Social Media Etiquette Series, Part II: Twitter

Though our vehicles of communication have changed, proper etiquette remains a key to successful interactions. In this three-part series, we will provide tips to help you become more etiquette savvy with Facebook, Twitter, and sharing tools such as Digg, Delicious and Reddit.

In the first post of the series, we offered suggestions for managing your Facebook profile and tips to keep you on the appropriate social networking etiquette path. In this second post of the series, we will offer the etiquette guidance to follow for your Twitter presence.

Give credit. This simple rule is a crucial part of the Twitter community. Simply copying and pasting content without giving credit is considered a violation of Twitter etiquette. Digital media journalist and social media strategist, Vadim Lavrusik, points out that there are a few different ways to show your followers where you are receiving your subject matter: Retweet (RT), via, or HT.

RT: Twitter has a built-in RT function that gives the original poster credit, but it is more insightful to rewrite the tweet and include a short comment on the content.

: Many people rewrite a tweet and attach “via @CaliberGroup” at the end to give credit. The most appropriate time to use via is when the tweet has been altered into your own words.

: Though it is the less common option, several tweeters use HT when they have “heard” or read content that they want to share. HT stands for “heard through” or “hat tip.” HT is typically used when someone points a user to content they want to share in a conversation.

Understand you only have 140 characters. Lengthy tweets can post in two parts on the rare occasion. But if something cannot be phrased in 140 characters or less, another medium may be a better vehicle for the message.

Don’t  #hashtag excessively. Hashtags (i.e. #Tucson) are helpful when users want to find tweets about a specific topic through Twitter search. They are primarily used for breaking news or when tweeting live from an event, webinar, or workshop. A post will not receive more exposure if you hashtag more than two words in one tweet. It just becomes unreadable.

Respond and thank. Responding to followers that engage you is not only the courteous thing to do, but it will also help you find and maintain meaningful connections. When someone takes the time to comment on something you shared, not responding or thanking them for the RT or mention implies a lack of community interest.

Link with consideration. Note that you are speaking to a network of people that will most likely want more information on the topic you’re tweeting about. It is considerate to give them the link to your information source so they don’t have to go out of their way to find it.

It is also considerate to shorten the URL, using Hootsuite’s or and other sites like Tip: People may avoid retweeting your content because the links are not shortened.

Don’t be (only) a self promoter. In a previous post which discussed how to gain more Twitter followers, we mentioned one of the key tactics is to establish relationships. Engaging and interacting with others means responding, sharing and retweeting—not advertising your brand in every post. Sharing your own content is acceptable when done tastefully and infrequently, but becoming a Twitterfeed of self-promotional content will drive followers far away.

Stay tuned for one more post from the Social Media Etiquette Series!

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