Writing Discussion

Twitter for Writers Part 2 – Tips and Etiquette

Twitter for Writers Part 1 – Why Tweet?

Yes, Twitter can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for taming the beast! I love me, those bulleted lists.

Twitter Tips

  • Organize people you follow into lists. You can make these private or public. That way you can click list and not miss out on your friends tweets. If a list is public other people can follow it. You can also follow lists that other people create.
  • Twitter clients help you organize, categorize, and schedule tweets. Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite, are good ones to use. I use the Twitter Gadget that integrates into my iGoogle homepage (so it’s all there with my email and feed reader) and set the refresh rate to my liking.
  • You can use hash tags to find other like minded writers. #amwriting #writing #fridayflash #flashfiction #ww #WriterWednesday #ff #followfriday
  • Variety in your tweets is a good thing. A mix of Personal updates, links (to your stuff), re-tweets (to promote others), and @replies to show that you actually do participate socially are all things I look for when deciding to follow someone.
  • Make following you worthwhile. It helps to think of your topics the same way you do your blog. Don’t use it all for self promotion. What would your readers be interested in? What do you find cool or helpful? Find a great link – tweet it! Are you being helpful?
  • Leave space after what you write for people to retweet manually (the number of characters as “RT @yourtwittername”) if possible.


Twitter’s a funny place. People have varying notions for what’s proper etiquette, but here are some general rules of thumb that I like to adhere to.

  • Thank people who retweet your tweets and links. If you’re shy, it’s a good way to break the ice. It’s an easy way to stop your twitter from being all “one way”.
  • Check your @ replies and messages regularly.
  • Thank people who #FF/#FollowFriday or #WW/#Writer Wednesday you.
  • Promote others. Re-tweet other people’s tweets and links. It’s likely they will return the favor.
  • Don’t spam your followers. A few links to your latest blog post spread out over a day is OK, 10 in a row is not.
  • Some people say you should follow anyone that follows you. I disagree with this one. Follow who you find interesting. That’s all.

Tips courtesy of Harry

  • Say good morning and goodnight (it gets people to chit chat).
  • Tone down on babies, animals, pets and my hubby is too damn cute.

And here’s a fun (but true) list of 12 ways to scare away Twitter Followers via Fiction Groupie.

Do you have any Twitter tips to share? Any extra bits of Etiquette I may be missing?

10 Comments to “Twitter for Writers Part 2 – Tips and Etiquette”

  1. You can always tell when I’m sick or not actually home if my Twitter account is only posting links to my stuff. I agree with networking and connecting to other people, as well as thanking them. I’ve pondered thanking every single person individually, though I’ve lost followers from clogging my feed with six or ten thank-yous in a row.

    1. I think the mass thank you approach still works (preferable to too many thank you’s in a row). It’s both touching and amusing though, if I don’t update in a day I’ll get messages from concerned friends asking if I’m OK πŸ˜‰

  2. I try to thank people who #FF or #WW me, but I always feel guilty. I see #FF and #WW as spam (I’m not going to complain when someone mentions me, but I’m unlikely going to follow people based on someone else’s mention) and therefore don’t reciprocate which feels like it’s supposed to be the proper attitude with #FF or #WW.

    1. Sometimes it is spam. I don’t do the #FF / #WW thing myself, but I will drop a note of thanks if it looks like the person isn’t just sending out copies of their entire twitter list. There are some genuinely sweet people out there, but there are also people that just want more followers.

  3. All great advice – especially the point about not spamming people, if I open up my Twitter feed and see more than about six entries by the same person then they go straight away.

    I think another thing a lot of people don’t get about Twitter (and blogs) is that it’s a two way process – you can tweet and tweet all you like but if you’re not interacting with other people, retweeting and replying to things there’s just no incentive for people to keep following you. Again – people that I’ve tweeted and who have never replied get dropped. I’m harsh that way.

    1. It took a long time for me to clue into that with twitter and blogging, but I think it’s the key factor for getting more out of social networking. Without talking to people I don’t think it’s really effective networking.

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