Don’t Make These Top 10 Twitter Etiquette Mistakes!

Those who know me, know that I am big on manners. People who don’t say thank you for presents or the time you give #Rude. People who don’t let you know they aren’t coming when you’ve made arrangements. #Rude. People who say they will ring and don’t. #Rude. People who don’t say thankyou when given their change at the shop. #Rude. People who don’t say thank you when a car driver lets them cross at the Zebra crossing. #Rude. Now, other than that last one I practice what I preach. If I don’t, if I’ve forgotten somewhere to say thank you then pick me up on it. I’ve worked with people who drove me mad because they were wholly incapable of saying “Please”, “Thank you” or equally important “Sorry”, but expected everyone around them to be flexible and do things for them. Even been known to get into grievance territory because of it! In my personal life I recently cut someone out of my life who although purported to have the same standards failed on many levels many times and was extended to being rude to my family which was the final straw.

So, I could write a book about people’s bad manners and individuals. But now I have a new bug bear. Twitter. People are rude on there and frankly, stupid. Don’t you find the same? As I write this I have 1600 followers and I expect a few people to read this and unfollow me! I’ll probably be down to 20! But I do know that many of my followers agree with me. I tweeted asking what people thought was rude on Twitter and some strong opinion came through!

Good Manners Extend to Twitter!
Good Manners Extend to Twitter!

The rudeness that annoyed me to start off the research and post was the ignorance of so many people who I directly tweeted to say that I had linked to their page. Not one person, not one tweeted back to say “Thank you”, never mind look at the page or do a reciprocal! I would take the link off the page but as all the links are to useful websites providing all the discount places in one place and I use it as quick and easy reference as of course do you! But let’s just name them. Topcashback, SavvyMummys, Groupon, Wowcher, Sir Savealot and Living Social. I followed them all and one or two even followed me and yet nothing. #Rude. If @Martinslewis can respond to individuals and he does, often AND sets up times to do Q & A then so can they with 10s of thousands fewer followers tweeting them for a reply! Then there was someone I followed whose Bio said they were interested in good and bad PR. (Quite! A blog right up their street! Nope, no response so he just got an unfollow). Many of my followers waded in here too saying that celebs are as rude. I’m not so sure, depends on how many tweets they get and certainly some celebs do respond and I do think when asking a reasonable question as I did  it is not unreasonable to expect a reply.

People #ff 5 people in a tweet. Those 5 people RT it? Why? That is not just rude it’s STUPID. Idiots are RTing to people who already follow them. Huh? D’oh! Oh perhaps they think ah this kind person has #ff me so I should follow the others in that list. Nope. The amount of people who I have seen RT a #ff list which I am in and don’t follow so what is the point in RTing? Seriously? Just say thankyou. Perhaps it’s laziness as well as stupidity and rudeness?!

Just listing names in #ff that’s rude as well. I don’t always do them but when I do, I personalise them and say why people should follow them. Respectful to them and my other followers.

DMs or tweets telling me to look at your website. No I won’t. Why should I when you haven’t engaged in conversation with me? Call them out on it that’s what I say! Many times I’ve dm’d back and said you look at my blog and let me know what you think. But usually one can’t dm back because they set up their auto dms but don’t follow back so one can’t dm! I’ve taken to doing it openly now saying “Can’t dm you back to your auto dm telling me to look at xyz you might like to look at my site etc.” Not one has done but they expect me to look at theirs. Sometimes it gets a response because I put a “.” before the “@” so all my followers see it so they try and make amends! But mostly they are foolish and don’t respond and get an unfollow! Not good business sunshine, usually gets you an unfollow as well!

People telling me to go and follow someone else. Fine if you give me a reason and do it as a #ff. But no, some fools think that I will go follow someone because s/he has told me to do so. The person telling me (not asking!) to follow doesn’t even follow me. That doesn’t get an unfollow that gets a block and quite often a “report as a spammer”!

Here’s an odd one. One of my lovely followers asked me what I thought about people joining in other people’s conversations on Twitter. I thought here we go I’ve probably done it to her and she’s going to tell me I’m rude. So I said Twitter is open DM for private conversations. But no, it was ridiculous, in a matter of a couple of weeks someone had told her not to join in a private conversation and a follower of hers was told the same AND blocked. That’s just rudeness and stupidity on a big scale. Twitter is SOCIAL. Get it? If it’s private dm it. Simple. I meant to go and follow the culprits and deliberately get involved in a conversation but I forgot, but I may still do if just in the name of research for another post you understand, not just pure bloody mindedness. Ahem.

