The First Rule of Twitter Club

The first rule of Twitter Club:  Always, ALWAYS, talk about Twitter Club.

The second rule of Twitter Club:  Don’t use Twitter.com for your Twitter Clubbing

Edward Norton in Flight Club. See the movie!
Edward Norton in Flight Club. See the movie!

The third rule of Twitter Club:  Have a profile picture. You egghead.

The fourth rule of Twitter Club:  Have a bio. Tell us who you are. And where you are. How else can we begin to trust you?

The fifth rule of Twitter Club:  Talk. To us. Not just yourself. Or the ether.

The sixth rule of Twitter Club:  Make your own rules. Twitter is an evolutionary platform.


What “rules of Twitter Club” would you like to add?


46 thoughts on “The First Rule of Twitter Club

  1. The seventh rule of Twitter Club: Don’t just repeat the same things you’re saying somewhere else.

    The eighth rule of Twitter Club: Mind your manners. Unless you’re a douche, in which case douche it up. Just don’t expect me to listen.

  2. Rule #7: Tweet. If you want a follow back, make sure you have at least one tweet in your timeline, and preferably a page of ’em.

    1. That’s a good one, Tim. That’s like my favourite Facebook Page analogy “Nobody wants to enter an empty nightclub – you need to demonstrate something’s happening there first”.

  3. If you’re about to reply to an old tweet with something vague like “hahaharofl yes this is true!!!!11one” RT the original tweet, so the first twit has some context for your maniacal laughter…

    1. How about just use the reply feature? Most clients are now very good at threading a conversation.

      I don’t get why everyone seems to RT their replies nowadays, for one it breaks up the conversation, secondly – it destroys the actual purpose of your response being seen only by those who follow you AND the person you’re responding to.

      Sure – if you’re making a joke/point that everyone who follows you would like then @ + RT away.

      Of course – we already know the reason, you’re all attention whores.

      1. Well, yes – we are. Beyond that though 🙂 – I agree with you about RT replies; it probably means people aren’t aware that they can generally see which tweet the reply is to. I sort-of disagree with the principle that your reply should only be seen by those who follow you (and whoever you’re @replying to) – if you’re not following the other person you see half a conversation, and perhaps miss out on an interesting tweep. That’s why some of the “older” twitter users prefix the “@” with a “.” (e.g. “.@ashsimmonds”) – so everyone following me can see it (and find you and your entertainment!)

      2. No, which is why it’s frustrating if you *do* happen upon an interesting conversation, if someone does a .@reply or RT reply to be a social whore, you can no longer easily track it – unless there’s a relevant #hashtag used throughout.

        Go figger – here’s king of anti-social giving lessons on proper use of social media…

      3. I think you’d have to try them all to be sure, but Ash is correct for Seesmic Web (what I use) and is obviously correct for Twitter, because they made the change to the “@reply” functionality a couple of years ago (which is why it tends to be longer-term users who prefix the “@”, because we miss seeing other interesting people in the conversations of those we already follow 🙂 )

      4. @Ash – so how do you *stumble* across an interesting conversation between someone you DO follow and someone you DON’T? The effect of the Twitter change was to remove those from your timeline, so you have to deliberately go looking at everything (e.g.) I tweet to see who I’m talking to that you don’t know, OR hope that somehow I don’t put their handle at the start of the tweet, and you see it in your timeline. I can guarantee you that I don’t do it because I’m a “social whore” 🙂

      5. (I can also guarantee that I don’t do it all the time, because I’m usually too quick with a response … shooting from the lip is far from uncommon 🙂 )

      6. I’m totally with Ash on that one… Firstly I’m often not interested in knowing what your answer is to some question I wasn’t even aware of, especially with some cut-down version of an answer… Just reply and if the message is that important send a tweet to all your followers with that info. There’s a couple of people on my feed who do it and it drives me nuts.

        And if you just do it to correct spelling mistakes in previous tweets… Nobody cares! Please stop now!

        I do disagree with your “don’t use Twitter.com” rule… I use it on my laptop and use the official app on my iPhone and have never had a problem.

        I think the rule more applies to people following stupidly large numbers of people.

        Instead, I would say that if you’re following more than 250 people, you really aren’t giving all of them the appropriate attention, so why are you bothering?

        Lastly “Pay attention to who follows you and block and report everyone who even looks like they could be a spammer”!

      7. Thanks Yani, I love your work.
        I like the “don’t use Twitter.com rule” because for me, that platform doesn’t unlock everything you can do with Twitter and ends up vexing many users. I see Twitter.com itself as a hindrance to take up. People who’ve tried Twitter and “given it up” often do so because they can’t understand what’s going on, especially when it comes to conversation, and retweeting isn’t easy and intuitive. The website is probably worse than the official app …
        And the answer to “following more than 250 people”? Lists, lists, lists. I think I can see and sort more than 250 tweeters, with the help of lists. There’s no way I could cut down the interesting accounts I follow, to a mere 250. 😉

      8. A lot of people are worried that if they cull the people they’re following, their own followers will disappear.

        A couple months ago I dumped everyone to see what would happen: http://mikeklimczak.com/boring-nerd-content-growing-your-twitter-followers-organic-vs-artificial/

        I still have interesting people in lists that I browse occasionally, and in the following weeks I lost hundreds of followers – I looked through the list of them, and 90% were stupid marketing accounts which wouldn’t actually read me anyhoo.

        Since then my number has been pretty steady, I just wish more people would have a public hissy fit about me when they hit unfollow, like Nat below: https://prakky.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/the-first-rule-of-twitter-club/#comment-424 😀

      9. Maybe it’s a matter of never missing something you don’t have, but I really haven’t ever felt I was “missing out” on things because I was using the Twitter website.

