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My personal Twitter policy. What's yours?

by David Spark on June 29, 2009

With all the endless discussion about how one should and shouldn’t use Twitter, I think it’s important that each person come up with a personal Twitter policy of how they want to use the tool. You don’t have to publish it like I do below, but I think everyone should write it down and look to it every now and then alongside their past tweets and see if they’re actually adhering to the policy they set for themselves. The reason I recommend this is because extremely well known and respected social media gurus don’t seem to have any personal policy whatsoever. Twitter just becomes this avenue for which they blast out every random thought that crosses their mind. I’ve unfortunately had to stop following people I truly respect solely because their Tweets would flood my feed, dominating all other tweets. In one case I stopped following someone because their tweets were 17 of the 20 most recent tweets in my feed.

With that said, here’s my personal Twittering policy. I invite you to share yours as well.

The only times I send out a tweet is if it satisfies one of the following conditions:

  • Share – If I find something cool online, I’ll share it, with a link.
  • Self promotion – If I just created something (e.g. article, video), I want people to see it.
  • Promote others – If a friend is doing something I like, or an event is happening I want others to attend, I’ll happily promote it.
  • Be funny – Sometimes I just have something funny to tweet.
  • Question – If I’m having a problem that I think my followers could answer.
  • Answer a question – If someone has a question for which I know the answer.

Two last personal rules:

  • If what I want to tweet doesn’t satisfy any of those conditions, I don’t tweet it. (On very rare occasions I’ve broken this rule.)
  • All my tweets must be self contained. Meaning that each tweet can be read and understood on its own, and has value. I don’t write tweets for which you’d have to be following my conversation to know what I’m referencing.

Do you have a personal Twitter policy? Does it achieve some personal or company goal? Does it help you build your brand? Or have you not even thought about it until now? Let me know.

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  • http://www.clearnightsky/blog/5 Steve Nelson

    Here’s a good rule: Don’t automatically feed your tweets over to Facebook unless you check in on Facebook to see people who reply to you there or to see interesting conversations that might have been started around your status.

  • http://www.lifewithoutpants.com Matt Cheuvront

    Good article David. As with everything in social media – ‘You get what you give’. It’s about managing your presence while continually reaching out and impacting new people. Cheers!

  • http://emerginglibrarian.blogspot.com Victoria Petersen

    Steve, that is an excellent point. It drives me crazy when some of my friends tweet constantly to their Facebook – all it does is clutter up that stream, and I’m seeing it all already on Tweetdeck.

  • David Spark

    I have discovered that not everybody’s Twitter philosophies are in sync. In fact, they’re far from it. But if you sit back and really examine how you want to use/should use the product and create a policy for yourself, you’ll have a much better experience and so will your followers.

    Lack of focus is what causes problems I believe.

  • http://djdoubledown.blogspot.com Doubledown Tandino

    Here’s my “twitter policy”… if you could call it that…

    First off: I like to abandon all set rules, guidelines, and expert advice regarding twitter. Not to discredit any “twitter expert” or “twitter guru” … but the fact that Twitter is something that people find the need to become experts about is one thing… the need to try to portray their Twitter uber-matrix awesomeness is another thing.

    HERE: 5 Ridiculous Goofy Ways I like to use Twitter (and why Twitter stirs up the same excitement as gambling):
    http://djdoubledown.blogspot.com/2009/06/5-ridiculous-goofy-ways-i-like-to-use.html

    I am quite successful using twitter. I post tips on occasion, but mostly, I use twitter how it should be used, as a light-hearted fun way to get people to listen to you by shouting into a void of random nothingness.

  • David Spark

    Those are some great tips. I just tweeted them out in fact. I was thinking so professional and straightforward, but geez, people do use Twitter to have fun, and you seem to have figured that out.

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  • http://twitter.com/CampHarrigan Scott Harrigan

    Dave thanks for re-tweeting this. You make some good points. I don't have a formal policy but what you are saying makes sense and oddly enough I happen to follow pretty much what you say you do.

    After watching Dancing with the stars I started following Kurt Warner on Twitter but the guy tweets so much that after a while you loose track of what he is saying. In one day alone the guy posted over 90 tweets and most of it was just him talking to others. I liken it to listening to half of a conversation.

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