People who directly ask me to RT their tweets. I don’t really have a problem with that. I do however think it’s rude when I’ve RT’d for them without being asked and they’ve done nowt for me!

People who just tweet links to their own site and are just self promoting that is so boring why would I want to follow you? If your site is so great I’ll look at it regularly anyway. Twitter is a Social network so those people get unfollowed too!

People who send automatic dms saying “Thankyou for the follow now go and look at xyz” NO. I’ll just go back and unfollow you actually. You want to thank me for following do it with an “@” because that may start a conversation. BECAUSE TWITTER IS SOCIAL. Get it yet? Trying to sell before anything else is rude. It is also bad business sense. Soon as you meet someone at a network event do you go straight in for the sell? (Bet you sell very little if you do!) Don’t do it on Twitter.

The percentage of people visiting blogs who leave comments is very very low. I recently engaged in conversation with someone on Twitter, left a good chunk of comment on her blog and she didn’t follow back. A mutual friend had put us both in a #ff that day too. She got an unfollow a few days later! Someone is good enough to leave a comment on your blog you follow them back to say thank you! Same with helping people out with advice. Don’t get their advice and then not follow them. #Rude!

On the 14th March 2014 I would like to add something. I don’t mind helping people out on Twitter I really don’t, it’s what it’s all about and I do it on an almost daily basis. I object however to the person who follows me gets loads of help then unfollows.  I just challenged someone who only follows about 150 people and says that he unfollowed because he was following too many people. Twaddle.  There will be other people he doesn’t interact with and you can make lists and that is just unnecessary and rude frankly. So you know what? You get blocked, I will spend the time helping someone with manners. Know what else? I don’t care If you have shed loads of money and want to pay for loads of my services, if you are rude you can go take a running jump. 🙂 I won’t get rich but I’ll enjoy chatting with the people with whom I work.

I’d like to say don’t use bad grammar but that’s impossible given the character restriction and as you can tell being succinct is my difficulty…

So in short:

1)      If people tweet you directly have the courtesy of tweeting them back
2)      Don’t RT #FF
3)      Explain your #FF
4)      Don’t DM telling people to do things unless you have engaged with them
5)      If you want someone to follow your mate at least follow that someone first and use the #ff convention
6)      It is NOT rude to join in a conversation on Twitter
7)      Make sure you have rt’d for someone before asking them to do something for you and/or at least follow them!
8)      Don’t self promote all day every day
9)      Don’t send DM’s trying to sell soon as someone follows you
10)    Follow people who follow you and go the extra mile for you!

So, go and unfollow me if you don’t like my standards!! Alternatively if you agree follow me @complainingcow and of course let me know your dos and don’ts here too! If you don’t agree and don’t follow me lets argue here!!

Maybe when I update the How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results book I should put in a chapter about teaching people manners?!

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53 thoughts on “Don’t Make These Top 10 Twitter Etiquette Mistakes!”

  1. How right you are, Helen. Just because it’s twitter doesn’t mean you can be rude or ungrammatical. When you are dealing with strangers in this way it’s common sense to be polite. I think I recognised myself in the body of your blog. Minding my Ps and Qs now.

  2. Thank you very much for spelling out some ‘dos and ‘dont’s’ Helen. I am fairly new to Twitter and actually was unsure about the etiquette! This helps me a great deal, so much appreciated!

  3. Helen, I also agree. I do however have to say that more than a few times I have written a comment on a post, which I have abandoned after trying multiple times to sign in, identify myself, or connect up with one of my Social Media accounts – frustrating. Too many platforms!

  4. Do agree generally, although sometimes when a conversation is half way through but I want to join in I do *cough* It is my way of acknowledging they are already chatting, but my poor deluded brain thinks I can contribute.

    I also have a problem with Blogger….it hates wordpress, I love comments, and love seeing what other people are doing, but if they dont have a name/url facility I cant comment.except under my real name.

    1. That’s a good idea for joining in a conversation, I haven’t yet had a problem but I’m sure I will. Next time I interrupt I might do that *cough!

      Not sure about Blogger I don’t use it.

  5. Hi Helen, thank you so much for this post. I’ve been looking into some guidelines on best practices for navigating the world of Twitter, and this is an excellent guide to some of the do’s and don’t’s of that (occasional) morass of chaos. I really like number 3, mostly because I’ve had that impression (and you’ve confirmed I’m onto something here) when someone I’m following posts a #ff tweet but gives no reason why. I’m sure that’s nice for the people mentioned and all, but… Conversely, one person I’ve followed explained _why_ I should follow those other folks, and sure enough, I explored through the Twitter names mentioned and found two new people I’m interested in chatting with!

