Twitter Etiquette

After some pondering, I’ve decided to write a blog post on Twitter etiquette. But wait! I’m not going to write a pretentious set of rules. Oh no. This is about etiquette. And I want to know why some people choose not to follow people who’re perfectly followable.

Maybe it’s just a bugbear of mine, and although I’m not losing sleep over it, I can’t help but find users who don’t follow back, a little rude.

I know there are good reasons not to follow users on Twitter; those who overly push their products/services or don’t share any common ground with you. And people who are a bit scary, can’t forgot those.

So, if someone decides to follow me, for whatevever reason – I’m flattered, and will happily return the favour (apart from in cases listed above). For me, Twitter is all about the community, and by tweeting I have made the conscious decision to share ideas, interests and personal information with my followers. If someone is willing to read my tweets then I want to read what they have to say too. If you aren’t following back, aren’t you just wanting everyone to listen to you? Isn’t Twitter’s main purpose interaction?

Us @fluidcreativity folk have conflicting viewpoints on the Twitter etiquette debate.

@_Chappers_ isn’t as easily offended if a user decides not to follow him back:

“Following people back simply because they followed me undermines the point. If you build up your following list to a volume so great that you can’t realistically keep track of everyone then it’s pointless.”

@Inoperante2 doesn’t think it’s rude if he chooses not to follow someone back but if he shares an interest with a user, he’s likely to follow them. However when a user chooses not to follow him back, he’s a little bit offended (bless).

“Getting into a conversation with the people I want following me is the best to get them to follow back, in my experience. It’s all about interaction, innit.”

@mitmystery and @splurj aren’t really too fussed whether they are followed back by a user or not. They don’t take the whole thing as seriously as I do, and that’s definitely a good thing. @nicolafred has a similar view but does wonder what the reasons are for users who unfollow, or if they have @ replied and then not followed.

What do you think? Do you try to follow everyone back or are you fussy with who you decide to follow?

fluidcreativity
  • Written by on 3rd November 2010 at 12:30
  • “Fluid Creativity is an award-winning, multi-service digital agency based in Manchester.”
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  • Guest

    From what I’ve noticed, many in the Digital/Twitter community tend to mostly follow those they feel they can gain networking/career progressing opportunities from. In short, they don’t want to bother with those that appear to be “small-time”.

    It appears to be a common theme amongst many users, and something I also fell victim to when starting out on Twitter.

    That’s my £0.02.

    • http://www.base30.co.uk Nicola Thomas

      Agreed! I think with the digital crowd on twitter there’s definitely a hierarchy. Which is a shame, because everyone can learn from each other.

    • claironeill

      I know what you’re saying Abid but one of Twitter’s purposes is to network for career progressing opportunities – although it certainly shouldn’t be its sole purpose.

      There does seem to be a bit of a hierarchy Nicola, and a bit of Twitter snobbery but you get that with anything.

  • http://www.rhyswynne.co.uk/ Rhys

    I don’t follow everybody I follow back.

    A few years ago, a cheap way to get more followers & content for blogs was to create a “Connect with [website name] readers!”, which created lists of people on various social networks. Whilst great, it did leave a door open for spammers, so I don’t follow back individuals that follow me.

    It becomes completely unmanageable, so much so that when I see people at conferences etc, I ask people to drop me an @ mention when they follow me just so I know that they’re following me & not spammers.

    • claironeill

      You’re right, an @ mention is always handy when following someone back and obviously spammers aren’t to be followed back.

  • http://twitter.com/craftedpixelz Abid Din

    From what I've noticed, many in the Digital/Twitter community tend to mostly follow those they feel they can gain networking/career progressing opportunities from. In short, they don't want to bother with those that appear to be “small-time”.

    It appears to be a common theme amongst many users, and something I also fell victim to when starting out on Twitter.

    That's my £0.02.

    • http://www.base30.co.uk Nicola Thomas

      Agreed! I think with the digital crowd on twitter there's definitely a hierarchy. Which is a shame, because everyone can learn from each other.

    • claironeill

      I know what you're saying Abid but one of Twitter's purposes is to network for career progressing opportunities – although it certainly shouldn't be its sole purpose.

      There does seem to be a bit of a hierarchy Nicola, and a bit of Twitter snobbery but you get that with anything.

  • http://www.gospelrhys.co.uk/ Rhys

    I don't follow everybody I follow back.

    A few years ago, a cheap way to get more followers & content for blogs was to create a “Connect with [website name] readers!”, which created lists of people on various social networks. Whilst great, it did leave a door open for spammers, so I don't follow back individuals that follow me.

    It becomes completely unmanageable, so much so that when I see people at conferences etc, I ask people to drop me an @ mention when they follow me just so I know that they're following me & not spammers.

    • claironeill

      You're right, an @ mention is always handy when following someone back and obviously spammers aren't to be followed back.

  • http://www.supercarly.co.uk Carly Wood

    I totally disagree – I don’t follow back at all, I don’t have hours to read through everybody’s tweets and just because someone’s followed me, it doesn’t mean we’ll have the same interests.

    I only follow people who I’ve spoken to through Twitter (e.g. a hashtag chat, through somebody else) or somebody who I want to follow because I like their particular take on a topic, or I admire some of their writing/blog posts.

    If somebody followed me, chatted with me, or made an effort to interact, then I’d follow back. :-)

    • claironeill

      “If somebody followed me, chatted with me, or made an effort to interact, then I’d follow back.”

      My point is, when you’ve done all of the three things listed above and people still don’t follow. I find that a little rude.

      I understand the point about scrolling through a never-ending feed, and this is a good point, I suppose you don’t want to be clogged with tweets.

      I prefer to follow as many people as I can but they do have to share common ground with me, and interact with me too.

  • http://www.supercarly.co.uk Carly Wood

    I totally disagree – I don't follow back at all, I don't have hours to read through everybody's tweets and just because someone's followed me, it doesn't mean we'll have the same interests.

    I only follow people who I've spoken to through Twitter (e.g. a hashtag chat, through somebody else) or somebody who I want to follow because I like their particular take on a topic, or I admire some of their writing/blog posts.

    If somebody followed me, chatted with me, or made an effort to interact, then I'd follow back. :-)

    • claironeill

      “If somebody followed me, chatted with me, or made an effort to interact, then I'd follow back.”

      My point is, when you've done all of the three things listed above and people still don't follow. I find that a little rude.

      I understand the point about scrolling through a never-ending feed, and this is a good point, I suppose you don't want to be clogged with tweets.

      I prefer to follow as many people as I can but they do have to share common ground with me, and interact with me too.