If you’re new to Twitter and are trying to play by the rules, it can be a bit daunting! There are, of course, the official Twitter rules that you need to be mindful of. The folks at Twitter make it clear they dont’t want people doing slimy things like impersonating others, violating copyright laws, threatening people, and the like. If you get caught breaking one of these rules you’re likely to be banned. Not a good thing!
As with any community though, there are other rules besides the offical get-your-ass-in-major-trouble rules. These are rules created by the community members themselves, and while they may not be hard and fast like the others they can get you in a bit of hot water…at least with your peers. Some of the things many Twitter users don’t like to see are auto responders, constant self-promotion, using Twitter as an RSS feed, and of course spamming all your followers. There are others but these seem to be some of the biggies.
If you Google “twitter rules” you’ll get a long list of websites coming up with their version of the rules Tweeps should follow. (Even this post will likely be in that search result soon!). Here are just a few of the people who have written about Twitter rules:
@Scobelizer (Rober Scoble) – The 10 rules of Twitter (and how I break every one – This guy actually writes about breaking the rules, which some folks can get away with! Some people may not appreciate his lack of adherence to rules, but with nearly 50,000 followers he’s a definite presence on Twitter.
@GrantGriffiths has a bulleted list of things to do and not do on Twitter.
Some Twitter rules are definitely worth taking into account, but when it comes right down to it, it’s about respect. If you respect your followers, chances are you’re going to avoid many of the downfalls the rules have been built around. If you don’t like getting tweet after tweet from someone trying to sell their fancy automatic plant waterer, chances others won’t appreciate your multiple tweets about what you ate for dinner. If, on the other hand, you simply like to piss people off, go for it! I’m sure you’ll find some like-minded followers, but you’ll also find those who will unfollow you once they find out what you’re all about.