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Twitter Etiquette

I have learnt plenty of lessons being on Twitter for quite a few years now and have built up my own social media etiquette.

I think of Twitter as a newspaper, I am the Editor responsible for my own content and ensuring it reflects my brand and thoughts, but at the same time hopefully of interest to other people. There are certain areas I am a subject matter expert in but I tend to share a large breadth of commentary on a large range of content. I am trying not to pick up bad habits of others on the platform and I detail some of these here.

Retweeting/Sharing Content

Twitter StressI’m asked quite often to share, or retweet, other people’s content so it “becomes viral” for them. I don’t take any notice of these requests.

If the posting is awesome I will share it without being asked and I’m sure others will do the same. I also believe in reciprocal arrangements on social media, if someone is constantly asking me to share their content, but they don’t share any of mine, then it’s not really collaborative.

Retweeting Your Own Tweets

There is one newspaper that does this constantly, I see the same article at least 5+ times a day.  They do the same on Facebook too. I have actually muted people who do this as it becomes tedious to see so many repeats in my timeline.

Having said that when people strategically retweet at a certain time this can generate more clicks and engagement. However, there is always a danger that while more clicks might be gained there is always a possibility that you would lose followers.

Be Strategic, Not Angry

There are certain tweets or users on Twitter that I certainly want to keep at a distance because they are either always angry and often offensive.

There are certain behaviour patterns I don’t care for and I will either mute or unfollow:

  1. Shouting (writing in caps)
  2. Name Calling
  3. Putting down others looks, weight, sexuality, gender, ethnicity etc
  4. Extreme views on politics
  5. Constantly complaining
  6. Negative views
  7. Arrogant
  8. Judgemental

I rarely tweet on the fly now, I type it out, schedule it to go out in advance, think about what I said, and edit it if necessary.  If I say something that is not quite correct which someone points out to me in a constructive manner I will give them my thanks and send out a correction, just like a newspaper would (should) do.

Cite Sources

For me it’s important to cite sources of the content or research that I am referring to in my Tweets, someone has gone to a lot of trouble working on something and I want to be able to give them credit it for it.  I will definitely link to their website if they have one, and their Twitter handles. I see this more in the scientific community as there is a code of practice when writing research which I try to reflect on social media.

There are many who call themselves “subject matter experts” on Twitter, but they clearly aren’t, who will steal work and not provide credit to the original author. I don’t like this practice at all especially when many could have the imagination to create their own work.

A profile is Anonymous or Lacking in Detail

I try not to follow or engage with anonymous people. If people are proud of their work they should be upfront in who they are. There are many anonymous profiles on Twitter because they have legitimate reasons to avoid the authorities, but they could be bots, or more likely they want to be vulgar producing a huge array of obscenities.

There is a huge range of guidance online to help beef up your brand on Social Media and elsewhere, it’s worth doing to come across as a more credible resource and someone you would want to know.


I am not an emoticon person and many people have a deluge of them in their tweets. As an older geezer, I have no idea what they all mean so I don’t read the tweet. I will sometimes use emoticons in bullet points on twitter from a visual appeal perspective, but not to form parts of a sentence.  I guess it depends on how wide people want their tweet to go since there is a certain part of the population would, maybe, understand all these emoticons.


There are quite a few naughties around hashtags, these are my “prefer people didn’t do” list:

  1. Hashtag every single word
  2. Hashtag incorrectly, not on keywords
  3. Place trending hashtag’s on a tweet just to get it seen by others. So, the trending hashtag could be #banana but their tweet is about apples, but still use #banana.

Flashing GIFs or Videos

Sometimes Twitter users will share high speed flashing gifs on social media but they can trigger epileptic seizures in others. Some do this on purpose but hopefully, the majority of people are unaware of the effects of these gifs. It’s worth just thinking about this when posting graphics online.

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me

Constant self-praising and saying how fabulous they are can be fairly tedious on Twitter. Telling people how awesome they are is less self-indulgent and viewers will think “oh what a kind person he/she is” which encourages them to follow.

On Twitter, I’ve seen someone: a. I wrote this, isn’t it fabulous, it what everyone should want to read, b. retweet the same thing, c. retweet again saying “the article is talk of the town, I’ve received so many positive replies on twitter” (which they didn’t), d. wait an hour and retweet again saying how fabulous it is…and so it goes on.

Follow to Advertise

Many companies are now following others online just to grab their attention to their product or service. Then some will follow them back. In turn, the company will then unfollow them as the deed has been done – generate more followers.

I don’t follow anyone back unless their content aligns with my interest groups, I am not tempted to “follow back” on auto-pilot.

Unnecessary Direct Messages

These fall into several categories:

  1. DM to say thanks for the follow, these are often automated
  2. DM to say “please follow me”
  3. DM to sell something to me

My personal preference is to receive DMs from existing friends only. I don’t like talking to customer service departments via DMs, companies should have their own self-service website that provides me with a tracking ticket number or at least live-chat via a logged-in environment.

2020-08-25T21:56:47+00:0025 August 2020|Social Media|0 Comments

Facebook Alternatives 2020

FacebookMany users have been asking themselves whether they should remain on Facebook due to the number of controversies surrounding the company and subsequently looking at alternatives.

