Twitter Etiquette: The Do’s & Don’ts Of Auto-Tweeting (My Opinion)
Many posts have been written on this topic but quite frankly I don’t think that we will ever reach a true consensus on what is the “correct way” to use social media tools like Twitter. The fact of the matter is that interacting on Twitter is very much like interacting in the physical world on certain levels. What I mean by that is that no one can ever really tell you your method of interacting is ‘wrong’ because if you go to another country or culture what is socially weird in the first place is the norm in the other. Even social norms in one place can – and do – change over time.
Example: before the 1960’s EVERY MAN wore a hat when he went out of the house. There were different styles for people with different jobs but all in all, every man wore a hat when he went outside. As the 1960’s developed less and less men wore hats in the Western World. If you re-watch the show Mad Men which begins in the 1960 through until the end of the current season which ends in 1965 you will notice that the main character, Don Draper, wears his hat out less and less as the seasons progress. Before the 1960’s it was so expected that men had hats when they went out that places had ‘hat checks’ along with their coat checks. (I read that as I researched this example, I had no idea about this beforehand!)
My point is we will never be able to tell someone they are using Twitter – or any social media for that matter – ‘wrong’. If they can reach their goals doing what they do and using the tools at hand they way they want to use them then that is awesome. It is not up to us to educate them.
That long-winded introduction being said here is when I think it is OK to auto-tweet. If you disagree let me know in the comments! This is just my $0.02, you don’t have to agree.
NOTE: If you don’t know what an auto-tweet is, it is when you use a program like TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule a tweet to go out automatically without any interaction from you – or your computer even being on. It is also called a scheduled tweet or an autotweet. Many people do not like them and I have heard many people rant & rail against them while I have seen many other people use them. I follow my own rules as described below for when it’s OK and when it isn’t OK to auto-tweet.
When It Is OK To Auto-Tweet
- You’re a night owl and are browsing the internet at 4am when most of the people you speak to on Twitter are very much asleep. You find a super awesome link that you’d love to share with your Twitter followers but know if you tweet it now by the time people wake up it will be long gone and forgotten in their twitter streams. So you set up an auto-tweet to automatically tweet the link & your comment on it at some point in the morning when you will be awake and available to reply to people who respond to your link & comments.
- Your friend asks you to remind them of something they need to do in hours or days from now or you want to remind yourself to do something. I don’t see any harm here in setting an auto-tweet up here. It isn’t like you’re advertising something for the world to see, it’s probably a one-off tweet and if you set it as an @reply no one who isn’t following both of you will even see the tweet.
- Sort of like the above two, if you are privy to an awesome deal that hasn’t been announced yet or gone live yet but want to let your circle of followers/friends know the second it is available and don’t want to forget about it by all means set it up as an auto-tweet. People will be glad to hear about the super awesome deal or product (yes, it has to actually be super awesome not just in your opinion) and so the fact that you aren’t present when it is being tweeted is less important.
When It Is NOT OK To Auto-Tweet
- You are advertising something and tweet essentially the same thing over and over again. Twitter will not let you literally tweet the same tweet twice in a specific period of time but changing one letter or word & tweeting essentially the same thing isn’t cool either. If you are trying to promote an event how about revealing different details about it within each tweet that links to your RSVP page so that it isn’t essentially the same message over and over and over again.
Remember, the above is my opinion and that is all it can ever be. Some people won’t give a damn if you auto-tweet, some people won’t notice, and some people think it is a violation of their human rights to be subjected to your auto-tweets.
Personally I know a couple of people who auto-tweet and do I really care? No, quite honestly I don’t care that much. If you follow and are engaging with enough people on Twitter unless someone is really spamming the same message over and over again it tends to wash over you and you don’t even notice. When you do notice you might grin to yourself and think, “Ah, @AutoTweeter is auto-tweeting again” and then you will go on with your day/night.
What do you think about my stance on this? Agree? Disagree? You’re entitled and I encourage you to voice your support/opposition/apathy to me.
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