Rude Behaviour on Twitter

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re sitting at a bar minding your own business. A man slides into the seat beside you and without even introducing himself, announces:

“I’ve got something in my pants that’s going to impress you. Many people love it, so I’d suggest you give it a try. Make sure to tell all your friends about it too.”

Rude and unacceptable behavior, right? Of course, it is.

I’m exaggerating as no man has ever said that to me in real life, and this post is not about rudeness at a bar, but on Twitter. Lately, I’ve been bombarded by tweets with a message not unlike the one above, albeit, the person is not espousing the virtues of what’s in his pants, but of what he’s selling—usually a book.

Not long ago, an author connected with me on Twitter, and within seconds of getting the notification that he had followed me, he also tweeted me with a blurb of his book, a purchase link, and then asked me to retweet him.

I had no idea who this person was, but I must have been in a funny mood that day as I responded:

“Thanks for your tweet, but I don’t promote people I don’t know. Consider at least buying me a drink first.”

I figure he would either be a jerk and say something rude, or he might get the hint. Thankfully, he turned out not to be a jerk. He apologized, said he was a newbie to Twitter who was just trying to get the word out about himself. He wanted to buy me some fruity drink (PULEEZ). I told him I drink scotch—neat—and offered some suggestions for promoting his book via #Novelines (refer to my post here at:

It was a brief exchange, but one that ended well.

I have no issue with helping fellow writers/artists sell their products or giving them visibility, but let’s remember that Twitter is a social network. Your fellow tweeps are not your own personal PR team, so don’t treat them that way. Even though writers, collectively, are some of the most supportive people I’ve met, I never—and I mean NEVER assume that anyone is going to help me unless they know something about me. And even then, there’s no obligation to do so unless they want to.

Here is my list:
1) Don’t send me a direct or public message to promote you unless we have an established relationship.
2) Don’t spam me with a tweet. I can see your public timeline and know when you are sending the same message to all your followers.
3) Don’t say rude things to me in public. I will immediately retweet you. Remember, your words are a reflection of who YOU are.
4) Do not demand that I follow you. This will guarantee you that I won’t.

Basically, if you wouldn’t behave so rudely in a real-life networking situation; don’t behave that way virtually.

Twitter is a democracy, and it allows us to follow, unfollow, and block people at will. There’s no “politeness meter” monitoring our interactions, but in my books, good manners still count for something.

So, what are some rude behaviors you’ve encountered on Twitter?



55 responses to “Rude Behaviour on Twitter

  1. Oh, Eden, you said the words I have been wanting to say for so long! I have had three this week who have responded to my message of thanks for following, with a link to their book and a please RT request. So frustratingly rude!

    As you know I have a request on New Book Blogger that if the author wants to advertise free, then they must at least say hello first.

    Manners are free, so make good use of them is my motto.

    • Thanks Glynis, I cut people a lot of slack as I know Twitter is “new” for many, and marketing is an art, not a science.
      Manners however, are manners, and just because we’re not sitting face to face doesn’t mean words cannot be rude.
      In actuality, we need to choose our words even more carefully because of the virtual nature of Twitter.

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  3. Oh there have been many times I’ve been shocked at what people have posted on twitter or in public. I wonder do people forget to turn on their switch to control the verbal trash…I think people have not learned a lesson that nothing goes away once it is on the net. No matter what…

    As for your list oh yes the peeves..I even get people emailing me via my web site contact telling me about their new book and for me to buy it..That is a big and I mean BIG NO NO…

    By the way thank you for all the help and support you show me as a fellow author.

    • Thanks Savannah,
      Always a pleasure to read your comments. I agree with you – some authors are over zealous and think casting a wide net will get them sales and recognition. In reality, it’s getting them noticed for the wrong reasons.


  4. I like how organic my relationships, like ours, Eden, have been through twitter and blogging. I’ve asked anyone to read my blog or retweet something or message me or promote me. You find something online you like, you tell people about it, and then a relationship builds. It’s like how I imagine the punkrock/new wave music scene was in England, NYC, and LA in the late 70s/early 80s. Radio wasn’t playing the music. Television wasn’t showing it, yet. So peopel exchanged albums, told their friends, and went to clubs.

    Excellent points.

    • Lance, fabulous analogy with the music scene – in the days when we had vinyl, and cassettes, and dare I say 8-tracks and really age myself?

