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: https://blackinkwhitepaper.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/how-twitter-improved-my-sex-life/)
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?