This is a post by Novel Publicity President, Emlyn Chand
Twitter is awesome. It’s a great way to connect with people who share your interests, an easy way to keep them updated about your goings-on, and just all-around good fun. But there’s a downside too. Some seriously spammy and irksome practices have emerged.
Several weeks back, I wrote a blog post called “10 Facebook statuses to avoid, 10 to embrace.” People seemed to really enjoy the article and requested a follow-up covering how not to tweet. Well, this is that article.
The following are things that really annoy me when it comes to Twitter usage. These practices might not irritate others, but chances are they do. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post to add to my list. I’d be more than happy to post a follow-up article!
True Twit Validation Service
I HATE True Twit Validation. I’ve gone on rants about it before. True Twit is annoying and sneaky. It’s not a problem I have to deal with anymore, because I’ve turned off email alerts and no longer check my DMs (to be discussed later in the post at length). But when I was a newbie to Twitter, I’d get several emails per day, stating I had to follow a link and enter a RECAPTCHA to verify such and such user. Who has the time for that? True Twit also says, “hey, open an account with us and you won’t have to verify people anymore.” But guess what? If you do that, then YOU send out these annoying messages to everyone who tries to follow you. At first, Twitter newbs might diligently perform the task, but eventually, they too will grow frustrated and quit validating their follows with True Twit. If you have this service activated on your account, it will cripple your following. Not a good practice.
Who.Unfollowed.Me is another app that I seriously hate. Do you ever get those @ mentions: “@novelpublicity @emlynchand @authorkarma unfollowed me today?” Why on Earth would you want to publicly tweet that? It does nothing of value and makes you look like a loser. Do you think by tweeting that the users will feel bad and follow you back? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. I wish I could unfollow you twice for being so annoying.
The DM (or Direct Messaging) feature on Twitter is actually really cool. I once used it quite a bit, but no more! When you amass a large following it just becomes too difficult to keep up, because there is so much DM spam circulating. What’s DM spam, you ask? Well, there are the accounts that are hacked and send out messages like “Better read this, it says really bad stuff about you…” and “I laughed when I saw this picture of you…” Then we also have the auto-DMs as well as users who send auto-DM-esque posts but haven’t figured out how to automate. These posts are often silly or boring greetings “Thank you for following me, I look forward to reading your tweets,” “Glad you’re following me! I LOVE TWILIGHT! I’m going to marry Edward one day,” or a link to a book purchase page, blog, or Facebook fan page, telling you to connect with them there. I can’t use the DM feature at all anymore, because it’s too cluttered with all this junk.
Asking people to follow you back
“Hi @novelpublicity I just followed you. Follow me back please! #teamfollowback” Really?! No, I’m not going to follow you back, because that’s obnoxious. A better approach might be: “@novelpublicity I just discovered your website and really enjoy your advice for writers. Am following you now.” This shows that you are actually interested in making a connection, not just in building your following.
Scheduling redundant posts
There are many really great apps that allow you to schedule posts: HootSuite, TweetDeck, SocialOomph are just a few of many. There are also RSS feed schedulers like TwitterFeed, NetworkedBlogs, Triberr, and the Tweet Old Post plugin for WordPress. Be mindful of how often you are sending out the same message. Setting an RSS feed to run every half hour or even every hour is way too often. Sending out the same message, announcement, or request over and over again won’t sit well with your tweeps. If you tweet 20 times per day and more than half of that consists of RSS links and repeated announcement-style posts, that’s just not good. Tweeting too many links will also get you flagged by TwitCleaner for misuse.
NOTE: TwitCleaner is a free app; go check it out now! You can run a scan of your Twitter account and find out if you engage in any spammy behaviors. TwitCleaner will tell you what you’re doing that could be perceived as misuse and how to correct it. You can also use the app to sort through the tweeps you follow and remove the spammers. The app has over a dozen misuse classifications and is a fantastic tool!