I don’t want to recommend any alternatives to anyone, most can discover those on their own, but I will run through what I currently use.

The last straw for many people was Facebook willfully allowing misinformation and divisive content to proliferate on its platform leading to walkouts from staff [Business Insider – 2nd June 2020]. A group of civil rights organizations are asking big brands to boycott advertising on the platform during July 2020 because Facebook allowed incitement to violence against protestors fighting for racial justice in America [Mashable – 17 June 2020]. These are a mere drop in the ocean of controversies Facebook has been involved in. As a result, the majority of friends have stopped posting on Facebook to see how these pan out until the US election is over.

So what are the alternatives I use?

Keeping in touch with people and experts

Far from perfect, lots of fake accounts, people tweeting before engaging brain first, and way too much politics.

However, this is how I organize my account:

  • Add subject matter experts to Lists
  • Place those lists into streams in TweetDeck and/or Hootsuite
  • Only view/engage with those in the lists as this keeps your account on message and for a large percentage avoids toxic political messages

I rarely engage with those who are not identifiable as a real person or company/organization. Identifying oneself adds a layer of credibility.

Telegram and Skype
Replacements for Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp

I was getting a huge amount of spam on Messenger, including adverts from companies I didn’t know and fake users.

Telegram has a better layer of security, although nothing is 100% secure, journalists are known to use the platform as well as activists around the globe.  Nothing is 100% secure and the negative thing about Telegram is the lack of my own contacts on there.

As I have Office 365 I use Skype quite frequently but mainly for business. Now and again I do receive spam invites but they are easy to detect and block.


I haven’t really found an alternative to groups although many online applications do have them.  In Facebook I belong to a couple of technical groups that are not emulated anywhere else, which is a shame. Google+ was the best forum for groups but that met it’s demise over a year ago. MeWe was one of the replacements but didn’t impress me at all, I left.

LinkedIn has some groups but I have noticed the level of engagement on the ones I subscribe to have considerably dropped, it’s hardly worth going back to see if there is any new content there.

RSS Feeds
Replacement for following news organizations in Facebook

I was following a couple of media companies but not for long, I quickly deleted them. I didn’t like the comments that came along with them and the offensiveness of the engagement on there.

I’ve been using RSS readers for as far back as I can remember and will follow news organizations there. Many news websites do have RSS feeds even though they may not advertise them so it’s worth playing with URLs in a reader.

There are many RSS readers on the market, I use the following:

News Blur is the best if you want to read your feeds on a device as well as on a desktop, however, there is a subscription if you exceed a certain number.


I haven’t found an alternative for Instagram either although there are quite a few tools out there.

I was on Flickr for a while but no one else I knew was and they have a subscription model if you go over a limit.

I am still on Ello, I joined in its infancy but it seems to have died a death with exception to some artists. It’s certainly not for the every day person in the street kind of tool.

What I could do is start to increase the number of photos on this website which I have been thinking about for some time.

2020-06-21T05:02:45+00:0021 June 2020|Social Media|0 Comments

What Not To Say on Social Media

What you say on social media can lead to ruining your privacy, reputation and brand. It’s always best to engage brain before hitting “Post” on your device, in other words, “planning”.

Most organizations will have a strategy in planning their social media in advance to coincide with their projects, goals and timelines. Most likely they will go into review by other members of staff including those on the senior leadership team and marketing. It’s helpful to keep this in mind for your own individual posts. If you aren’t careful what you say you could either lose followers or the worst case scenario be your own risk to reputation.

We’ll just dive into what I think people should not post.

  1. You dislike your job
  2. You dislike your boss or work colleagues
  3. You dislike your customers or complain about their looks/ethnicity etc
  4. You dislike your life partner or shame him/her over social media
  5. You dislike your family or shame them over social media, even in conversations they are not a party to
  6. Constantly shame other people over social media (being a troll)
  7. Don’t be an emotional vampire
  8. Don’t provide details of when and where you are going on vacation (tells the world that your property will be empty)
  9. Don’t provide details of your daily schedule (again tells the world that your property will be empty)
  10. Don’t say that you are having an affair
  11. Don’t reveal your financial status, whether you are poor or rich, need or have loans, in serious debt
  12. Don’t reveal or give any clues as to what your usernames and passwords are
  13. Scams about how many followers people can make if they listen to you
  14. Photos of you being too familiar with other people than your partner
  15. If you are going through some legal investigation don’t say anything that might jeopardise that for yourself (friends could let slip about something you have mentioned on Facebook)
  16. Your toilet habits
  17. Medical records or photos of your condition
  18. Extreme views about politics or people ie racism, homophobia.
  19. Photos with documents that users can zoom in to in order to find confidential information about yourself or loved ones
  20. Photos of strangers in embarrassing situations, obtain people’s permission before posting
  21. Post too much on yourself, show you are considerate of others too
  22. Death and other threats
  23. Lies
  24. Steel someones work/data and say it’s your own (always cite your source)
  25. Repeat the same message day after day or constantly retweeting yourself. Always come up with new and exciting stories to keep your visitors engaged.
2019-10-01T00:52:09+00:001 October 2019|Social Media, Technology|0 Comments