May 3, 2012

Tweet Wisely or Forever Hold Your Peace

As some of you know, I was an avid tweeter until about a year ago when an…incident…. occurred on my account. (Have you ever noticed how the Metropolitan Transit Authority-types enjoy employing the word ‘incident’?  A voice comes over the loudspeaker proclaiming, “There’s been an ‘incident’ on the 6 train” Far better than, “Someone just got mugged on the 6 train.” At any rate…)

Due to the incident, Twitter and I took a break from one another. Today, however, I’m happy to announce our differences have been resolved. So in the spirit of recommitting to Twitter, I’m sending along a few do’s and don’ts for building your own Twitter following. Rule number one:

  • Tweets are forever: Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times.

After that, the other elements I consider mandatory are:

  • Be amusing without being mean-spirited.

For example, I have tweeted about T-shirt slogans I found preposterous:  i.e. that “Avoid Responsibility” is not the slogan-T to I’d wear to work; nor would I choose cant.function@xxx.com as the email address on my résumé.

  • Offer actionable information people can use to run their business, or their life, more efficiently.

For myself, this has included items along the lines of “Here’s a great telephone greeting I heard,” and “Wow, this big box store understands customer service. Not only gave my dog a cart to ride in- they gave him a pillow to sit on.” In both cases, both readers, and the businesses mentioned, wrote to thank me.

  • Additionally, and despite the 140 character restrictions, do not fall back on abbreviations, emoticons, and/or any other trappings of the junior high school set.

As you’re not in high school anymore, your tweets shouldn’t sound like you’re stuck in detention.

Used wisely, Twitter is a great way to help others feel connected to you and your business. But just because its immediacy gives it a shotgun-wedding-in-Vegas feel, doesn’t mean the words you commit to it aren’t important, and binding. So tweet wisely, or forever hold your peace.

If you haven’t joined me yet, please follow me at FCJones.

Frances Cole Jones

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