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Basic Twitter Etiquette

Updated on October 30, 2009

Whether you're new to Twitter, or have been tweeting away for ages now, there are rules of etiquette that really ought to be followed on the social networking site. In many cases, you'll see numerous tweeps ignoring these basics, but that doesn't mean you should do the same. If you want your list of friends and followers to grow substantially, you've got to at least be aware of the following rules of etiquette.

1. Don't pass other people's retweets off as your own tweets.

This is not only annoying, it makes you look like an arse. If you like something someone else has tweeted, go ahead and retweet it, but let everyone else know that's what you're doing. And while I'm at it, this goes for random quotes as well; yes, Mae West did have some fabulous one liners. Point being, they were hers, not yours.

2. Don't hypertweet.

Lots of people tweet lots of tweets throughout the day. That's fine. But if you tweet 30 tweets in as many minutes, you're going to annoy people who'd like to see more than just you in their home column. You're also going to guarantee that most of your tweets won't even be seen, as few people will go back through all of them.

3. Don't send private messages unless you've got a private message to send.

I hate getting DMs from people I've just started following. I'm not following you because I want you to teach me how to be a financial wizard, so please don't PM offers of this nature. I realize they often automated messages, and that only makes it more annoying. If you've got something to say, as opposed to sell, send your message. But don't use DMs to spam people.

4. Don't try to trick people into following you.

A lot of people will stick random names in their #FF tweets. People they are not following. Many of those people will assume that they are already being followed, which will cause them to follow back -- which is just a sneaky way of some schmoe accumulating followers without actually making friends.

5. Reply to your messages.

If someone has sent you an @ reply, don't just ignore them. If you've got 5 million fans and thousands of these to sift through in a day, ok, fine, you're off the hook. But if you're not super popular you should take the time to converse with your tweeps.

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