      Organic is the perfect word. People share because they want to, and as adults – I doubt many of us like to be “told” what to do anyway.

      Thanks for commenting,

  5. Oh Eden. Well said!

    The same shit happens over and over again (excuse my French). The second I followed one guy, he directed me to his site to listen to his poem. Politely I did, then he asked me to leave a comment, again I obliged. God, he ‘harassed’ me ever since with more messages about his 2nd poem, which I ignored, then his 3rd poem, which I also ignored, but he did not give up! He carried on so I unfollowed him. That should be the end, right? NO, he continued to “remind’ me of his poems! In the end, I had to block him, as he was stressing me out!

    Thanks for speaking out for us all. I have already tweeted and FBed.

  6. The worst/best I received was sneaky. Had a guy follow me, told me he was a front man for a band. I politely checked them out, had a nice sound, went to follow–yeah, the band had 4,000+ followers and were following 47. Um, no. Told dude sorry, no follow, no friendship, you can take a hike.

    Great post, Eden!

    • Hehe Patti, yeah, what’s up with that? Some people think it’s great to have a million followers but only want to follow a few?

      One-sided friendships don’t work in real life either.

      Thanks for reading,

  7. Great post, Eden. I once had another author ridicule a #noveline I posted from my book. He went on to berate me on the wrong usage of a word in my tweet. W.A.D.

    • Hi Al! I had that too! To two of my #novelines. In one, he said “Cliché” and the other he said “Horrible”
      I retweeted both of them. He was an “editor” — I’d hate to see how he is with anyone who’d hire him.

      Appreciate your comment,

  8. If I ever promote someone, it’s because I have followed a link from their profile and liked what I saw. The promotion was at my instigation.

    As for rude behavior, I’ve recently been followed by half a dozen “women.” When I click the link on their profile, I’m directed to a porn page. I say “women” because the creator of this identity, as well as the porn site, could be some overweight, slovenly, unshaven dude. A feminine name and photo are no guarantee.

  9. I am the first to support/RT/promote someone with quality work and the good manners you reference above. That’s what it’s all about. But it has to be my decision to subject my followers to something I enjoy and see value in, not something that someone else shoves on me blindly and demands action on. A lot like my dating life oddly enough! Great post Eden!

  10. I’ve gotten quite a few of those and it’s irritating. I RT or promote someone’s stuff because I want to, not because a stranger I’ve never even chatted with tells me to. While we’re at it…. what’s up with the spam mentions lately? Seems you can’t talk about much on twitter now without someone replying with some spam link. Usually they are not following anyone and all their tweets are the same.

    • Hi Jamie…
      Oh, those are the spam bots…they usually have no profile picture and pick up on any hashtags that are attached with your name. I block them immediately.

      I was tweeting w/ someone about poutine and got followed by a poutine bot! It’s crazy, but even in real life, we have ‘unwanted’ people butting into our conversations…it’s just multiplied on Twitter.

      Tx for commenting, appreciate it.

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  12. I am learning so much about tweeting, that I may not start! No, that’s not true, I have to, and when i get ready, I’m going to tweet you, and ask for help and direction… very nicely.

    A Great and Helpful Post!


  13. Eden,

    Wonderful post, and very glad to see someone talking about Proper…Twittiquette?
    I’m new to the blog world and the Twitter world, and while I’m not new to marketing, it’s nice to see people laying out lines for what is considered rude behavior. I know better than to shove my manuscript in people’s faces (an anyway, it’s not published so I don’t really want to give too much away!). But I just had a situation like yours on Twitter. Some author followed me, how he found me I have no idea, but he didn’t even talk to me, just sent me a link to a free book and “oh here’s my novel for your purchase!” It’s like panhandlers on the street corner or overly pushy mall vendors. No, if you’re that desperate to sell it, I don’t want it!

    Although I must admit I sometimes get pushy with people to read my blog before I submit things to challenges (Thanks again, Lance…) because I always worry I missed something huge! ;p


    • HI JM, tx for your comment. I agree giving me something free is not going to make me beholden to that person. My TBR is through the roof so reading someone I don’t know is the last thing I want to do.

      I think once a relationship is established, I have no issue helping read, vet manuscripts,etc. It’s the people who don’t take the time to even say ‘hi’ before they sell that irk me.