        Although I will say that they occasionally take things away that they shouldn’t (like the ability to see everybody who has retweeted you… don’t know why that went).

        And are all the accounts you follow actually interesting? Do they all post regularly, do they post worthwhile content when they do post? And if they suddenly stop posting, are you going to even realise it because you’re following so many people?

        Actually that’s probably a good general rule no matter how many you follow… keep an eye on who you’re following and work out whether they’re still worth following and are still tweeting.

      10. you know what guys as a noob this is where it all comes undone, I’m trying to get involved and participate but the whole RT v’s reply v’s whatever social media client gets all too hard and confusing, and whilst I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed I am an IT professional and a bit of a geek, so I do feel sorry for people and companies trying to get involved. There seems to be no set protocol each SM expert doing their own thing, different social media clients behaving in different ways and I can tell you it is confusing. I tend to just copy the behaviour of those I follow, but again there’s no consistency, no rules and an obvious difference of opinion. Would happily shout a bottle of wine for some pointers in the right (by someones rules) direction.

      11. Hi Jodie – you’re absolutely right, but that’s the nature of social media. Social media is like every other means of communication: there are different ways to use it, people will have different styles, some things you’ll understand, some things you won’t. For this same reason, there’s no set protocol. These ‘Twitter rules’ are just a tongue-in-cheek overarching recommendations of my own; others would have different ‘rules’ and that’s fine. And yes, I’m happy to catch up around a console and a bottle of wine one day …

    1. Rule #+1 Because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

      Auto/scheduled tweets need to be used in moderation and balanced with personal interaction.

      I’m also anti auto-dm’s. DM’s on Twitter should be for more personal, private conversation. Please don’t fill it with auto responders.

  4. If you are going to reply and engage with people, don’t just reply to a certain group and never others.

    Also, never ever follow Ash Simmonds 😛

  5. Great topic Prakky.
    For me twitter (and other forms of social media) are a bit of an experiment.

    Firstly, nobody has commented on the value of twitter as a search engine optimisation tool. I’d like to hear some comment on that. For me the jury is still out on the SEO boosting capabilities of twitter.

    Second observation is the topic of entertainment. Social media appears to mirror face-to-face socialising. Like face-to-face selling the opportunity to make a sale comes way, way after first building a relationship. First rule of selling is sell yourself first (i.e. build rapport), sell your company second (build credibility) and third sell your product last. To march straight into twitter and sell straight-off is crass in the same way that somebody walking-up to you at a social event and saying “would you like to buy a watch”.

    Social media is yet another form of publishing.
    Publishing has always been about attracting an audience (followers) by provdiding great content (editorial) and creating an environment where advertising would be tolerated and sometimes viewed.

    The Masked Marketing Man is my social media experiment (bullshit, actually I am having fun – but that’s another story) I have other twitter identities where I am attempting to sell product/services with very low return results.

    The jury is still out regarding the value of social media as a marketing tool; it might be free but it’s very time intensive and the strategic steering wheel is only loosely connected to the wheels.

    My other problem with social media as a marketing tool is that people resist such attempts.

    The biggest rule of social media (the one that everybody seems to agree on) is the more you try to achieve a commercial outcome with social media the more your audience tends to not participate.

    But we are all mesmerized by the possibility; that’s why we continue to experiment with it.

    The old rule of advertising was “I know that half of my advertising is wasted only I don’t know which half.” Perhaps then this is the main benefit of social media. At least now we know which half of our marketing budget doesn’t work; the half that is spent on social media.

    Anybody who questions that social media has application to marketing is dismissed as a luddite; being accused of “not getting it”. Call me a heretic – but I think social media has become the king of marketing; only I think the emperor has no clothes.
    Social media only sells one thing; more social media. So I say to you fellow marketing lemmings; watch out for the social media cliff.

    Facebook and Twitter are vast experiments in social media. Billions of dollars of other people’s money have been spent in a gigantic experiment trying to smash together billions of people in the hope of finding the God Particle of marketing. I say good luck but only worry that it is a vast black hole that will draw into it vast amounts of marketing matter but shed no light on how to sell product.

    However, I am happy to be proved wrong.
    End of rant; see you back on twitter.

    1. Thanks Masked Marketing Man! Just a few quick points: I wouldn’t advise that you throw away all marketing, advertising and other communication planks, if you’re in business. Social media can supplement them; it doesn’t need to be a risky replacement. Some may be sceptical about social media’s impact on the bottom line, but it’s about the entire business, from the ground up, and not about a quick impact on sales. Social media may save you money in customer service, community engagement, PR, issues management, event organising, recruitment, networking and much more. Rather than write much more here, I’ll just suggest you read Wiki Brands for some good examples of how organisations are using social media.

  6. Don’t fill the Twitter world with dumb uninteresting thoughts that just popped into your head like “just got a Coke from the fridge. Coke > Pepsi IMHO”
    Also to GenY and GenZ : Boomers like me sometimes struggle to understand what you are Tweeting. Think of us when u abv8 wrz in Tweetz whatever epic fail totally random over it.

  7. I have a list of Twitter Commandments on my office wall right near my desk to remind me not to stuff up :). In addition to the others already mentioned I have:
    1) Don’t EVER tweet when you’re in a foul mood
    2) If you have to put #TMI at the end of the tweet then you probably shouldn’t tweet it at all
    3) Don’t jeopardise your safety, or that of others.

    Great article Prakky 😀

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