At the end of each calendar year the internet is flooded with the requisite “Top Ten Twitter Gaffes” lists (here’s one to check out) and if you’ve ever seen one, you’ll know that each one is nothing short of cringe-worthy. Of all the social media platforms, Twitter is the one that poses the greatest threat for posting, intentionally or not, something inappropriate. This is due to the 160 character limit, which causes many people to churn out loads of tweets everyday.
Here are five tweeting pitfalls to avoid. These will make your Twitter feed both interesting to others and safe from trouble!
A flame war is a progressively escalating argument that begins between two or more people on the internet. These things get out of hand quickly. Because of the lack of tone in tweets, posts, emails, comments, etc., people often go to the negative when they are unable to determine the nature of a comment. This can set off some very ugly exchanges. In fact, there are people who enjoy starting these types of wars and they are un-affectionatly referred to as trolls. So what to do when someone takes a poke at you? Nothing. Leave it alone. Provided it isn’t a valid complaint about your business (which you should address, and was covered in a previous blog post) then you should walk away. Your mind may be screaming at you to respond; just don’t. It will escalate.
Tweeting about hot topics.
When one feels passionately about certain topics, religion and politics being the most common examples, it can be very tempting to weigh in on them. This is certainly fine for a private conversation, but always remember that what you tweet is available for all to see and is permanently documented there. A good (although slightly strict) guideline is to stick with topics that you would only mention in a business meeting or the workplace.
Speaking of topics that one would only mention in the workplace, frivolous tweets should also be noted. I’m sure that you had the best oatmeal ever this morning, but it certainly isn’t something that the world needs to know. There is no value in a tweet like that, and if you are tweeting for your business it can reflect poorly on you.
Have you ever looked at your Twitter feed and every third tweet is from a some business that you chose to follow at one point? What’s your reaction to that? Mine is to unfollow. Over-tweeting also gives the impression that you aren’t particularly busy at work! Balance out your tweets so that you aren’t dominating the feeds, of your clients, friends and family.
This is a very common error that people make. Tagging (see previous post) is a method of categorizing topics on Twitter and other social media platforms. Tags are searchable, and so people will sometimes tend to overtag their tweets in order to gain more exposure. What you end up with is a tweet that feels inorganic and strange. Here’s an example:
The tweet feels contrived and the effect on the reader is ultimately a negative one. One or two tags is sufficient. Anything past that and you run the risk of appearing silly.
Follow these rules and you will have a long and prosperous Twitter career!
Andy Bush, President
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