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20 Guidelines for Twitter Success

Did you see the article called 7 Deadly Sins of Twitter? It's an evergreen post from October 2009 that pops up from time to time. I read it again the other day and posted it to my Facebook page. While the theme is irreverent a great technique to get more readers to your blog the advice from Zoey Dowling is spot on.

Zoey compares each one of the 7 deadly sins with a corresponding Twitter behaviour. While I've been guilty of most of the irritants at some point in my Twitter history, it started me thinking about how my use of Twitter has changed with experience. New users often struggle to balance professional and personal information in their stream. Like most things, with practice and a fair bit of trial and error, you can achieve a good balance. Here are my secrets:

Always try to:

  • Share the best content you can find
  • Reciprocate if someone tweets your content
  • Answer every mention
  • Reply to every direct message
  • Keep most of your tweets related to your line of work
  • Pick YOUR battles, don't get involved in every drama going

Never fail to:

  • Say thank you
  • Attribute any content you share and give credit to the tweep who first shared it
  • Unfollow anyone you find offensive and don't offer commentary on the situation

Things NOT to do:

  • Don't bag anyone, especially your partner
  • Avoid the mundane, banal, scatological and tasteless
  • Never use profanity
  • If you grandmother would be offended by a tweet, don't send it.
  • Avoid politics
  • Avoid sexual topics
  • Avoid religion
  • Don't `out' anyone to Twitter unless they have a Twitter ID. This includes your family and especially your children. Don't mention their names. Don't talk about them except in the most indirect terms.
  • Don't say anything on Twitter you wouldn't openly say in front of your management team at work.

Keep in mind:

  • Every tweet could potentially be presented to you at the interview for your dream job.
  • Everything you tweet will be kept for eternity.

Of course, these rules are meant to be broken. Adhering to them helps me to achieve a professional, yet friendly, tone. I love Twitter but if you're using it for business you can't afford to let it all hang out. There are a lot of ways to get yourself in trouble in the Twitterverse but none of them are difficult to avoid if you take a moment to consider what you're really trying to accomplish.

What are your personal guidelines for Twitter?

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Image Credit: tweet by D'Arcy Norman, on Flickr