    Thank you again for the advice! It’s much appreciated. 🙂

  6. This is a brilliant lesson in social manners – I hope many read it and take it on board! And thank you for making me laugh!!

  7. Why would assumptions be made that just because we are not in physical proximity that manners and etiquette are not required. It is communication after all? I must hold my hands up though to occasional poor grammar etc due to tweeting in the gym or I’m general without my glasses on. I also make mistakes when my brain moves faster than my typing digits.

    Thank you for making me reflect though. I have 100’s of students follow me and always make clear attempts to respond to them and anyone else in fact who takes the time to say hello.


    1. Ah yes well I belong to the Grammar police and I hate the 140 character restriction so you have to choose how many Laws to break! Then there’s the speed thing and not being able to type quick enough!
      Thanks for your comments!

  8. I agree wholeheartedly with every one of these. I find it unbelievable that people fail on many occasions to say ‘thank you’. I had thought politeness was heavily ingrained in us since childhood! Also – I’ll add one more – bit of a seasonal rant but DON’T tweet me sales messages on Christmas Day! Having said all that I love Twitter and find the offenders to be in the minority. Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

  9. Very perceptive observations and I agreed with them all!

    Personally, I’m never sure whether it is polite to join in a conversation or even start a conversation with someone you don’t know. The number of times I have typed a reply and then deleted it before posting! And I’m not usually a shy and retiring type!

    1. Oh respond! If people think you are rude then they can take a running jump. Twitter is a social tool, if they want their conversations private they should use DM simple! You tweet want you want! Jemima above suggested using a “*cough” which I think is a good idea if you really aren’t sure. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  10. Spot on! I love the way you just tell it like it is and should be!! Auto DM’s are my pet hate, annoying and lazy! Twitter is about being social and engaging! Thanks 🙂

  11. So so true Helen as its all about etiquette. The constant DM’s I gain just shows how much these “social media experts” value the person at the end of them. Where have the days gone whereby you build and nurture relationship offline and or online. Why sell, sell, sell when chatting on a personal level is so much easier and nicer too do? Like you don’t like uninvited DM’s I take umbridge to spam emails sent to me This said I have a mock up email all about my company and our services that I send out to anyone that dare blanket email me. Funny how their response is that of amazement as you had the cheek to spam them back. As the saying goes “If you cant beat em. join em”. Once again Helen I thank you for taking the time to complain, as its was well worth your time and mine:-)

  12. [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Comment Language]
    We tweeted about these #rude behaviours only recently, the auto DM’s are very annoying. we like to do #ff s singularly , one follow at a time, with a reason o follow. I will say I don’t always automatically follow back….sometimes I feel they are following for a reason (maybe for the advice we tweet). We may not want to follow back because they only tweet in Chinese ! I do. not.

    1. Absolutely. It’s really annoying me lately that people have used my tips but don’t even follow me or write a comment on the blog. Or even tweet a link to something they find useful. So damn rude! Just gonna check that I’m following you given that you have commented on my Blog!

  13. Pingback: Mistakes that you shouldn't be making on social media | Social Media Made Simple
  14. I do love you to bits because you don’t hide or coverup your opinions. instead you say it exactly as you see it. If the world had more people like you we’d all have a lot less Facebook friends but a lot more real friends.

    Let’s take it like this. All the things I list below are things you wrote and I disagree with. For all the other things you wrote I want to give you a big cuddle and put the kettle on.

    So here we go.

    #ff. Retweeting #ff’s have become a part of Twitteretiquette. It is the equivalent of saying thank you. I’m fine with it and take no offence.

    Explaining #FFs great if you can do it, but not necessary. A normal #ff is also a sign of respect to other tweeters that you have taken notice of them.

    People who just tweet to their own blog. Well I certainly don’t JUST do that but I do it a lot and make no apologies about it. I have followers all over the globe and they follow Twitter at different times. People are bombarded with offers any way and I have to keep my work in front of their eyes as much as possible (without spamming). Otherwise they will forget. Some people will check in regularly some won’t. Some subscribe to the email, some won’t.

    People not responding. I don’t take it personally the first few times. They might have just missed it. But if it continues then it’s an unfollow.

