Do you tweet?

This micro blogging site is massive. There are now over 200 million users on Twitter and this number is rising every day! It now has real influence in the world. I'm there. Follow me @dougpitchers . I’ll follow you back. But like every social media platform there are certain guidelines that you should observe. They’re not rule per se… but break them and you will suffer a digital polite silence. A few unfollows and you may just detect a pixilated vision of tumbleweed blowing across your screen.

So read these top ten tips of Twitter etiquette and you won’t go far wrong.

1. Always add value. Very important. What you tweet should add value to your followers day. Posts like “Wondering what to have for lunch” followed half an hour late by ”went for a sandwich” while this may be fascinating to yourself (really?) It is not as interesting to your followers who will then unfollow you. Probably. Unless it’s your Mum. Who will be glad you’re eating well. Which leads me on to my next point.

2. Everyone can see what you’re tweeting. Your boss, your family, your friends. So don’t write anything you don’t want broadcast to the world. Simple you would think. But people have and will in the future lose jobs over things they have tweeted.

3. Don’t Overuse Hashtags These can broadcast your tweet to a wider audience by being posted on a number of threads related to you hash tagged word. But #Don’t #Overuse #Hashtags #in #Your #Tweets #It #Looks #Ridiculous #Stick #To #Three #or #Fewer. Need I say more?

4. A follow-back is nice, but it’s not required. You may be surprised by who decides to follow you. But that does not mean you have to follow them back. Blindly following everyone will make you look like a robot. Be a little discerning. People will get an idea of you by who you follow. It’s not a bad idea to follow influential users and people who frequently retweet or comment on your post, but not every single person.

5. Avoid Negativity. Criticism of a thing, a piece of media or something inanimate is ok. If you know what you are talking about (please make sure you do know at least a little bit or you will look like a plonker). Criticising individuals is not ok. Nothing good will come of it. Don’t go there.

6. Don’t auto DM people. (DM is direct message) Make it personal. I sometimes get a message saying how excited someone is to being followed by me. How they c can’t wait to see what I will tweet and how lovely life is and aren’t you looking lovely today. No. Make it personal or don’t send it. It’s no longer cool. If it ever was.

7. Number of tweets. Tricky one. Aim for about 4 or 5 a day. More than this you will risk clogging up people’s feed with just you and they will unfollow you just to shut up. I have had this. There were at least t 30 consecutive tweets from one person. I no longer follow them. Less than 4 or 5 and you may seem standoffish or you have very little of interest to say.

8. Don’t be an egghead. That’s the image you have (an egg!) if you haven’t personalised your profile. Give your profile a bit of personality. You can add a lot of image your page. Don’t go overboard though.

9. Self-promotion. Twitter is a social networking site. So a certain amount of shameless self-promotion is expected. But don’t make it just about you. People will tire of it quickly. That means unfollowing. Engaging with other users and sharing material that doesn't belong to you is as integral to the experience as the self-adulation. For every link of your own that you share, balance it out with two or three posts that engage with other users or share someone else’s content

10. Don’t just lurk. You've signed up for a twitter account Get active! Engage! You will need to start tweeting if you are hoping people will follow. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, how can you expect people to notice you? Start getting active on Twitter and engage with people.

Twitter can be fun. You need to be creative with why you say. You only have 140 characters to say it in. A lot can be said. It is strangely addictive. It is easy to while away hours in there! You have been warned

Hope to see you there!