Posting tweets to Facebook
Don’t post your tweets to Facebook. Seriously, don’t do it. The tweet and the Facebook status updates are different animals. They’re different lengths, have different looks to the URLs, and most importantly require different post frequency. I can easily tweet around 50 times per day, which is definitely on the high side but is also okay on Twitter. I hardly ever update my Facebook status more than once or twice per day. If someone posted on Facebook 50 times in one day—I don’t care if that someone was my own mother—I’d probably unfriend or unlike ‘em. Some people have vehemently protested this point, saying it’s okay to post tweets to Facebook in order to save time. Nope, I disagree. Ultimately, it’s your call to make. Personally, I’ve disabled Twitter and all Twitter-related apps on Facebook, so I’m not going to see any of your tweets there anyway. Others might have done the same thing, so that’s something else to consider.
This point is two-fold. First, it’s not a good idea to use overly sexual or profane language on Twitter. Twitter is public access. Your tweets don’t just disappear into the interweb matrix. They live on forever and are searchable. Forever. Consider that. You also can never be too sure who is following you. There could be young children or someone from your personal life like your mother or an old flame. Just be careful about using expletives. If you’re a writer, you have another layer to worry about. Be personable, yes, but be mindful of your grammar too. Making constant spelling errors or resorting to text-speak might not cast you in the best light for potential readers.
Insulting other tweeps
I’ve had people hurl insults at me through Twitter a few times, and I’ve seen it happen to others. That’s not what Twitter is about. You don’t have to like everything everybody says, but you shouldn’t start a public battle either. If you really feel the need to be heard, try to find the person’s email address or send a DM, but don’t @mention them and then start your tirade. This is against the spirit of Twitter, and it makes you look like a jerk. If you find yourself the subject of an attack, try to ignore it (I know that’s hard).
#FF and #WW chains
This one probably surprises many of you. What Novel Publicity doesn’t like Writer Wednesday and Follow Friday? It seems like exactly the time of thing they’d like! Yeah, it seems like it. And I actually really like getting #WWs and #FFs that are written just to me or to Novel Publicity. Tweets like “#FF @novelpublicity their article on how to set-up a Facebook page changed my life! Lots of awesome advice on their site.” I almost always respond to these tweets with a thank you and throw an #FF back at the tweep who sent it. These heartfelt Twitter testimonials are very touching. What I don’t like is this: “#FF @novelpublicity @emlynchand @authorkarma @novelducky @etc,” but this is what I see the most. Just giant chains of Twitter user IDs with an #FF tacked on. I’m sorry, but that’s spam, people! Tell me you disagree, I dare you 🙂
Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book!
Yes, I saved this one for the end, because you all knew it was coming. Too many authors assume it’s okay to constantly spam people with requests to buy their books. Why would anyone listen to you unless you try to build a relationship with them first? Twitter is about interaction. It can be a powerful sales tool, yes. But your efforts aren’t going to be very effective unless you build real relationships. There are a lot of cool people on Twitter. Get to know some of them, why donthca?
While I was writing this article, I was tweeting. I’ve asked my tweeps to tell me why they hate it when someone tweets BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK. I leave you with their responses.
LorcaDamon: If you’re a writer, tweet clever, profound things. THEN I’ll check your profile to see if you have a book for sale!
AuthorAPrice: I hate it because 1. I’m not their target audience, 2. It makes them seem 1-dimensional, & 3. Who honestly *likes* spam?
vBartles: I recently “unfollowed” someone who kept tweeting “buy my book” because I felt like she had nothing else to say. I skip commercials on tv with my dvr. I don’t want them on twitter! I prefer when someone else recommends a book.
Cecilia_Ryan: Because if you can’t say something more intelligent than ‘BUY MY BOOK’, it’s clearly not interesting enough to pay for.
EliaHawthorne: It reminds me of the “headon” commercial that no one likes. I don’t like being yelled at; the book should speak for itself.
EvangelineHan: I hate it when authors do that because it isn’t professional behavior. No self-respecting author would do that, IMO.
OceanDog: How many bestsellers r sold via twitter? Repeated ‘BUY MY BOOK’ & ‘READ MY BLOG’ tweets r spam, desperate & self defeating.
Grmarlow: I hate it because it’s not like I forgot the person had a book since the last time I saw a tweet about it.
Emlyn Chand is the president of Novel Publicity and a YA author. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her first novel Farsighted released in late 2011 and is of the YA genre. Learn more about Emlyn at www.emlynchand.com or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or GoodReads.