Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Be in the 'in-group' on Twitter! Twitter is not about always answering the question, "What are you doing?" Sometimes that is great. But Twitter is really about the conversation.

To respond to others use the @ symbol. For example you might say

@pharris I agree with the idea of progressive education in that article you referenced.

In your profile make sure you list a blog or place where people can learn more about you. When I get a list of people to approve, I look at each person, their Twitter page, with whom they are conversing, and their blog page. If they have no updates and are following 12,000 people, they are probably selling something. If they have 500 updates but aren't using the @ symbol to converse with anyone, they're probably misusing Twitter.

Be sure to include enough information in your reply to let the recipient know to what you are referring. On word replies like "no" give no information to the context of the conversation. Most of us are conversing with several people while doing several other things at the same time. It may even be several hours until we check our replies, depending on the demands of real life.

Follow people outside of your country of origin. Widen your horizons. Follow people within your line of work from around the globe. Twitter is a global platform. Exploit it as such.

If someone ask for a resource and you know of one, reply. If someone asks a question, and you can answer, then take a moment to do so. Twitter is a participatory network, not passive entertainment. Twitter, or any social networking tool, is NOT your RSS feed. Unless the post is part of the conversation, do not announce it on Twitter.

If you can add more Twitter tips or refute any of mine, please leave a comment below.

Photo courtesy of emilychang. The original is available at and covered under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.


JenW said...

Thanks, Durff......
I think you covered it well.

My favorite part was the reminder that Twitter is NOT your RSS feed.

People don't need to post blog links -- that is what we have RSS for -- or friends, who are more than welcome to post blogs they think are worth reading!!

Smiles and hugs

mrsdurff said...

Sometimes I can see where posting a link does work though, like when posting a challenge or survey. It shouldn't be every day, just 'cause.

Janice Stearns said...

I love how you respond with humor and respect to a great many people. You are a model twitterer! I think your post on Twitter is perfect advice for us all. Thanks for making me laugh unexpectedly many times.

Nergiz said...

I like your post and agree with everything except that posting links to blogs or blog updates it not OK.

I'm against it for two reasons:

1. Many follow bloggers through Twitter. And, I if I know I have followers who are interested in my blog's topic, it's a good way to let them know. I have feedjit on my blog which not only lets me see where people are from but also which website they arrived from. Many are from Twitter.

2. I think it is all right to describe what a tool is used for. But, I don't think it is OK to create restrictive rules. As you say yourself, most of us do not use it for the purpose that Twitter originally had in mind (What are you doing?).

But again, other than this one sentence, I agree very much with what you say, especially the bit that says "Be sure to include enough information in your reply to what you are referring."

Thanks a lot!