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…Twitter needs rules?


Twitter use is growing exponentially, which is great, but I feel like the Twitter world needs to establish a few Twitter rules before things get out of hand. It’s not that I feel like Twitter is being abused, but if it is going to be as useful as a lot of people want it to be, there are a few issues that need to be addressed.

First, what Twitter is not:

  1. Twitter is not an instant messaging service. Tweets should not begin with @. If you want to talk with just one person, use an instant message (that is why they were created after all). Most people don’t want in on your conversation, and you probably don’t want the rest in, so remember, you’re tweeting in public. Plus, if your friends aren’t friends with the person you are tweeting to, they only get half the conversation, which is wholly worthless.
  2. Twitter is not an RSS feed. RSS feeds are RSS feeds. If I want to know when you add a new post to your blog, I’ll subscribe to yours. If you only tweet when you post, it’s time to find an alternative.
  3. Twitter is not a self-fulfilling service. If you only tweet about Twitter, it’s time to find a new subject matter.

Next, what Twitter is:

  1. Twitter is a way of letting people know what you are doing and when you are doing it. Remember away messages? Twitter is like that, only better.
  2. Twitter is a great way of getting feedback. Just posted something on your blog that you’d like feedback on? Tweet about it, and ask for it.
  3. Twitter is a new form of communication. Frustrated with the limitations of one-on-one messaging and full-scale blogging? Great, because Twitter isn’t like either of those. Find new ways of using it, and you might find yourself wondering how you lived without it.

Finally, a few Twitter tips:

  1. Remember that your tweets go out to each one of your Twitter friends. Tailor your message to the media, and your friends will thank you.
  2. Remember to check other’s tweets. Twitter isn’t supposed to be your own personal soapbox, so make sure you are involved in your entire community.
  3. Twitter is new, and like all new technologies, there is a time when everything is being sorted out and the rules are being established. Try new things and see what works, because it may just change the way you think about communication (or it may not, but you’ll never know until you try).
  4. Bonus: Add me as your twitter friend.

I’m no expert, so I’m sure there are more than a few things that I’ve left out, but it’s a start. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Have something to take away? I want to hear it, so comment away.