I love Twitter, no doubt about it. I have found it to be a fabulous tool, through which I’ve come to know countless brilliant and fascinating people. To me, Twitter is about building relationships. Like all social media tools, there is no one right way to use Twitter. I cannot control how others use it, but I can control who I follow and how I interact with them.

I follow most people back who follow me. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I do aggressively unfollow if your use of Twitter is not aligned with my own style. Of course, you are always welcome to similarly unfollow me if you feel my content is inappropriate or a bad fit for your twitterstream.

Just so we’re clear, here are some of the deal-breakers for me which will likely earn you a big unfollow from me:

  1. You’re naked (or nearly naked). Yeah, I don’t really know what you’re wearing, or not, when you’re actually tweeting, but please put some clothes on that avatar.
  2. You talk about yourself endlessly. This is where most of your tweets are just broadcasting links to your blog, your e-book, your teleclass, your LinkedIn profile…enough already. Way to take the “social” right out of social media.
  3. You tweet links for me to “Click here to make money on Twitter” or “….get 1,000s of followers.” I’m here because I want to know *you* – if the feeling isn’t mutual, that’s OK. We’re just not a good fit. And, I appreciate that you’re guaranteeing that I’ll make tons of money on Twitter; I’m still not interested.
  4. You recommend people you don’t even follow, including me, in a #FollowFriday tweet. What’s up with that? How can you recommend someone you don’t even remotely know?
  5. You include links which are misleading. I’m not talking about RickRolling here; I mean making it seem like there is really great content if you just follow this link, only to have it lead to promotional material or a squeeze page. This happens when you take advantage of the common convention of shortened links on Twitter and is a violation of the trust your followers have placed in you.
  6. Your tweets are automated and often post content repeatedly in bursts where suddenly my twitterstream is nothing but you. It may be easier on your end, but it is just rude for those of us on the receiving end.
  7. You don’t engage with others. When I look at your profile and don’t see any tweets which begin with an @ symbol, this means you are just broadcasting information, not actually talking or replying to anyone else.
  8. You don’t practice what you preach. There are some on Twitter with huge numbers of followers who preach about the importance of engagement, yet routinely don’t reply to others. When following huge numbers of people, this can become a challenge, but there are many who manage this successfully building their own credibility by walking the talk.
  9. You have tweeted twice, yet are already following hundreds of people. I sense you’re a bot, rather than a real person, and can already see spam on the horizon.
  10. You use TweetLater or some other service to send auto-DMs (direct messages) to me once I start following you. You are so excited that I’ve decided to follow that you tell me that I seem like a really interesting person or you offer me a free e-book or send me a link to take a survey for new followers to help you get to know me (yes, really!). I’d much prefer that you read a few of my tweets, interact with me and really get to know me. I don’t need to be bought with a gift for being your friend and, heaven knows, I surely don’t want a stranger selling stuff to me right out of the gate.
  11. You don’t get that authenticity is a key component of social media success. You have the default Twitter avatar or are using a photo of your dog. You haven’t completed your Twitter bio – come on, it is really, really easy to do. I don’t know your name and can’t find your blog, your LinkedIn profile or any other online presence. I’m here for networking and to get to know people. If you want help setting up your profile, all you need to do is ask, I’ve helped many others and would be happy to help you.
  12. Even on a list of 11 items, it is worth repeating #1 – Go put some clothes on. Seriously.


While you’re here, you’ll also want to check out my 11 Tips to Thrive on Twitter.

What about you? Do any of these points sound familiar? What would you add to the list?