    1. Thanks for the lovely response, here’s mine!
      1) Nope. I can be in 3 #FF tweets with 5 other people. They all rt. That is 15 stupid ridiculous pointless annoying tweets in my mentions timeline. A simple thank you suffices. #ff I think has almost been rendered useless anyway, how many people actually follow someone using the #ff? The amount of people who actually pointlessly rt the #ff with my name in it and don’t even follow yet more proof that rting #ff is isiotic.
      2) Explaining #ff might not be necssary but as point 1) above so few people actually do it giving a reason is helpful, it tells people why you shoudl follow them and you can then decide whether good for you. It’s helpful.
      3)You fool, you aren’t disgareeing, I tweet to my blog ‘doh! I set up tweets throughout the 24 hours too but you and I both know that you and I also engage with lots of other people and rt and tweet other stuff so don’t count that as a disgareement you wally.
      4) I think you are agreeing really. Stop trying to find something to disgaree with me on. 😉

  15. In addition to my tailor you are the only person who can insult me without me taking one bit of offence at it. How did you get so charming?

    Regarding the #ff. You are still wrong. #ff ‘s are a part of the Twitter culture, they are a recognition of other people on twitterdom. Silly it may be, but so’s the fact that I have to wear a tie to work four days in the week. I accept that that’s just part of the culture and embrace it… you should see my tie collection.

    1. Never been called charming in my life! What are you after? I have no money. Ah was saracasm? Flipping ‘eck that took me ages. That said if I am ultra polite to someone it usually means they are in trouble. My complaint letters are often ultra polite… factual, to the point and not nice but I’m not rude!

      I don’t have a problem with #ff, they are fine it’s the rting of them pointlessly to your own folowers to follow you that gets me, that and the cluttering up of my Twitter feed giving me the same message 20 times.

      Now, some of my followers are getting clever and trying to get me to rt tweets with #ff @complainingcow by tweeting very funny and/or clever tweets!! My favourites being “#FF @ComplainingCow (bit of a moaner but for all the right reasons ;-))” from @ieoffice and
      “Good Friday #ff to @ComplainingCow. If we worked with everyone, she’d be defunct but for now her advice is invaluable.” from @newchapterlearn I can’t remember if I resisted or if I tweeted them!

      Now go away I have roast dinner to cook. 🙂

  16. I’m still green behind the ears when it comes to Twitter. What’s the etiquette when someone ‘favourites’ a tweet? Do I thank them and if so, how? Thanks

    1. People favourite things for different reasons. Some if it’s got a link in it just to read later by looking their favourite list for ease, others because they think your tweet was funny etc. I don’t know of anyone who says thank you for favouriting.

  17. Yet another factual,honest and open blog ( I would have expected nothing less )
    As I read, I found myself nodding in agreement and smiling at you ” hitting the nail on the head “.
    I find too many,blatantly rude and disrespectful,without any concept of what ” good manners ” are.
    My pet hate is retweeting….. If one retweets to help a business get more exposure or because you agree,the very least one should expect is an occasional retweet back now and again…… But noooo this act seems alien to certain people.
    I definitely find celebs the most rude, @thejeremyvine is my top ” hate to follow ” but the topics he covers are of interest to me so I continue following with gritted teeth.
    I think it would only be common courtesy to ” favourite ” a tweet, so at least the tweeter knew it had been seen.
    Manners cost nothing,yet,sadly, they seem to be used less and less these days.
    Thank you Helen 🙂 ….. Great blog.

  18. Where do I start, Oh I know, Thank you 🙂 I must have broke a few of these in my time but not intentionally, but I make an effort never to be rude! But I now now where I go wrong 🙂 Brilliant post loved it!

  19. Excellent piece, Helen.

    The problem I find is that if I’m using my phone I can’t always access Twitter and think ‘I’ll do that later’ – then forget. One recommendation someone gave me recently was to ‘favourite’ a tweet you wish to go back to later, but I keep forgetting to look at those too!

    Some people are disorganised and, although not wanting to be, are in fact being rude. Having been on the receiving end of rudeness from other tweeps, I hate to think that I might have caused the same resentment in others so will review the way I use Twitter in future.

    Thanks for another fantastic post!


  20. Moovelous post as always Helen, thank you!

    I will be revising my #ff methods as you’ve made total sense of course. (Doh!)

  21. Blimey, just realised how long ago that blog conversation started – must stop doing three things at once and check more carefully. …comforting sick dog, ironing, listening to Radio4 maybe paying proper attention is another one to add to the politeness list!
    Fran x

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