pssss….Don’t miss the bonus giveaway at the bottom!
In the world of etiquette, mom and dad probably taught you to shake hands and clink glasses. But unless they had a crystal ball, they didn’t even consider talking to you about Twitter etiquette.
Are there really best practices when it comes to tweeting selfies and sharing your thoughts about last year’s Presidential race?
Yes. (Avoid doing so.)
If you are tweeting for professional reasons, following standard Twitter etiquette rules isn’t just about having a sense of online social grace. It’s about protection.
Why? Because your gal-pal convo over martinis is different than chatting with your client over coffee. Sure, some of your business contacts will probably blur the line between friend and colleague. But there will always be those with whom you keep your suit coat buttoned and your tie straight.
From behind a screen it’s easy to lose sight of just how public your tweets really are. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself in the digital equivalent of being caught with your pants down.
Twitter etiquette keeps you from landing in the digital version of being caught with your pants down.Click to Tweet
We’ve covered Twitter etiquette in the past. We discussed specific Twitter etiquette rules. We outlined how to respond to followers, replies, and retweets. We explained how Twitter cards work, the essential questions to ask when evaluating your Twitter presence, and what type of tweets attract engagement.
But we’ve noticed something’s missing – the why. As with any aspect of life or business, understanding why you’re doing something helps you do it better and with more consistency.
Why Twitter Etiquette Rules Matter
They protect you from unnecessary confrontation.
Would you want a client meeting to digress into a debate about gun control, abortion rights, or immigration policies? Probably not.
Yes, there will be instances when you need to take an unpopular stand. This could be a policy change within your business, publicly backing an initiative or pledging support to a specific charity. No amount of Twitter etiquette can ensure you won’t face any public backlash. However, consciously choosing a path is far different than making an offhand comment.
In the same way dinner party etiquette keeps the conversation rolling along smoothly, Twitter etiquette helps protect you from unnecessary confrontation. The bottomline, think before you tweet and make sure you pick your battles wisely.
(If you’re looking for a good book on how to be civil and why it’s important, we highly recommend Stephen L. Carter’s Civility.)
They help you avoid looking self-centered.
Consider those with whom you have the best relationship, professionally and personally. Are your conversations one-way? Probably not. Most likely they involve a healthy combination of listening actively and asking genuine questions.
Those who do nothing but talk about themselves end up looking self-centered. Twitter etiquette helps you avoid looking self-centered and helps you form stronger relationships.
They shield you from appearing unprofessional.
Unless you work at a paddleboard company, chances are slim you’d ever attend a client meeting in your bikini. Why? It’s not professional and it wouldn’t instill a sense of trust between you and your client.
Twitter etiquette helps you avoid digital hiccups that can make you appear unprofessional.
The Big Take Away
The golden rule really is golden. Tweet unto others how you would like to be tweeted. If you can’t say something nice, just don’t say it - there are enough trolls already. Be gracious and humble - that doesn’t mean you are weak, it just means you are smart. Don’t worry about trigger warnings or the like - you can’t avoid offending somebody at some point - just try to be civil and aware of other people. Because at the end of day, people want to know people who are sincere and kind.
It’s too easy to be mean. Work a little harder to be kind.
Rather than get your knickers in a bunch over whether you’re using Twitter etiquette correctly, simply reference our cheat sheet. Use this one-page guide to ensure your online handshake is firm and your digital glass-clink true.
Save our Twitter etiquette cheat sheet for later.