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Archive for April 26th, 2010

You may or may not know it yet, but I love twitter.¬† To me it is one of the best internet inventions ever….well besides the internet of course ūüôā

I’ve said before that I could quite happily spend the whole day on twitter; following links, retweeting quotes, chatting to¬†friends around the world, connecting with new friends I noticed mentioned by current friends, having a laugh at the jokes, responding to mentions, having a peek into someone else’s life: finding out¬†what they like, who they don’t like, what they think of Tiger Woods, who is visiting starbucks, who loves tea, who has been where, whose kids are on spring break, photo’s of gorgeous places, who is sitting on a carribean beach, what is happening 6,000 miles away, who is passionate about which cause, who supports those causes, who is selling what, and why, who writes poetry, whose baby has just been born, whose birthday it is, celebrating their achievements, who is passionate about their garden, who shares my interest in travel, which people lean towards religion and who doesn’t and much much more…….you know what I mean.

And this got me to thinking about the etiquette of twitter, about how it is we get to connect with the people behind the profiles and I wondered if twetiquette is the same as etiquette and do the same rules apply when we are relatively anonymous behind a computer screen as opposed to being face to face.

Etiquette (pronounced [,eti’ket]) is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group. The French word √©tiquette, signifying ticket (of admission, etc.) first appeared in English in 1750.

So if I understand that correctly; etiquette in simple terms is a code of behaviour within a social class or group.  How then is etiquette practised in the world of twitter.

In a normal social setting it is good etiquette to introduce yourself, to shake hands in greeting (or whatever the correct social norm would be in your any particular country), to engage in polite conversation, to enquire after someones health and if you feel comfortable in the environment you then engage further and enquire as to career or family ties, do they participate in a sport, what sort of music they enjoy and so through a repartee of conversation within the norm of a social setting you get to find out more about the person you are communicating with.

On twitter your introduction is your profile: you have an opportunity to introduce yourself.¬† I come along, I¬†have a look and if we speak the same language or like similar things we then ‘follow’ : we shake hands.

Next I post a tweet that I am about to go on holiday or I re-tweet an interesting link¬†you have posted¬†about travel tips or an exciting destination –¬†you respond and as we engage so we get to learn more about one another: conversation.

Then perhaps a friend comes along and we think the person we are with might like to meet them, so we introduce them: @mention the person and if possible we say why aka #ff or #followfriday

Sometimes over the course of time we find that the things they say aka ‘tweet’ are of no real interest, so we move on¬†:¬†unfollow

When we first meet a new person in a normal social settings we dont just jump in with the company’s latest advert : marketing links

And I dislike the idea of ‘automated’ following programmes¬†to build numbers : running down the street ‘shouting..be my friend’?!

So here is my idea of twetiquette:

Follow = I like you and think we may have things in common

Retweet your post = I find your post interesting and would like to share it with others

@mention you and comment on something you said previously = conversation

Click on a link you posted = taking an interest in what you have to say

Retweet the link = I think other people might also be interested

Retweet a comment you made eg a quote = repartee

#followfriday = I think youre a great person and would like to introduce you to my other friends

So, those are just some of my ideas!  What are your thoughts on the matter?

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