Yikes! I participated in two Twitter chats last night and lost a follower as a result of overwhelming his stream with my tweets.

Here are eight simple ways to avoid driving your followers crazy by dominating their streams, and perhaps losing them in the process.

WWDYikes! I participated in two Twitter chats last night and lost a follower as a result of overwhelming his stream with my tweets.

Here are eight simple ways to avoid driving your followers crazy by dominating their streams, and perhaps losing them in the process:

  1. Use a second ID for chats: One brilliant user has a second ID that was identical to his main ID, except with “Chat” added at the end.
  2. Avoid responding to everything: Some well-meaning users respond to almost every individual question or comment with a tweet rather than summing up and holding back. If you want to thank someone, then send a direct message (DM) instead.
  3. Ease up on #followfriday: Oh my gosh, some people have nothing but “@name @name @name (x 10) #followfriday” in their stream on Fridays. Their whole Twitter page is full of names. Make your #followfriday more meaningful by recommending less people and explaining those recommendations.
  4. Watch those links and quotes: Sure, we all appreciate a good quote and links to great articles. Just take care not to fill up your stream with quotes, links or both.
  5. Schedule tweets: Typically, I don’t recommend automating anything in Twitter as it will likely lower your rep. However, if you’re like me and only check Twitter a couple of times a day, then you may want to spread out your tweets, replies, etc., using an automated service. This avoids cluttering a person’s stream with bursts of tweets.
  6. Dump the short tweets: Some people’s Twitter page show lots of meaningless tweets, such as “Cool!” “I agree,” “LOL” and “Thank you for RT.” DM those messages instead, or expand your responses to add meaning.
  7. Share your own links sparingly: Just now, one user has three tweets to his own blog in my stream. It’s OK to share your stuff, but certainly not one link after the other. Spread ‘em out. A good rule of thumb is to tweet your stuff no more than once a day..
  8. Drop the play-by-play: Lots of us love sports, but not when you give us every play at the event you’re attending. This applies to conferences and events, too. Instead of “live tweeting,” give one or two summaries of what’s happening.

Every rule has exceptions. Some folks tweet from conferences and share great insights. The point is to tweet carefully and wisely. Follow us on Twitter @webworkerdaily.

How do you tweet without irritating your followers?

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  1. Excellent post – I absolutely agree to all of them. Especially scheduled Tweets are great because – just like you – I don’t follow twitter all day long and so suddenly posting many interesting things within a short amount of time would literally flood my followers streams. But aside from that, automating something doesn’t make sense to me here.

  2. Finbarr McCarthy Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Perhaps there is an opportunity here for the folks at Twitter to add a facility for segregated chats – ie more than pm’s but like a temporary chat room?

  3. Simple solution: don’t retweet. Leave that for social media bozos.

  4. Robin Dickinson Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Thanks, Meryl. Excellent list. Especially like the first point. Thanks, Robin.

  5. AskAPhD.org Sunday, July 5, 2009

    It is amusing that I found out about this post by a user that constantly retweets and has dominated my feed. Great post! I am afraid I’ll have to RT this one as well!

  6. Liz @ extremetelecommute Sunday, July 5, 2009

    This is great–as a beginning twitterer, I’m happy to learn tweeting etiquette. :) I had to laugh at Twitter’s option to email you if you haven’t updated in 24 hours.

  7. jennyonthespot Sunday, July 5, 2009

    I feel these are very good points. Excellent tips/suggestions. Will probably tweet this link, but will wait until tomorrow… since to balance out my stream :)

  8. Sonal Maheshwari Sunday, July 5, 2009


    Good job. I liked all the points especially the “Dump the short tweets” It’s so irritating if first page shows more then half such tweets. I would like to email this article to all people in my twitter network so that they may become aware about the problems others face.

    Sonal Maheshwari
    USourceIT: Single source for all your IT needs

  9. Darklg Web (darklgweb) ‘s status on Monday, 06-Jul-09 10:21:20 UTC – Identi.ca Monday, July 6, 2009
  10. Meryl Evans Monday, July 6, 2009

    Thank you for all the great comments, y’all.

    @Tom, RT helps forward good tweets to others in your network who aren’t on the original tweeters’ list.

    @Finbarr, I’d love to see something like that. Some people believe Twitter is not the place for chats — and they have a good point. Yet, Twitter could take advantage of the opportunity to create a twitter chat app that still connects twitter IDs and such — but keeps the stream off the live stream while making the chat searchable from search.twitter.com.

    If you’re worried about not getting followers on your separate chat ID, just put a note in the profile what your main ID is.

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