Ten Surefire Ways to Destroy Your Twitter Cred
Perhaps you are new
to Twitter, or maybe
you have been
around for a while.
If your presence on this
social network has not taken
off as you had hoped, then it
might be time to take a look at
how you are actually using it.
I have been on Twitter for more than three
years, and during that time, I have gotten
a handle on what works and what doesn’t
typically go over so well. While there are no
hard-and-fast rules, there are social norms
that the community adheres to. We follow
these norms to remain in the good graces
of our peers and to set a positive example
of how educators can use Twitter to develop
a strong and meaningful personal learning
network (PLN). Most people understand we
are human and are willing to forgive a slip
every now and then. But paying attention to
these 10 no-no’s will help you get a handle
on your Twitter cred.
No profile picture or
description. Unless you
have a very good reason for
not using a clear picture of your
face, people are probably not going to follow
you. Why? Most educators use Twitter to
connect to people who are willing to share
and be transparent. The same goes for your
profile. You have 160 characters to “sell”
yourself in your description. Neglecting to
fill out that vital piece of information can be
costly. At the very least, you should indicate
the role you play in education.
Constant retweets. Retweets,
or RTs, are a great way to
share information that you find
useful, interesting, or entertaining.
But if that is all you ever tweet, you are doing
it wrong. Twitter is about interacting with
people and sharing what you are learning.
Try engaging someone in a conversation.
By Beth Still
Tweet out things you find on your own, even
if they have nothing to do with something you
are interested in. Familiarize yourself with
hashtags and use them to reach a wider
audience. (Check out Jerry Blumgarden’s
Guide to Educational Hashtags at www.
Tweeting about all of your
interests from one Twitter
account. This norm is tricky
because it is all about balance.
Everyone has her own limits for the number
of noneducation tweets she can tolerate
from one person. Nearly everyone I know on
Twitter tweets about things other than
education on a regular basis, which is
wonderful. We are forming relationships
when we share family pictures or engage in
lively exchanges about who is going to win
the World Series. There is no magic formula
to figure out if you are tweeting too much
about things not related to education. If you
are not sure, look back at your last few
dozen tweets. What do they say about you?
If you are truly passionate about another
topic, consider setting up an account
specific to that interest.
images and videos.
Nothing can destroy your
Twitter cred (or professional
reputation) faster than sharing images that
should be kept off the public timeline.
Maybe you find a humorous picture that
you want to share, so you post it for
everyone to see. Chances are, a few people
will reply, but many more will be shaking
their heads, wondering what you were
thinking. Posting images of yourself or
other educators engaging in activities that
might be frowned upon is not wise either.
Imagine one of your students or a parent
finding a picture of you sitting at a table full
of empty beer bottles. There are still some
districts where that would not go over well.
Using foul language.
Educators typically frown
upon bad language in the
Twitter community. However,
there are exceptions. If you have a solid
reputation on Twitter, then you can probably
get away with an occasional tweet in which
you swear. If you are still trying to establish
your reputation and credibility, it is probably
wise to refrain from cursing.
Using slang and text lingo.
One of the Twitter etiquette
guidelines I learned three
years ago was to use standard
English when tweeting. Since more people
have been using their phones to send
tweets, this seems to have fallen out of style,
and it is mostly a personal pet peeve. It
annoys me when people send very short
messages yet feel the need to abbreviate
everything. There seems to be an acceptable
set of abbreviations for Twitter, but when I
see tweets that look like a text message a
14-year-old would send, I can’t stand it!
When you send someone a tweet that says
something along the lines of, “Thanks, u r
gr8!” you are telling them they are not worth
the few extra seconds it would take to spell
out the words. None of us is that crunched
Excessive blog promotion.
Twitter seems to be replacing
the RSS reader. I will confess
I have not checked my reader in
many months. Educators are great about
tweeting out links to their posts as well as
sharing blogs written by others. The
problem with this is when someone tweets
out the link to his new post over and over
and over and over. I typically send out a link
so it hits the East Coast early in the
morning, then again late in the afternoon.
Others might have a different strategy. If it
is a decent post, I know I can count on
others to circulate it by tweeting out the