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Thursday, July 28, 2011

How To Be Annoying On Twitter

Twitter is a pretty awesome place.  But it's also a network like every other social network:  full of weirdos, annoying people, and spammers.  Thankfully, we don't have to follow such people!  We can pretend they don't exist (or make fun of publicly, because that's fun too).  My question is:
What are ways people annoy you on Twitter?  Let me know in the comments.
Here are the things that annoy me:

Retweet Bonanza
Twitter is about contributing to the stream.  But some people think that means they need to retweet every damn thing other people are saying or linking to, so much so that their streams look something like this:  retweet, retweet, retweet, retweet, @ message, retweet, original, retweet, retweet, retweet, @ message, retweet retweet, original...

I've never followed people who do this, because they're not saying anything I can't find elsewhere.  They're parrots, and parrots are only cute when they're in feather form with a mute button.

Link Bonanza
Related to the Retweet Bonanza is another Twitter foul which involves posting nothing but links.  No @ messages.  No original messages.  No links with some kind of opinion thrown in.  Just links with the title of the article (and sometimes no title at all).  Links are nice, but it's better to have links with mini commentary and a little original stuff.  Hell, posting a random question once in a while is a drastic improvement.  Otherwise you kind of look like the guy who shows up at a political event shouting liberal or conservative talking points:  brainless.

Plug Molestation
People who send you links to their crap without provocation (either via DM or @ message) are people who engage in what I call "plug molestation."  They come out of nowhere, they tell you about their junk, and then they pretend like it didn't happen until they do it again.  They're like Jehovah's Witnesses who show up at your house a second time and tell your mother that you asked them about masturbation, prompting you to hide in your apartment every time they show up (this is a true story, by the way).  To which I say:  eh, no thanks.

Desperate-For-Love Plug-Streams
Twitter is a great place for writers to learn how not to market their books.  Seriously.  Spend a good month wandering around from writer feed to writer feed and look at all the ways people approach marketing their book via the Twitter stream.  Some of them do it really well.  Others look at Twitter the same way alcoholics look at unused microphones on the stage at their best friend's wedding:  they'd think twice about jumping on stage and screaming something ridiculous and embarrassing...if they weren't drunk.

A great deal of authors think plugging their book or website in every single tweet is the same thing as saying, "Hey, I've got a book."  In reality, what they're saying is something like this:

Auto-DM Plug Molestation
Not unlike plug molestation, auto-DM plug molestation is a special form of self-flagellation that causes me to unfollow faster than FOX cancels awesome TV shows.  These annoying DMs show up in your box when you're least expecting them and are never anything more than "hey, look at my blog/book/art/underwear" coupled with "I iz awezum and you muzt luv me!"  The only person who has auto-DMed me and didn't get unfollowed was George Takei, whose auto-DM is emblematic of his public persona and, therefore, damned cute.  Good on you, Takei.

Language Gaps
Incoherent tweets and excessive use of vulgar language is never anything but irritating.  I'll break these down one by one:

  1. Textspeak is not the same as English.  Let me put my pretentiousness on my shoulder for a second by saying that using textspeak in daily conversation, even on the Internet, is kind of like the lady in the courtroom who types in shorthand to record the proceedings talking to people in the same language.  Textspeak is the new shorthand, and within the context of text messages and the like, it makes perfect sense.  On Twitter?  No so much.  Twitter has a character limit, not an intelligence and language limit.  There are good reasons to use "u" for "you" on Twitter, but not as a standard.  (Using "lol" is less problematic than "im :) irl BC i hv chez.")
  2. If censoring your tweet for younger audiences ends up looking something like this:  "Holy f*** s**t, c**tbag f***ing ***hole s***head!"  Well, maybe you need to expand your vocabulary.  Because all I see is this:  "Holy f st ctbag fing hole shead" (which I translate as "holy fisit, cotbag fing hole shed!"  As far as I know, that's not a sentence...).
S-E-OH! (and Real Estate Whores)
There are three brands of idiots on Twitter:  people who don't now how to use it, people who think they are experts because they put "SEO" or other buzzwords in their profile, and people who follow other people who clearly have no interest in whatever they are peddling.  All of these people are annoying for different reasons, but its the last two that make me laugh maniacally when I don't click the "follow" button in return.  After all, my profile makes clear that I am a graduate student, which, last I checked, translates fairly closely to "too damned poor to buy a house."

Of course, they probably think I'm going to say something like this:  "Why yes, I do want to follow you because you're an SEO or real estate expert.  I can't wait!  Please fill me with your completely irrelevant information.  I need it.  Put it inside me...PLEASE!"

In reality, I'm thinking this:  "Hmm.  How many ways can I kill you with a laser from where I'm sitting..."


Do any of these bother you on the lovely Twitter?

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  1. I hate when authors constantly promote their books. That's one of my biggest gripes about following a bunch of writers. I find it's especially apparent with some of the people who self-published their books. If every single tweet is a plea to buy your book with a link to Amazon or Smashwords, I *will* unfollow you.

  2. Amen to that. Nothing more irritating that someone who won't shut up about their book!

  3. Okay, so maybe that's hyperbole, but it's still damned annoying.

  4. The number one way to be annoying on Twitter is to stick a full stop in front of all your reply Tweets so that your stream reads like the one-sided ravings of a mad man. Which is why I've had to unfollow you again.

  5. Wouldn't one's stream read like the rantings of a mad man anyway, regardless of the stops? Or does this affect certain Twitter applications?