How to use Twitter - some ideas on DOs and DON'Ts

Oliver Ueberholz blogged about 17 meaningful ways to use Twitter (commercially even - in German): 17 sinnvolle Anwendungsideen für twitter.

...which finally prompts me to write a post about 'how to twitter (meaningfully).

Background:
I think Twitter can be a helpful tool in the information flow, but there is the danger to be flooded with irrelevant stuff.

The general guidelines:
* Twitter soemthing, if you expect any reaction to it, that is relevant for both people involved.

Example:
** The fact that you are starting or finishing work, boarding or leaving a plane might be relevant if people want to reach you.
** What you had for breakfast or that you are moving from the bathroom to the living room will usually not incite a 'response' or 'physical reaction' in others. (except if you give hints where to get really delicious brakfeast or recommend a hotel or explain what you will watch on TV now as a hint to others...
** Summary: If you don't expect anyone else to do anything as a response to your tweet: maybe skip it. (I'd not count a 'good morning to you too' as a response, it seems to be best practice to me to include the 'good morning' with your firstrelevant tweet ;) )

* Make your message comprehensible to people who do NOT have the context.

Example:
** BAD - Joe: "Twitter is nonsense." Jack twitters: "@Joe: I agree."
** BETTER - Joe: "Twitter is nonsense." Jack twitters: "@Joe: If you think that twitter is nonsense, I agree."
** BEST - Joe: "Twitter is nonsense." Jack twitters: "Maybe we have not found the right way to make Twitter really useful yet." (Joe will probably know you react to him ;) )
** Ideal (in this case): Joe: "Twitter is nonsense." Jack twitters: "d Joe righty. ;)" (This goes to Joe and only to Joe ;) ).

So think:
"What do I want others to do, how do i want them to react to my MSG?"
If you can't think if anything, amybe you should not interrupt them.
Think:
"Will everybody understand my message? Even if he/she does not know the context?"
If 'no': Give the msg more context.

To be useful:
* point to websites (make others surf there)
* tell others how to reach you, if you are gone
* tell others where to meet you
* make oberservations about life, universe and everything

But don't just twitter that you are still breathing.

BTW: The MSG 'I am at my desk' can easily be replaced with some info on what interessing task or thought you are working on. (And it is not 'answering my e-mail' ;))

Hint: If you subscribe to the 'english'-tag (see tag list on the right) of this blog you will only get the English posts ;)

Update: I slightly reworked and clarified some stuff.

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  1. Good tips! Thanks!(Although I might not adhere to them totally, but that's just me...)
    Cheers!

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    1. It just makes me too hungry to read that everybody goes to lunch and I have to wait for the family to arrive ;)

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