  14. Three experiences with rude and nutty people I shall reveal. I know someone on there I refer to as the “Oxy Clean Man of Twitter” – if you’re not familiar with the Oxy Clean man, (who passed away but is replaced by the same “type”) he’s literally “shouting” into the camera about this fantastic product (usually for Nineteen NINETY NINE! *see the Cosby show episode*. ) So the OCMoT (for short) sent me a DM asking me to RT his book. He’s already spamming his own timeline with tweets to his book, no RTs to others – it’s “all about him”. I disregarded the tweet. Then a few days later, he sent another DM – “Would you mind RTing this for me?” So I look to see what it is. Not only is it to promote his book – it’s a blog post related to pimping his book – and was a very ill conceived post, at that. I replied back. “Yes I mind, and stop asking people to promote you on DMs, it’s tacky”. He replied with some song and dance about every time I send him that kind of message it pulls his heart strings (or some such nonsense that I translate to it makes him feel like an jerkwad) however – he continues to do it. So I ignore him. Essentially, I ignore every DM of this nature as well as tweets. Sometimes they prefer to stay rude. The other person? She was awful. She’s new, and when she followed me she also sent a tweet “guaranteeing” me that I will love her new thriller, and after the third tweet in this fashion I jokingly replied “What if I hate it?” She comes back “Well then it’s definitely not for you!” I stared at the screen. WTH? *Blocked* She pulled the same stunt on me at Goodreads. I nicely sent her a message about how people don’t appreciate it this, she apologized but a month later – came at me again! So I told her in a more blunt fashion, yet she had the nerve to tell me to stop following her around on Goodreads. Total psycho. At least I figured out how to delete people from my Goodreads list. lol. Third infamous guy? His timeline, I kid you not – was filled with such tweets as *I followed you, you haven’t followed me back. Deleting you.” and “You’re a slut, why are you doing that? *Unfollowing* and – “Follow back or I’ll remove you from my RTs” – he followed me and I didn’t get to my Twitter account for about 4 days, and as I checked out his timeline and saw all of that crazy mess, he tweets me with “How come you haven’t followed back?” Gah! I replied “I was offline four days, and I graduated from high school in 1988. Buzz off”.

    • Oh Rebecca, thanks for the epic comment. Your three people sound like nightmares.

      I can understand authors wanting to sell their books – some are too aggressive in my opinion, but it’s their style. As long as they are not asking me to do anything for them in a rude way, and are not overly annoying by clogging up my timeline, then I’ll keep them. Once they cross either line – I tend to unfollow.

      Like you, I don’t have much time nor tolerance for for school yard behaviour.


  15. Eden, you are so right. The reason I like Social Media is to find out what people are doing… lately all Facebook seems to be is links to a “funny” something, book promo (but I have a lot of author friends, so that’s a given) and hardly anything about WHAT people are really doing. It’s fine to send out a post when your book is released, hits a list, etc. But I’d also like my friends to tell me what’s happening in their lives. I confess, I don’t use Twitter much because I don’t want to be the “promo queen” that I hear we should be for our books.

    • Hi Deborah, as an indie author, I promote using Twitter, but I try to be cognizant of not spamming my followers. With everyone screaming about their books, it’s all white noise and no one gets heard after a while.

  16. I agree completely with your post!

    As for me, my pet peeve is when someone follows me and then unfollows immediately after I reciprocate. They are collecting followers to make themselves look popular and it drives me nuts.

    In all fairness, some people only follow a few people in order to keep things simple. These are not the ones I’m talking about who follow first, then dump.

    • Hi Mary, people are silly sometimes, aren’t they? I don’t worry about who follows me. I’m more concerned with whom I follow.

      People who are in it just to be popular would do best to unfollow me.

      Thanks for commenting.

  17. Great post, Eden. I went through a spell where people started treating me like their Twitter therapist and they wanted my advice all the time. (I have no idea why) But unfortunately, I responded because I hate to be rude and when you deal with unstable people…it doesn’t end well. I was yelled at for “not listing them first” if I thanked people, and not responding fast enough. Oh, yeah. I had to block. The constant book spams/dms get very tiresome. I have stopped responding to all dms unless they are conversational between me and legit friends. I have also started scouring people’s timelines and looking much closer before I follow back. If their last 20 tweets in a row were their own book links and they never talk to people, no follow back.

