Monday, August 11, 2008

Twitter Etiquette 101: The Re-Tweet

Now that you know what a basic Tweet is, here's a new definition to learn to ensure that you retain basic Twitter Etiquette in your Twitterdeavors:
Re-Tweet: To post a copy of someone else's tweet on your own account.

If I were to post the following on my Twitter account...
The Periodic Table of Awesoments: very scientific, stupid-awesome --
...and if you were to really like it and want to post it as well, you could do so as long as you give credit to the original tweet.

An easy way to do so is to format your tweet like this:
"Re-tweet @netizenbane: The Periodic Table of Awesoments..."

By beginning with the word "Re-tweet" you are telling your followers that you're posting something that you found interesting from someone else. You're also giving your followers the opportunity to check out the original Twitter user's profile in case they find that person's posts interesting and choose to follow them as well.

Why do so?
Twitter is a community. Like other "Web 2.0" sites, Twitter depends on the input of its users to drive not only its content but also its relevance. If the community doesn't thrive, Twitter doesn't thrive. And communities thrive best when their members have at least a basic set of understood guidelines for behavior.

This is not to say that such guidelines are meant to restrict your use of this service. On the contrary, such guidelines are meant to enrich your experience!

So while you're learning the ropes, I'll continue to toss in any relevant behavioral tips. Feel free to use them as you please. In my opinion, the single-best piece of behavioral advice can be found at Wiki-Media's meta site under this heading:

Enjoy Re-Tweets responsibly,

Step One: The Tweet

Beginning at the beginning...

Each time you enter something into the 140-character box at the top of your Twitter account and click the box labeled "Update," you have posted what is called a Tweet.

Individual Tweets can be anything:
  • A brief reflection on a current event

  • A short joke

  • An interesting trip or hobby you're undertaking or considering

  • A link to something funny / interesting / frickin' awesome

  • A link to a news article

  • A link to an intersting blog or video

  • An image link (we'll get to this)

  • A quiz or poll question (if you have enough followers to actually get a response)

  • Or even just a funny / interesting thought you had about something random

But what you do NOT want to Tweet includes the following:

  • "What are you doing right now?" - this is the worst possible way to use Twitter. Trust me, I've stopped following everyone who uses it this way because, for most people, it is Simply. Not. Interesting.

  • The fact that you're sitting in traffic.

  • The fact that you're sitting in a waiting room.

  • The fact that you're stiting in traffic so you can go sit in a waiting room.

  • What you had for breakfast.

The point is: even though the Twitter site itself asks the evergreen question "What are you doing?" this is perhaps the single-least-interesting way to use the service and it virtually guarantees that nobody will care to follow your Tweets.


  • You have an incredibly intersting, hilarious or controversial perspective on things. Nobody cares what you had for breakfast...but if you make a darkly-humorous joke about having endangered species leftovers well, that's a different story and it might find a following!

  • You are a famous person. I could give a flying funk that you're out sun-bathing, but for some strange reason that I can't put my finger on, seeing the same Tweet from Jessica Alba would actually be of interest...especially if a photo link were attached.

  • What you are doing right now is actually quite unique. I could care less that you're waiting for your plane to take off. But it would be significantly more interesting that you're waiting for your turn to jump from your skydiving vessel! See the difference?

Final thought:

Do not take these pointers at face value. They, like everything else on this blog, are guidelines and are meant to help you learn to be a successful Twitter user and to have some fun with it! Find your own style and say what you want to say. After all, everything you post on here is, by definition, a unique Tweet. If nothing else, it is uniquely yours.

Have fun out there, you newbie Twits!


Image courtesy of - snag it on a t-shirt at their site, sassypants.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just Starting Twitter? Start Here.

So...just starting up with Twitter? Or considering doing so? We're here to help!

As experienced Twitter-ers, we realize that there's a lot more to it than 140-character "micro-blog" postings. Let us give you some pointers to start out.

We'll begin at the beginning and then get progressively and incrementally more advanced so you can not only learn what Twitter is and how to use it, but also many of the features that make it so fun, innovative and useful!

Welcome to Twitter Beginners. We're happy you came!