I’m a strong believer in online etiquette and I guess over time I’ve created a few rules in my own mind which I try to follow as regards to my use of Twitter. They are loose, but kind of sum up my approach to the tool.
- never, EVER, split a single comment across multiple tweets – 140 chars is enough, or you’re saying too much at once.
- don’t be too verbose or noisy (I guess this amounts to “don’t Twitter too much”)
- don’t be broadcast-only, try to respond to comments and questions
- don’t use Twitter just for chatting (i.e. don’t spend too much time on @replies)
Whether these make sense or not is another debate, but they sum up what my use of Twitter is all about. I have a level of tolerance for others who break my rules, but eventually I tend to unfollow people who do (particularly the multiple tweets rule, which just really annoys me)
My level of twittering fluctuates – some days I don’t say much (last week nothing at all as I was away from technology all week), other days I’m quite chatty. Right now I guess I’m very noisy, as I’m at the Web 2.0 Expo.
Yesterday I had my first instance of unfollowing that was explicitly put down to how much of a firehose my Twitter stream had become:
So I guess the rules I’ve established in my own mind do matter to other people as well. I can understand that.
It’s interesting to note that for a while I unfollowed my friend Luis Suarez because of his tendency to break some of these rules. He now has a separate account for his conference-related twitterings. This seems like a reasonable compromise, but so far I’ve not been to enough for this to be a good reason to complicate my life with an additional account.
Oh, and Phil: I’ll get quieter again, I promise!