Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our Twitter Etiquette

Etiquette was defined to me as this; The word 'etiquette' means 'label', in many languages.  'Etiqueta' is Spanish. 'Etikket' is Dutch. It also can mean a type of 'ticket', or 'form'.  It got the connection to manners in France.  

The French Court passed around a written form, label, ticket, what have you.  It was the 'etiquette' that listed all of the manners expected of one when visiting the French Court.  In modern terms, etiquette is simply a list of the manners expected for any given situation or place that one might find themselves in, and that can mean one's own home too. 
No jumping on the furniture!
Most people I know have general house rules.  Mine are mostly like these listed here;  If you finish a roll of toilet paper, don't leave it there empty for the next household member.  Put a new one on.  No drinks on the antique furniture.  Make sure your friends use a coaster.  Grand kids, regardless of cuteness, are not allowed to jump on the sofas, beds, or any other furniture!  I don't want a child falling and hitting his or her pretty face on the nightstand or coffee table.  These rules are common sense and common courtesy.
We enjoy Twitter
There is a site my sister and I try to visit frequently.  Twitter, it appears, is a site that in many cases, is lacking a set rule of manners.  There is no Twitter Etiquette, but there needs to be. We are truly appalled at some things we read on that site.  Mind you, my sister and I are not appalled easily.  We have tried to be as polite as possible.  If someone follows us, we now do not blindly follow back without doing a bit of checking, but even then, we get fooled.  

We have started to read the tweets of people who, for example, we are convinced are selling some sort of pornography.  They may have great quotes or motivational sayings, however we do not want to re-tweet anything that may keep them in business. If any of our followers tweets, or re-tweets a tweet, with profanity or anything racist, or even religion intolerance, we unfollow them or block the person they are re-tweeting.  That way we have our follower still, but do not read something racist, profane or anything else we dislike.  Problem solved.
These things listed below, dismay and perplex us
My sister, @EtiquetteEQ and I, @EtiquetteFacts have had a long chat and we have decided 3 things about our Twitter accounts; 

1.  There is no Twitter etiquette that states anything, much less that we need to  do the following;  
  • Thank people for following us.
  • Thank people for re-tweeeting our tweets, though we will thank them occasionally.
  • Just because a tweet starts with 'RT' or asks us to 'please pass this along' we are not obligated to pass it along unless we deem it within our personal Twitter parameters.
  • 'Team Follow Back' we are not particularly interested in following back, nor re-tweeting, unless the tweet is within our chosen parameters.
  • 'Follow- Back Friday' or any other such lines have gotten friends all sorts of followers who do not tweet in English.  If we cannot read your tweets, we will not re-tweet them.  Many years ago, I took Spanish in school.  My sister took German. We forgot most of it, as we do not speak the languages unless we are out of the country. I know a bit of French and she knows some Dutch. But Russian? No. Arabic? No. We never learned those languages.
  • If we tweet a news story headline or statistics, we are simply passing on the information.  We are not endorsing views expressed, or any way of thinking that may be expressed.  Please do not send us angry tweets over your preconceived notions.  We may just be as upset as you are, and that is why we tweeted the story!
2. We do not care how many people follow us on Twitter.  If they aren't reading our tweets, they are missing out. We cannot trade followers in for money. And though it is possible to makes friends on Twitter, we are not looking for friends. We have plenty. We wouldn't mind meeting someone new in our circle, but we have full lives and I travel seasonally between 2 homes in 2 different states, ever since my husband retired.  
We love to teach manners across the Twitterverse
We have been witness to a few growing friendships though, like Maura Graber's @Etiquettologist and @EtiquetteSleuth and Corey Peterson's @downtonabblings  We can't help but find it charming, that our own "Etiquette Guru", Maura Graber, is teaching etiquette to a 14 year old in New Zealand and is teaching him how to do talks on old silver, no less!  He needs braces.  She figured she could help him raise money to get them.  How cool is that?!?  We think it is very cool!  And that friendship started quite naturally.  It wasn't that Maura was looking for a teen to teach, who lived clear across the ocean from her.  (Maura has a chronic, degenerative disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, and she told us that she has slowed her teaching down quite a bit in the last few years.)  She had tweeted something about New Zealand. He tweeted back with something like, "Hey! I am in New Zealand!" and thus it began. He had followed her originally, as she tweeted things about the hit period drama, "DowntonAbbey".  He's a fan of the show and has a big 'schoolboy crush' on Michelle Dockery who plays "Lady Mary" on the show. 

 3. We are not looking for any 'awesome', 'phenomenal' or 'mind-blowing' opportunities!  Others evidently, think otherwise. We simply enjoy tweeting about etiquette and manners.  We re-tweet those  tweets we find interesting, thought provoking, newsworthy or helpful.  All have to deal with cultures, history, period films or television shows, peoples, religions and manners.

My sister and I feel it is very poor manners indeed, to come up with a bio of oneself (likes, interests, hobbies, etc...) when all one really wants to do is try to sell us a program to get more followers, or sell us some other nonsense which we do not even care to read.  So, bearing that in mind, we would like to say to these very different folks, with different names and bios, who sent us the following notes...

"Thanks so much for connecting :) To say thanks, may I introduce you to a unique, mind blowing opportunity:"  

Thanks for the offer, but no thank you.
"Thanks so much for the follow :) As a thank you, here is an incredible opportunity for you, you'll love it:" 

No thank you, I said I am not interested.  Wait...  are you the same person with the last bio who I graciously followed?  This link looks identical!

"Thank you so much for the follow :) As a thank you, here is an incredible opportunity for you:"

No thanks!
"Thanks, much love to you :) As a token of my appreciation, I share with you the opportunity of a lifetime:"

"Much love" to me? You are sending me Twitter-love and a smiley face, along with a link that could possible infect my iPad, or smartphone?  Or you love me so much you want to sell me something?

"Thank you for following :) There is a great opportunity I feel you would love, it'll blow you away:"

I really do not wish to be "blown away", but if I ever do, I will contact you first :) Pinky swear!

Thanks for following, much love :) As a thank you gift may I introduce you to this phenomenal opportunity:

Wow! You love me too!  No thanks. I do not love you in return.

Now, if you follow me and send me these types of messages, I will still follow you and be eternally grateful, even re-tweet your tweets often, if they fit my twitter feed.  As will my sister.  We promise! If you keep tweeting this type of thing, we will do none of the above!

These, on the other hand, are great to receive; 
Hello, thanks for the follow! Look forward to tweeting with you! Have you seen our blog yet?  No, but I just might now.
Thanks for following. This follower isn't looking for anything other than nice tweets. Yay! So am I!

Thanks for the follow! Hope you enjoy the conversation. Check out our website  Great idea!  We love history!

We may even reply to one or two of you, such as this polite tweep below;
Hi EtiquetteFacts, I'm a Business Improvement Specialist! Do you know anyone in need of  strategic planning, forecasting or new business? Tibor

Not in New Zealand, but if I hear of anything, I will pass it along to you :)

Thank you for responding. I appreciate it.

He, or she, is polite and I really will pass the information along, if I find new businesses in his part of the world. (Hmmm, maybe one Corey Peterson of New Zealand, in a few years?) I will most likely "unfollow" the others at some point, or as my sister does, "unfollow" them, and then block them. (Guess which one of us is the more hot-headed one?)


  1. This is a great list! You, your sister and I all share these same frustrations. It drives me nuts that people are so focused on followers. Sharing your message is the whole point. Thank you for the kind mention. I will pass this along to Corey.

  2. I just signed up for twitter and I want to thank you for posting this on twitter manners. This is perfect information for me to reference if I run into similar rudeness.