Rules For Twitter.

I think the idea of having “rules” to prescribe on anyone is crazy. But much has been made of Gord Miller’s(@GMillerTSN) rant this morning about his “rules for Twitter”. People are calling him names, tweeting at him incessantly, and it has inspired one hockey writer to go on an insane ramble, creating a Christmas story about said post. Here are Miller’s “Rules for Twitter”:

1) Don’t get into fights on Twitter. Even if you win you look ridiculous. Ignore the trolls who are trying to start arguments.
2) Don’t pay attention to your @mentions. Twitter is a haven for haters, ignore them and it’s just angry people shouting in a vacuum.
3) Don’t respond to people you don’t know. You can only get “destroyed” on Twitter if you allow it to happen.
4) Don’t follow people who annoy you. You wouldn’t invite an obnoxious person to your home, why allow them into your virtual world?

Okay, fair play Miller. Your opinion. Here’s my beliefs on Twitter. They aren’t rules, they aren’t prescriptions. This is just how I do it. Take it for what it is.

1) Be interactive. Miller is totally missing the boat by saying you should never respond to people you don’t know and never read your @ replies. Yeah, people will say some dumb things to you. If you can’t ignore it and take that for what it is, maybe don’t be on Twitter at all.

I fully understand Miller is a television personality and people follow him for news and updates only, so we are in different boats. But it is social media after all. The best part of Twitter is interacting with like-minded people I don’t know.

1a) Oh, and Rule #4 is just stupid. Who follows accounts they don’t like?

2) Have fun. This is just a general life thing for me, but it extends to Twitter too. Twitter is the most fun thing ever. I get to interact with everyone in my world, including the bands I listen to, actors I watch in TV/movies, authors I read, and people I know. It’s the best. Even my students and I get to have some interaction, which is nice interplay that often doesn’t occur inside a busy classroom where learning is taking place. If you aren’t following funny people and you’re not having fun with Twitter, I can say unequivocally that you are doing it wrong.

3) Tweet meaningfully. The one thing that is almost a guaranteed unfollow for most people(and me) is volume. It doesn’t matter how great you are, unless you are a primary news source in your given area, people don’t want to hear from you every 5 seconds. This is especially true if you have a personal account with 5,000 followers or less. Conversations on Twitter are totally fine, as long as they are meaningful conversations. If it can be better said in a DM, take it there. If you’re tweeting jokes, make them count. If you’re tweeting your viewpoint on something, do it in 3 tweets or less. No one wants their news feed splashed.

4) Favorite and re-tweet often, but not too often. A lot of people spend a lot of time on making their Twitter accounts meaningful and enjoyable for their followers. The occasional favorite or re-tweet lets them know you appreciate their work, and as a comic, it is a useful tool for a lot of us to decide if material is stage-ready or not. However, some people abuse the favorite button and wear it out. I want to know your favorites are meaningful, and, God forbid, actually your favorites.

5) Be yourself. Your Twitter should be an extension of you, not some pseudo-personality that you have constructed. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, people have the option to unfollow you at any time.

Cool. Get along now, kids. Y’hear?