    • Hi Michele, thanks for your comment. Wow, therapy sessions on Twitter? I hope you charged big time!

      Seriously though, it can be scary. I always do a cursory profile check before I follow. My thinking is until that person does something crazy, I’ll consider him/her sane.


  18. What a great and timely piece! Just today I ended up in an unpleasant exchange with someone on Twitter. What is the old saying about the person you really are is the person you are when you’re alone; I did not get that right but I digress. The anonymity of Twitter is like drunkenness. If someone is a jerk they will be a bigger jerk when they are drunk. If someone is hateful and rude the will be more so in the anonymous world of the internet.

  19. Great blog post! I’m SO fed up with people who send me DMs upon following saying: Check out my book @ “this link” or please “like” me on FB. I had to laugh when one woman told me “Enjoy the X series. Happy Reading!” Hello! I followed you back — I didn’t not sign a contract to buy and read your entire series of books.

    Sometimes, I will immediately unfollow. Sometimes, I will nicely DM and tell someone it is uncool. One man, who I was NOT following, tweeted a link to his book, a video of him reading, etc. to me and his page was filled with tweets to other people. When I DM’d him that I didn’t appreciate being spammed, he tweeted me back that “good literature” is NOT spam and that he tweets links to hundreds of people and they’re grateful to be introduced to his work. Somehow, I highly doubt that.

    Then, he wanted to know if I had watched his video. Uh, NO!!! When I told him that, he then wanted to know if I would attend his booksigning that Saturday. Uh, NO! Unreal.

    When someone follows me, the first thing I usually look for on their page is whether or not they engage with others. I am happy to promote other authors, but I don’t like being told to do so. Only close friends can ask me. If people take the time to engage with me and show an interest in me, I usually show an interest in return. We all have unique products and it’s great to be part of a sharing community.

    I could go on and on about rude behavior on Twitter, but I think I’ve said enough for now.

    GREAT post, Eden. Super analogies & right-on message!

    • LOL – fab comment Lisette! Thanks for those examples. It IS unreal sometimes.

      For me, reading someone’s work is a choice, and which author’s work I read is also a choice. To be expected to read someone whom you just followed is unrealistic. It’s akin to walking into a store and the pushy sales person sticks to you and tries to sell you everything in sight. Hello? I just came in to browse, and I’d like to do it on my own time. I know what you sell – I can see for myself. If it interests me, I will ask for your help. Otherwise, leave me alone! The successful ones are those who politely introduce themselves, and tell you they are available when you need them. Why is that so hard to translate to Twitter? It’s simple networking etiquette.

      Thanks again for commenting.


  20. Out of the mouth– or fingertips– of a wonderful writer! I love this. Maybe we all should know what passive marketing is all about.

    We all want to sell our books but beating someone over the head isn’t a good start.

    I’d love to buy you a good glass of Scotch to go with my Jameson.

    • Hi Dannie!
      Agree. Marketing is not screaming about your book until you’re blue in the face. Nobody likes the hard sell.

      As for my scotch of choice – Balvenie – 10 year old. I hope they have that in Thailand. 😉

      Thanks for your comment,

  21. I’ve used twitter just as a support tool, not more then that. I don’t spend much time with it. I do, when I get a follow notice in my email, check out the other person. If the profile comes across as potential spam, I’ll just avoid it altogether.

    • Hi William, I love Twitter and use it for promoting myself and others. Right now, it’s the best tool for marketing my work because of its far-reaching implications, but as with all media – over-saturation or misuse will reduce the good effects of it. I just don’t have time for rude people in real life, nor on Twitter,

  22. Great blog. I’ve encountered most of what you’ve described. The other annoying thing is those people with porn links in their profile who follow you. I’m no prude, but I’m a writer and I’m looking to get published one day so I don’t want to be associated with porn sites. I started reporting them as spam and thankfully I haven’t had any of them follow me for a while. I agree that there’s a fine line between marketing your book and beating people over the head with it. I’ve unfollowed a few people because they had some kind of autobot working for them that was churning out tweets about their book every five minutes or less and were clogging up my timeline.

  23. Hi Psychic Witness, thanks for commenting here.
    I write erotica, so you can imagine all the porn sites that hook up with me! At the end of the day, I can’t be responsible for who follows me – I just worry about who I follow. So far it’s working.


