1. Twitter BirdUsing Twitter is an art form, it really is. If you are looking to gain followers, or broaden your brand (whether it is a personal or a professional brand), it is important to stick to the online etiquette that goes along with any social media platform.

    Since Twitter only has 140 characters for you to express yourself, it is important to be concise, but still "polite" (a.k.a. maintain online social etiquette). Social media is the new social scene, and with a new social scene comes a new form of etiquette. Just like how you should not put your elbows on the dinner table, there are rules that you should follow to maintain online etiquette.

    Use Hashtags Appropriately

    If you don’t know what a hashtag is, you should probably learn. For example, New York Fashion Week is a very popular subject on Twitter. Thus, everyone talking about New York Fashion week applies the tag #NYFW to their tweets.

    That is a fairly straightforward hashtag. The madness ensues when people try to create their own hashtags. When creating your own hashtag you need to make sure that it is 1. appropriate, 2. understandable by the masses, and 3. something that will catch on. If you have a clever hashtag it means nothing if you do not make it something that will catch on.

    Do Not Overuse Punctuation

    Twitter Punctuation

    There is nothing worse (exaggeration) than a Twitter account that uses way too many exclamation points. On Twitter, everything you say should be important, hence unnecessary for you to emphasize each thing with an exclamation point. Make sure to use them sparingly – only when something is extremely exciting, or requires an underline.

    Like the overused exclamation point, there is also the overused ellipsis (a.k.a. "…"). Use these sparingly too.

    Avoid Too Many RSS Feeds

    A Twitter account that is just an automated posting of links may as well not exist (unless it is your original content). The point of Twitter is to interact with other people and share information.

    For example, if you never put personalized tweets on your account, and you only subscribe to the BBC RSS feed, what is the point of someone following you instead of BBC? It’s important to make sure people know there’s a human behind your account (not just a spammer or a robot).

    Be Appropriate!

    Regardless of whether or not you use your Twitter account for personal or professional reasons, it is important to stay appropriate. Whatever you put online will be connected to your name for the rest of your life (it never disappears once it’s online!), and it is an online reflection of yourself.

    Cursing is one thing (do it sparingly, if you must) but avoid crude comments or extremely inappropriate content. Think to yourself: "would a future employer in my industry judge me based on this?" If the answer is yes, think again before you post.

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