All right, guys, let's talk about Tweetiquette, better known as Twitter Etiquette. I may not be the most active twitter person (tweeter? What's the proper word here?), nor do I boast huge amounts of followers, but I am shocked, disappointed, and floored routinely at the total lack of respect and manners that are all over Twitter anymore.
I think that the anonymity of the internet has bled over into this fun social media site, but you need to stop and think that there is a real person on tacked on to the end of that @ symbol. It can be an author, and agent, another blogger, a publisher ... the list goes on. Being snarky and sassy may seem cute and witty in your head, but real feelings can get hurt and it can also affect your blog and your credibility.
1. Don't Beg
Possibly the #1 faux paus of Twitter is following someone and then immediately messaging them and saying something like: "Hey! I just followed you! Follow me back!"
Just, no. Slow your roll, Skippy, and take a breath. There is no tit-for-tat when it comes to followers and no obligations to follow anyone. Blowing up someone's feed to follow you is just silly. This is especially true of authors and publishers.
SCREAMING IN ALL CAPS THAT YOU ARE THEIR #1 FAN 4EVA is not gonna win you any brownie points. Constantly harassing, bugging and begging for them to follow you generally makes them want to do the opposite. Getting offended when someone doesn't follow you back also makes you seem like a sore loser. And possibly psychotic. Maybe both.
2. The All-Important Pic
I get not wanting to put your pretty face out there on the internet. Truly, I do. You're talking to the girl who came up with a fake name as a teen to match a user name she used all across the internet for over a decade because I heard all those horror stories of people being stalked, kidnapped and turned into wind chimes online.
That, and I didn't want my family and friends knowing I wrote some smutty fan fiction. But that's a story for another day.
Whatever your reasons I understand it, but please know that if you meet some authors, bloggers, etc. in real life at signings or book events (BEA, ALA, or another conference), you cannot get offended if we need to you pull up your twitter account so we can see that icon pic you've been using to place you. Same thing if you keep your name off the online world or use a different name.
I associate people I talk to on Twitter by their handle, this is especially true if their name is only listed as their blog name and they have a picture of their favorite book as their profile picture.
Congratulations on those fifty-three giveaways you entered in the last hour! But did you really need to clog up my feed tweeting about them all?
The same is also true of retweeting (RTs). While I know some things just begged to be retweeted--funny quotes, puppy pictures, and things that sum up exactly how I feel--it's still good to come up with your own tweets. If I follow you, I want to know more about you. I'm assuming you're following me for the same reason.
Or you just need someone who does routinely ridiculous and idiotic things that make you feel better about yourself. I'm totally OK with either reason.
But you can't expect people to want to follow you if all you're doing is regurgitating already posted info.
4. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme More
This is possibly the biggest no-no I can think of when it comes to twitter (or emailing/messaging someone), and I cannot believe it even needs to be addressed, but it is happening all the time, not just to me, but also to other bloggers and authors I'm friends with.
It is not OK to tweet at someone and ask for something unless you know them and have that kind of relationship. Let me explain:
I've been blogging for nearly three years. While I don't consider myself even close to one of the best blogs/bloggers, I do all right. I have a solid number of followers and page views and I've worked on establishing and maintaining relationships with authors and publishers. I went through the steps and the paces every newbie bloggers goes through of being shot down repeatedly for ARC requests and blog tours, of being ignored and passed over when mailing lists and invites went out. But I have been to conferences and signings and spent countless hours emailing, posting, tweeting, and creating unique features on my blog that helped me get to where I am.
So when I get an emailed from someone who has had a blog for all of three weeks with a whopping post count of four, begging me for publicists' email addresses so they can request books, I get a little annoyed. More than a little. I am all for helping people, but I'm not going to hand you blogging on a silver platter.
I also have a friend who, in order to protect the innocent, I'll call Brownie Batter Betty. Now B3 is an awesome friend of mine and a phenomenal baker, who bestows baked goods on a lot of authors she meets. In fact, she's kinda infamous for it. Even has her own business. She's been a blogger about as long as I have and has consequently become a darling in the blogging world with bloggers and authors alike - rightfully so, I may add. That being said, she's also become friends with a few big name authors which is very cool and very enviable, but I was left utterly astonished when she told me she regularly gets messages on Twitter asking her for these author's personal info. Apparently it's just assumed she has it since she's been in a picture or twenty with them.
How in the world is this OK? And did you really think Betty would say yes?
5. Snark, Slams, and Stupidity
Wanna know a secret? I love snark. I love the sass and the sarcasm and the smirks that go along with it. But there's also a time and place for it, and Twitter ain't always that place, folks.
You will inevitably come across a book that you just hate. Yes, hate. It will rub you like a bar of sandpaper in an acid shower and leave you feeling gross, repulsed, and chaffed. It's the reality of book blogging. Sadly you won't love every book.
That being said, blasting the author and their work publicly on Twitter might sound funny in your head, but remember that there is still a real person on the other end of your attack. A person who has feelings that can get trampled and crushed all so you could illicit a couple of smiles and giggles from people you've never met on the other side of a computer screen.
Bravo. Way to improve the world.
You wrote a scathing review on your blog about a book that you didn't like at all. That's fine. I'm not saying you can't write that review, but do you really need to tweet the author in your link? Do you really need to hold them down, cut them open and pour lemon juice on them? Does that really make you feel like a legit blogger?
It makes you sound like a legit tool.
6. You Get What You Give
Sometimes I wonder if there's any reason to write a post like this other than to make myself feel better. I think some people will read this and maybe do some internal flinching and realize maybe they should have been a little kinder. Some will realize they've acted like a fool and strive to better themselves.
But most will shrug it off and say whatever because at the end of the day, this is a generic social media site that really holds no user accountable. You can spew your venom and hate and retweets until your heart's content and no one can really do anything to stop you.
But as book bloggers, that's not entirely true. You have an entire blogging community watching you. You will have publishers who won't want to work with you and authors who will learn to ignore you. And you have no one to blame but yourself when people call you on your BS.
If there's one thing I've learned about the internet it's that people love a good cat fight and have no problem throwing back what you dish out.