  24. Hi Eden,
    Nice to visit. I dislike several things:
    1. Tweet hijackers – Interrupting a legitimate conversation between me and my followers to insert some word about their book.
    2. Auto DMS – Doesn’t matter if I followed first or not. Their link should be in their profile, not in my DM box.
    3. Double and triple tweeters – Sure, tweet promo for your book, but figure out how many social networks are feeding to the tweet stream at once and take care of that.
    4. People who have every single social network update sent to their Twitter account – What video you liked. What TV show you liked. Tumblr spam. Pinterest spam. Etc.
    5. While we’re at it – Mentioning #FF for every. single. person on your list. I hate having to scroll through congratulations, and then all those people RT it back, so it’s there again. and again. and again…

    Then again, I have to remember, Twitter is what we make of it, and that includes customizing content by unfollowing those that make it so unpleasant to use.

    Great points in this blog. Even in the comments.

  25. Carrie, thanks for commenting on this post, which actually went live end of January. Just goes to show Twitter is always a hot topic.

    All your points are excellent. At times, there’s a lot of churn on Twitter, perhaps some of it is legitimate, some not. As far as #FF goes, I do it less now, but still find it helps to connect with people. I agree it’s gotten big and spammy at times though.


  26. ghostleegirl aka Lee Knight

    Wow! I have to say that you hit a number of issues and covered them quite nicely! First off, I need to say I am a reader, not a writer. My twitter is something I use to promote books, music, tv shows that I enjoy. Twitter has introduced me to many authors that I probably wouldn’t have discovered without Twitter. I constantly tweet about what I’m reading and book releases etc for the tweeps I follow.

    But I too find myself directed to websites and bombarded with ‘buy my book’ DM’s and tweets. Know what? It doesn’t work. I buy books based on what the other authors I follow are saying. (Like yourself, Eden!) And as you know I have been trying to retweet all I can about *Indies for Joshua* because I feel very strongly about it.

    Personally my feeling is that if I wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, I certainly wouldn’t post it. If I read a book and don’t like it, I just don’t post anything about it. I will only post positive things. It doesn’t mean I like everything, it means I only talk about the good things. The bad things get filed in my mind, and put away.

    It’s sad and very disturbing that there are so many disturbed individuals out there, and I have run into more than my share, but all we can do is block, and hopefully share with each other who to be *aware* of. There is even one person out there in twitterverse who is suing people! It appears that they feel they can say whatever they want about others, but when someone posts a negative about them, they feel it’s slander! Crazy, huh?

    At the end of the day I feel that those of us who are just here to share our love of books and authors and each other will prevail. We just need to make sure we look out for each other, promote each other and remain the happy, civil people we are… No matter what!


  27. Hi Lee, Thanks so much for reading. As with you, I promote those I want to, and with whom I have a relationship. Virtual friendships are important to me. As a full time writer, my office is my laptop, and my co-workers are those on social media.

    In real life, I have neither the time nor the energy for bullshit. That goes without saying on Twitter.

    Really appreciate your support of indie authors and Indies Unite for Joshua.

    Civility must prevail or I think the human race is doomed. 😉


  28. Terrific post, I have been where you were at, frustrated with the impersonal nature of people just trying to sell themselves. For me I follow people or want them to follow me to build up a relationship, not because I want to sell them something, or have them try and sell me something. Chances are I am more likely to buy a book or like someone on Facebook if I like them as a person and want to see what they have to offer. Thanks for the share!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more Wyatt. You’re a great example of how to use Twitter socially to share about yourself. Your personality comes through and is what attracted me to follow you and buy your book.

      • Well thank you! I think the same could be said about you. Though I love your book, I think of you as a friend before I think of you as a writer, and had I not I’m not sure I would have given Spring Into Summer a chance, not because it wasn’t well written or interesting, but because you made me want to step outside of my reading box, so to speak, because of the relationship we cultivated that had nothing to do with writing and everything to do with the person I got to know. Hard to believe in someone if they don’t let you get to know them and a lot of authors would do a lot more if they just focused on being themselves as a person rather than a salesperson.

  29. Wyatt, so true. Same thing in real life, right? So why is it so hard to translate to Twitter? This has been a rough week of spammers. Appreciate your comments,

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