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How To Use Twitter Without Being A Douchebag

You know who I’m talking about. The broadcasters. The nothing-but-links people. The non-engagers. The auto-DMers.

The Twitter douchebags.

You don’t want to be a Twitter douchebag. No, you really don’t. Take that finger off that auto-DM function! Don’t do it! No one likes them. Seriously. NO ONE.

When I try to explain Twitter to people that don’t use the platform, I always say the same thing: it’s like a massive, non-stop cocktail party, and you should behave on Twitter exactly the way you would at a cocktail party. Would you stand in a corner and yell out the name of your company over and over? Obviously not.

Networking on Twitter is just like networking in person. Some folks are shy, some are congenial and friendly, some share way too much personal information (guilty as charged, yo!), some are too pushy and aggressive, and some are going to be excellent connections and may even become friends.

But chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know most of this. It’s likely that you already practice good Twitter behavior (you would NEVER send an auto-DM, no, not you!). But here are some more unusual things you might not be thinking about when you hang out on Twitter.

1. Think before you retweet. If you’re working with brands, you might want to hit the pause button before you retweet that link slamming a company’s behavior. Big brands own lots of smaller brands these days, and you might be a brand ambassador for the very company that article is slamming. No, this hasn’t happened to me, why?

2. Be a professional, all the time. No, I am NOT talking about me. DUH. I’m that crazy girl on Twitter! But you, yes, YOU need to be professional, even when you’re watching the Oscars. However, YOU have to be the one that defines what professional is for your Twitter stream, and act accordingly.

3. Don’t drink and tweet. I know, this one is easy for me, I’m sober! But I’ve seen more folks have to delete tweets that went public, but were meant to be DMs, after imbibing, particularly at conferences! Oh, my GOD, the drunken conference tweets. Seriously, just don’t do it. It really is not that critical that you be tweeting right then. Honest.

4. If you have more than one Twitter account, have a management system in place. The vast majority of public relations gaffes that have happened on Twitter can be traced directly to folks confusing their personal and professional Twitter streams. This might be why I only have the one; I like to keep my gaffes all in one place.

5. Don’t automate. I know it’s tempting. But Twitter is about engagement, and if you are sending out links and tweets and aren’t checking in to respond to people, you look like a total douchebag. Not to mention that you do NOT want to be that person tweeting out links about your products or blog posts when a horrible tragedy is unfolding. It’s simply not worth it; you’ll get unfollowed at the speed of light that way.

I hope these tips help. Down with douchebags!

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