10 commandments of twitter

The 10 Commandments of Twitter

Or how not to turn the Twitter Bird into an Angry Bird.

10 commandments of twitter


I.  Thou shalt complete your bio.

If you want to engage and be a part of the Twittersphere, complete the Twitter bio.  This is your opportunity to tell everyone about who you are and what you do in 160 characters or less.  Choose your keywords carefully as they are searchable. Skip the hash tags, though; they don’t help here and take up some valuable real estate.  Letting people know who you are is a good thing and will help establish you as a legitimate Tweeter.

II. Thou shalt not be an egghead.

This goes right along with number one.  Ditch the Twitter egg and put a picture of you on your profile.  If you’re doing business on Twitter, this is critical for credibility.  Many people will not follow or interact with Twitterers who don’t have profile pictures. Use something close up enough that it’s identifiable and won’t leave viewers scratching their heads.   If you really can’t bear to put up a picture of yourself, use your logo.  Save the dog, the cat and the Hawaii vacation shots for Facebook.

III. Thou shalt not spam.

Does this really even need an explanation?

IV. Thou shalt express gratitude.

When you are retweeted, referred or complimented, be sure and give a thank-you shout out to whomever thinks enough of you or your tweets to share you with their followers.  Being retweeted and referred helps to build your Twitter following and being gracious about it helps build your character.  Both are good for Twitter—and business.

V. Thou shalt be conversational.

Twitter is all about communication.  It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason.  Be social.  Unless you’re some A-list celeb, don’t expect that you can just tweet stuff out and never talk to anyone.  Respond to and comment on the tweets of both your followers and those whom you follow.  That is the way that relationships are built on Twitter and it can have amazing results.

VI. Thou shalt hashtag wisely.

After spam, the next most annoying type of tweet is the one with almost as many hashtags as there are words or the one where the entire tweet is a giant Hashtag.  Hashtags should be used sparingly—one or two in a tweet is plenty.  Pick the most important keyword or two in your tweet and hashtag those.  And every tweet doesn’t need a hashtag.

VII. Thou shalt not hide or make thyself difficult to follow.

There are very few good reasons to make one’s Twitter stream protected.  And if you are using Twitter for your business, even fewer.  If you really don’t want anyone to know what you’re Tweeting, you probably shouldn’t be.  And really, people have to type a secret code into a box to follow you?  That isn’t very welcoming to those who’d like to follow you and build a relationship, now is it?  There are many good Twitter management/cleanup programs that, when used on a regular basis can keep your follower list nearly spammer free without alienating your followers.

VIII. Thou shalt not follow deceitfully.

Don’t follow people to get them to follow you and then unfollow them as soon as they do.  It’s rude and bad business.

IX. Thou shalt not be vulgar.

Vulgarities and foul language really have no place in the business world or the Twittersphere.  Is your vocabulary really so limited that you can’t express yourself without cursing?  Using vulgar and foul language is not a sign of sophistication.  It’s the opposite.  It can also get you unfollowed, reported as a spammer and blocked in short order.

X. Thou shalt mind your time.

Twitter’s awesome.  It’s a great way to communicate. If you’re not careful, you can get sucked in and have the day go by before you know it.  Choose and use a good Twitter management program, like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Social Oomph to manage your tweets—and then get a timer, so you can actually get some work done.


And the Golden Rule of Twitter:

Tweet unto others as you would have them tweet unto you.

If it drives you nuts when other people do it, don’t do it yourself.


Do you have any Twitter commandments?  What would show up on your list?

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  1. A few rules of mine:
    Keep posts short, to the point, and generally on topic. You have followers who are there for a specific reason, whether they be friends, business/industry associates or who share your passion about underwater basket weaving whatever, just keep the posts “the reason they are following you”

    A pile of hashes…yes that does annoy me…

    mentions without relevancy. I don’t want to be mentioned in something I have no relation to.

    Be mindful of the community at large…don’t flame just to get responses.

  2. Great list, I came here from your Twitter stream. I admit I have over used hash tags and will mind my manners from now on 🙂 I would add that if you are doing automated tweets, try not to look like you are! Are you really tweeting the same stuff over and over again and at 2 am?

    1. I agree, Christine. A little creativity could go a long way on Twitter. There’s nothing like getting a tweet from someone and clicking on their stream to find they’ve just sent out 500 identical tweets. Sheesh.

  3. I LOVE them all. I also hate DM welcome messages.. they were the THING to do way back in 2009 when I got on twitter but now they are just spam to me.

  4. Hehe. These made me laugh. I’m afraid I’ve “sinned” a few times according to these commandments, but great reminders. I will keep these in mind…

    1. Haven’t we all, Rob? Most social media users are a pretty forgiving lot–as long as you repent and don’t make the bad ones a habit. 😉

  5. WOW…Thank you Marie. I thought I was the only one who has an issue with all of the hashtags. I actually don’t tweet very often, because the hashtags get me completely confused. I am going to print this out and post it where I can see it!

  6. I love this!!! This is a great user guide to Twitter! I love how you titled it and referred to Angry Birds. Very clever 🙂

  7. Thank you for the heads-up. I’m “on” Twitter. I haven’t USED it for a very long time. I’ll keep all these points in mind.

  8. Too fun! Loved it. I think my favorite was #2: Thou shalt not be an egghead. No one like an egghead! 🙂
    And, I know many people who would be so happy to hear #6!! It’s hard to believe in 140 characters ppl can fit so many hashtags! But, they do.

  9. Great rules to follow..I laugh when I see all the # in a profile and 3 links. It’s like see me, see me..

    Thanks for the share!

  10. This is a FANTASTIC list. Funny too. You’ve made this a joy to read.

    1. Thanks, Mona. I don’t like to take life too seriously. After all, it’s only 140 characters at a time.

  11. Thanks Marie. I follow most but not all of those. I really need to be more conversational but then it gets into the time sucking part. Gotta be a balance I guess.

  12. I”ve posted to Twitter! This is an absolutely priceless post! Thanks Marie for sharing:)

  13. Love this! As a newbie to twitter, this is perfect timing for these tips! I’m going to keep them where I can see them every time I’m on Twitter

  14. Great points! thanks for the heads up and I too can add a few more tips and tricks to my own tweets! Great job Marie!

  15. This list makes understanding twitter 101 so easy thank you!!

  16. Great list of commandments! I have not been faithfully using hashtags but I will now! Thanks!

  17. Excellent list! I have said the Golden Rule a LOT in my tweets and during my trainings. IMPERATIVE!
    ~ Raylene

  18. I like this idea of having a commandments on twitter..A great info to us..Thanks for sharing this great idea..

  19. All of these are great “commandments”. The tweets that are just various hashtags strung together drive me crazy. I would add this commandment: “if thou hast something to sell, great, but tweetith not the same thing 15 times a day!”

    1. I agree. When I start getting the same tweets like that, they fall into my spam category and, if it keeps up, I have to make them go away.

  20. This is great information! Thanks!

  21. Marie, I love this! Being a “Twitter Purist” the giant hashtags drive me crazy! 🙂 This is great info to share with my team, thanks.

    1. Multiple hashtags or a whole hashtag string are my “crazymakers”, too, Sara. Drives me absolutely nuts.