Tweeting tips for the author type

Inspired by Writer Unboxed contributor Nina Badzin’s article, I’ve got some of my own Twitter tips I’ve gleaned from nearly five years of use. Let me say out of the gate that these are observations that I am making from my own personal use. I’m not trying to lay down ‘the law’ whatever that might be, just posting what I think are either good behaviors to practice more and which are bad behaviors that need to be eliminated.

This will be occasionally updated and I’m willing to take your suggestions here too, so check back, it’ll be a document in progress as we all learn more about how to use Twitter more effectively.

  1. Stop spamming your followers. Promoting the hell out of your own material is just noise to the countless people who actually use Twitter. There are some really great authors out there who are guilty of the scheduled self-promo tweet. If you have scheduled a daily tweet promoting your new work, your editing services or that you are just generally awesome, please stop. One caveat, for me at least, do send links to your blog posts. If I’m interested in what your blog headline is, I might want to read more of what you have to say. And once I’m on your blog, promote away.
  2. Interact with other people. This is SOCIAL media, remember? Tease and cajole us, have fun, have a serious conversation. Interact with people you like or who can provide you with useful information. Just keep the conversation going. If someone tweets @ you, be polite and respond. You wouldn’t ignore someone in public who is talking to you (unless they’re creepin’, then run away, quickly). 
  3. On the other hand, don’t expect a reply when you tweet someone else. Don’t take offense if they don’t get back to you. There are a lot of busy people out there, more than anything, we’d all rather be writing. So just assume that the other person is on deadline. Or (especially if they have a lot of followers) assume that they don’t have time to reply to every tweet that they get.
  4. Don’t Twitter rage. The first thing I think to do when I’m pissed (usually about a work situation) is to jump on Twitter and blow off steam. DON’T. DO. IT. Future employers, collaborators, etc may think twice about working with you if you bury people in gouts of rage-lava.

As I said, these are more of my personal rules of the road, based on my own observations of what I click on, what I read, and what I don’t like. What rules do you have for Twitter?