engaged in social media to meet products. I'm here to engage with people and I want to know the people in your organization.
1) Spam me - Let's see...a Twitter account mentions me and tells me that I need to click their link. So, they assume I'm just going to click away, right? Wrong!! I'm not stupid. I click their profile information and see that they have zero followers, follow zero people, and have no profile pic, and no profile info. Guess what, not only did you not get a click or a follow, you just got reported for spam.
So there you have it. 10 things to make sure that I never read your tweets, never follow your account, and never engage with you (or your business) online. I have a feeling that I'm not alone in this and others use these very same standards to deciding whether to follow an account, so if you engage in some or all of these tactics...enjoy your social media solitude.
Stay tuned for the follow-up article which is the 10 Surefire Ways To Get Me To Follow You And Engage!