This post is about how I use Twitter, and what to expect from my Twitter stream. I believe it is important to be open with social media – to be clear about your intentions. My twitter stream has been a mix of personal and commercial posts (my blog, companies, etc.) since the beginning. That will not change, but I just wanted to bring focus to a few things.
Advertising: I have never, and nor do I plan to as of this post, put ads in my Twitter stream. To me, inline (and certainly out of context) advertising has no place on Twitter by its users until there's an effective way to block it. It could be as simple as an understood #adv tag that can be easily filtered, though that's a topic for another post.
Affiliate links: I will occasionally post links to products I own and recommend. If I post a link to a product, it's because I've used it, own it, have watched it, listened to it, recommend it, or it's simply a great value. These links are likely to be affiliate links – you can trust me to do the right thing here, or not. It's up to you. I promise never to turn my stream in to a scrolling pitch.
Sharing: I run two software companies, host a few podcasts ( see msitarzewski.com for more on where to find me ), dabble in life technology consulting, listen to about 50 podcasts, and stay on top of about a thousand RSS titles a day (I read a relatively small percentage of those). There are many, many things that I'd like to share with you, and I think Twitter is the perfect place for it. I've been reluctant to share as much as I'd like, but that will change. Based on feedback, sharing is one of the reasons many of you follow me, so I hope you enjoy it.
Family: Occasionally I'll post about my wife ( @torreybelle ), my son !zion, or our family doings. While these may not be relevant to you, these types of tweets are relevant to a many that follow me.
Profanity: Twitter is a wonderful place to express yourself. Many people believe, as do I, that the Twitter “you” and the real “you” should be one in the same. In other words, don't filter your content, just be yourself. If you know me in person, and I'm comfortable with our relationship, I will use profanity in your presence. If people I don't know are focused on me (presentations, meetups, etc.), I don't use profanity at all. To me, this is where Twitter fits. If I use profanity, it'll most likely be in the form of a retweet (left in for context) or I will replace letters (sh*t). Never say never, but as a rule, I don't curse in my feed.
Cross-posting and third party apps: I have connected my Twitter account to my Facebook account. I did that because many of you are friends on Facebook, but don't use Twitter. If I hadn't made that connection, my Facebook status would never get updated. I will never have a third party service automatically tweet on my behalf unless I can control the frequency and content. For example, I can specify with Brightkite that I only want status updates and photos to go to Twitter, not every check in. Please, for the love of all things sacred, turn off your Foursquare and Gowalla updates. I really don't care. Oh yeah, this is about my use of Twitter, not yours. 🙂
Following: I believe that in order to achieve an honest relationship with the people I follow on Twitter, I have to be able to read every tweet they post. This has advantages in that it keeps the list of people I follow to about 250. Nothing personal is meant if I don't return your follow, or if I unfollow you. It's simply that I can't keep up with everything.
Unfollowing: There are no certain rules here, but here some reasons I might unfollow someone: spam, rants, game invitations, game stats, auto DMs welcoming my follow, idle account (45 days), irrelevant advertising, and excessive auto posts from third party apps.
Blocking: Obvious spam accounts will be blocked and reported as such.
Replying and DMs: Every @reply and direct message will be answered. This is the heart of Twitter, and I respect it greatly.
Emoticons: I'm old school and think that many of today's online confrontations could be avoided if emotion and intent were easily discernible. That is why I use 🙂 🙁 and friends 😀 😛
What do you think? Was this helpful? Did you learn anything about me?