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Twitter has exploded over recent years to the point where your friends, family members and favourite celebs are all part of one massive network, but since the early days there have been people who don’t get it, misuse it or simple do it wrong. This post rounds up a collection of common crimes that Twitter veterans and newcomers will all be able to relate to, are you guilt of any of them?
Hiring people tweet on your behalf
The biggest criminals in the whole of Twitterville has to be the celebs who try to gain extra cool points by being on Twitter, but they end up with a profile updated by their ‘team’. There’s a decent collection of high profile celebs who “get it”, but the majority simple don’t understand the whole meaning of Twitter and end up talking at their fans with no personal interaction.
Whether you’re an average Joe or this year’s hottest idol, you should be Tweeting messages yourself. A get out of jail free card may be supplied to companies who use Twitter, who allow their employees to interact with customers and fans.
Tweeting spam messages, especially as a bot
No doubt we’ve all experienced this one, either as @replies selling you something or random messages when you mention a certain keyword. Companies soon caught on that Twitter was a good marketing and branding tool, but yet again they go about it completely the wrong way by trying to ram their message down your throat. Don’t bring junk mail and cold calling tactics into the digital age.
Keeping the default avatar and profile design
Nothing makes you stand out as a Twitter noob more than sticking with the default profile background and avatar. People follow other humans on Twitter; a default profile has no personality and doesn’t relate to you as a person. Make sure the first thing you do is upload a picture of yourself as your avatar and take the time to change the background image and colours of your profile.
Never responding to people
Twitter is a great communication tool, but many people don’t realise that communication is a two-way process. If you don’t respond to your @replies, mentions or comment on the status of others you’ll simply come across as an ignorant arse. Make sure you listen and engage with your followers, don’t just talk at them. A common excuse is users don’t want to fill up the streams of their followers with response messages, but they don’t realise your @reply tweets only show up in someone else’s stream if they’re following both you and the recipient.
Gaming your follower count
Twitter newcomers often get caught up on the all powerful follower count and try to game the system to increase their numbers by following people in a hope for a follow back in return, often just ditching them once they’ve gained that extra number. Be a real person, chat and engage with others and your follower count will grow naturally.
There’s a fine balance between every day social interaction and being an annoyance. Be careful not to get overzealous in your tweeting as it doesn’t take long for a person’s Twitter stream to become completely saturated with nothing but your tweets, especially those who don’t follow a great deal of people. If you’re tweeting links or any kind of self promotion give it at least 15 minutes between posts.
Twitter is limited to 140 characters for a reason. It’s aimed a short and concise messages, so don’t be that person who writes complete novel in their stream 140 characters at a time, with each successive tweet taking up more of your screen real estate. If you want to express yourself in more than 140 characters, consider writing a blog post and linking to it.
Converting every other word into a hash tag
Hash tags are one of the great resources Twitter provides which allow us to keep track of tweets based on a certain subject and find new friends. Hash tags are exceptionally handy for conferences and gatherings, but they can also be used to tag every day tweet content. Sometimes the odd person really gets it wrong and ends up converting every noun or verb in their tweet into a hash tag. The words in your tweets are crawled in searches anyway, so think about whether the word you’re hash tagging is really going to be worth clicking to see all the other tweets including that word.
Starting a tweet with “is…”
Finally we’ve got a petty crime that is often excused, but could be the start of the path that turns this person into a hardened Twitter criminal. Unlike Facebook, Twitter updates don’t start with your name, so posting updates starting with “is…” simple doesn’t make sense. You’re not observing yourself from a third person perspective, tell people what you’re doing as yourself.
Do you have any Twitter pet peeves of your own? Add any other Twitter crimes you can think of as a comment.