How NOT to use Twitter

img_1605I don’t consider myself an expert on Twitter. But I’ve begun to notice things that irritate me and might annoy other people as well.

If you follow me, I will follow you back — unless it’s obvious from your tweets that all you want to do is force your book/product/agenda on me. Twitter is a cocktail party, not a marketplace. It’s an opportunity to get for you to get noticed — you, not your book or product or agenda.

You can get to know a person by following them on Twitter. How often they post a tweet, what kinds of subjects interest them enough to tweet or retweet, how often they push their own particular product or agenda, all these things reveal the person behind the tweets. I might want to buy your product or agenda once I get to know you. But not before.

So, given the above, here are some ways not to use Twitter:

  • Do not send me a Direct Message saying how great it is that I’m following you. Twitter is a cocktail party, and we’re just at the stage where I’m asking you your name and whether you think the appetizers really needed that much wasabi. We don’t need to go have a private conversation. Let’s get to know each other on Twitter first.
  • Do not send me a Direct Message saying “Hi! How are you doing?” It’s like asking for my phone number the moment we meet. Chat me up a bit first, ‘k? And by that I mean post tweets.
  • Do not send me a Direct Message telling me that I can buy your book. Hearing a sales pitch at a party is right up there with having a telemarketer interrupt you at dinner.
  • Do not send me a Direct Message saying I can download your book for free. I don’t know you yet. I’m not going to bestir myself to download a book simply because it’s free. There are a lot of free books out there, and my interest in reading all of them is nil.
  • Do not offer to sell me Twitter followers.
  • Do not offer to send me pictures of nekkid wimmin. Honest, I know what they look like. And if I forget, I have a mirror.

If you want me to chat with you privately or to download your book or promote your agenda by retweeting you, give me a reason to care. Post tweets on a subject of mutual interest. I’m following you on Twitter because I’m interested in what you have to say. On Twitter.

Experts say the best way to promote your current book is to write another one. Similarly, the best way to tempt Twitter followers into reading your book is to post tweets that make people interested in hearing more from you.

7 thoughts on “How NOT to use Twitter

  1. robakers says:


    I don’t mess with Twitter but it seems like a great tool for everything. It must be easy to use because even Donald Trump can figure it out. I do find it disconcerting that the millennial generation had Twitter designed for them and they don’t know any rules about common decency.

    Having said that…can I have your phone number so I can sale you a book? Ha ha!

    With your permission, I would like to become a follower.


  2. Mun Haerin says:

    I’m a novice writer who doesn’t use Twitter, and none of this is making me want to use Twitter.

    I know I should because it’s a quick and easy way to meet people with similar interests. But Twitter is so rowdy, whereas WordPress sites feel respectable and organised.

    I did create a Goodreads account, though. It’s no Twitter, but it’s better than nothing, right?

    • Evelyn Hill says:

      Twitter can be harsh.
      Then again, there’s a whole group called “Stop the Goodreads Bullies” and several other groups that go around calling that group a bunch of bullies.
      Sometimes all social media feels like some kind of Lord of the Flies experiment that escaped its maker’s control.

      • Mun Haerin says:

        I didn’t know that about Goodreads. Why must social networking sites have so much drama?

        I’ll just keep my head down on Goodreads and hope that I don’t attract intrusive attention. At least it’s smaller than Twitter.

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