Twitter Etiquette... When Nice is Wrong and Rude is Better??
By Kim DuBois
Published on 01/26/2010
"I may be new to the social media scene, but when did being polite become a novice mistake?" ...Thoughts and comments from a social media newbie.


I may be new to the social media scene, but when did being polite become a novice mistake? 

When I began my journey to build an online community, the thing I wanted most was to show people how genuine I am about the work I do.  To allow my sincerity and passion to surface in the words I write and the way I interact with my friends and followers.

Moving from Facebook to Twitter, I noticed right away that some tweeters were sending me little thank you notes for following them.  Holy cow, I was so grateful people were choosing to follow me, I made sure to send those messages right back!  Those thank you reply’s were literally the first correspondence I had on Twitter and receiving them made me feel like I was a legitimate part of the community. 

But then I started noticing that more and more of the thank-you's were arriving at 3:00am, and I quickly realized they were just auto- reply's.  Sadly, no one was sitting at their computer thanking me personally, as I'd first imagined, and I began to feel a bit confused about what to do.  I really liked the genuineness of responding to each and every person who chose to become part of my community, but I wasn’t feeling that from the most of the reply’s I was receiving.  And if I wasn’t feeling it from them, maybe the people I was thanking weren’t feeling it from me either.

Then I read a blog about social media etiquette and one of the big no-no's was thanking followers in general.  “There is no need to thank someone following you," the author wrote, "They aren't following you for you, they are following you for them." 

Well, that made sense, but still.  It feels rude not to say something!  Is it really so wrong to say thank you?

Wanting very much to fit-in in this brave new world I’d entered, I began to question myself… to thank or not to thank.  And my anxiety only grew when I read this tweet; “If I follow u and u auto-reply, I will unfollow u.  Do not auto-reply!”  Oh Lord, now here was a new layer to my stress.  Not only am I flirting on the fringes of social awkwardness by thanking people in the first place, but what if they think I’m committing yet another faux pas by being automated! 

As of this writing, I don’t even know how to auto-reply.  Every message I’ve sent was done only after I’d visited each home page and gotten to know the person I was thanking.

Worrying about what was right or wrong bothered me.  I kept thinking about the man who’d threatened to unfollow and the one that said not to thank at all.  Then I thought about how nice it felt when I believed the little notes were aimed directly at me… and then I realized this is Twitter!  There is no right or wrong.  And more than that, I can do what I want!  That is one of the beauties of the internet – it’s an open and free forum for people to express themselves in the ways of their choosing.  I can thank, not thank or even, *gasp* auto-reply, and no one can stop me!  This is my community I’m building, and the one I build will always reflect the effort I’ve put into it. 

I still don’t know if I’ll thank everyone or not, it’ll probably depend on my mood and the day.  But I do know that I’ll continue to do what I feel is real, sincere and genuine, because that’s who I want to be. There’s just less stress when you think about it that way, don’t you think?

As always it is my goal to uplift and inspire.  Thank you for allowing me to be part of that with you.  - Kim