Etiquette comes with everything social – be it real life or your virtual life. The said and unsaid rules not only help you get a position in the world, they also serve as a guidance to make the position better. Many might disagree saying social networks are all about free speech and so, they can tweet anything in any way. Maybe, but your freedom ends just at the point where my nose begins!
Every business house has its own set of rules when it comes to communication. If not, one person from the business would be saying something that the other person from the same entity would be contrasting. After going through some of the business communication rules for Twitter that are implemented by different business houses, here is a summary of Twitter etiquette 2012 for business. This may also apply to your personal accounts if you wish to make the most out of the ever increasing benefits of the social networking site.
Decency On Twitter
Your tweets should be decent. If not, you and your company may suffer embarrassment at hands of people ready to sue at the drop of hat. At the least, you may be moved to some other department where you cannot access Twitter.
Check Your Facts
You should not make up things on your own assuming that no one will figure it out. You need to check them out before tweeting. In case of business houses, people are following you to know about the latest happenings in your business. If the facts are wrong, it may affect their interest in your business and/or your business shares.
A case I remember relates to a news channel tweeting Obama shot at his house in Pakistan. After facing much embarrassment on the Internet, it apologized and corrected itself saying Osama was shot dead and Obama is safe in the US.
This also applies when retweeting links. Check out what they say before retweeting them to your followers else you may get into trouble.
Spelling On Twitter
It is cool these days to alter the spellings. As a business house, you need to stick to “cool” instead of “kewl” unless your business targets teenagers who love experimenting with things.
Grammar On Twitter
It is hard to follow grammar rules on Twitter, owing to the limit of characters each tweet can have. But that does not mean you should get away by tweeting things like, “Y U NO give us a call at our CC num?” It takes little editing to alter tweets so that you can create one without killing parts of speech. If the tweet becomes lengthy, you can use sequencing. For example, “Today is National Health Day and we are celebrating it. (1/2)” followed by “On this occasion, we are arranging a quiz at 10PM (2/2)”. Using numbers allows you to write tweets neatly while others can understand by looking at the sequencing that more related to the first tweet is to follow.
Referring To Third Parties On Twitter
According to the unwritten rule of Twitter, if a tweet starts with a handle name, it is a tweet addressing that person. For example, if you encounter a tweet that goes, “@powercutin how have you been?”, you can understand that the person tweeting that is asking another user with the handle name @powercutin. Trying to change this can result in confusion. If you need to address third parties, it is always better to use their names followed by their handle name in brackets. Check out the following example:
In the above image, the name of “Times Of India” is mentioned and then its handle (@timesofindia) is indicated so that people understand it is not a conversation between me and @timesofindia. This prevents misunderstanding.
Retweets ARE Indeed Endorsements
When you retweet anyone, you basically quote them. You might have seen the line “retweets are not endorsements” in the bio of many people on Twitter. Simply writing it down in bio does not mean that the general idea of retweets would change. If someone tweets “I love candies” and you retweet it, others reading your retweet will assume you too love candies.
The AP (Associated Press) Style Guide in this regard says you should make it explicit that you are retweeting someone and NOT actually supporting the statement. For example, if @WinObs tweets “Windows 8 let me reset everything and works very well” and you simply retweet it, it will look as if you are supporting the statement. Instead, consider saying: “Our @WinObs says that Windows 8 lets him reset everything and works very well” or better still, use “Richard Hay (@WinObs) says that Windows 8 lets him reset everything and works very well”
Dealing With Trolls On Twitter
If you are on any public platform, you will have trolls. On Twitter, it is the case with anyone having a good number of followers. Trolls are people who interfere without any invitation and try to break your flow or conversation with others. You must have heard of the saying, “Don’t try to argue with a fool. He will bring you down to his level and beat you with his experience”. It applies to dealing with trolls on Twitter too.
The best method for dealing with trolls is stated by Twitter itself – ignore if possible, else block. Try to ignore the person trolling you to the extent you can. In case the troll gets abusive to an extent that you start feeling irritated, block him. You may also report him for spam if you wish. In some cases, you may go ahead and file a complaint for abuse – depending upon how the troll’s behavior impacted you.
These were some points about Twitter etiquette for 2012 from what I could grasp from the literature available with different online companies, including the Associated Press. If you can add anything to the above, please do.