I have been using Twitter for over three and a half years. I have seen it grow from something geeks used, to something brands and celebs started to dabble in, to something that pretty much anyone with an internet presence is required to have. Over time though, people have started ignoring best practices and doing things that are just annoying. My friend AC Slater already covered this topic, but I thought I would put my own spin on it.
About a year ago Twitter announced they were adopting the user-created “ReTweet” feature. The idea was that if you see something you like, you can tweet the person’s tweet for all of your followers to see. You would prefix the tweet with “RT” so that it wouldn’t show up as a reply and people would know who are retweeting. Twitter ran with this and built in the functionality so that when you retweet something it would show up differently. I think this was a great example of adapting a service to how people use it. The problem is that not all people (or twitter clients) utilize this functionality. There are two problems with this. First, it means that if you use the unofficial way and I then use the official way, the original poster doesn’t get credit except in the body of the tweet itself. And the ability to easily find out how many times a tweet of yours has been re-tweeted is tougher. Second, and more importantly, it means that the same re-tweeted tweet can end up in your timeline more than once. The fact that the same users are continually doing this leads me to believe either they are using an outdated Twitter client, or just to ignore common social practices.
Re-tweeting Instead of Replying
Probably my biggest annoyance, which has flat out caused me to stop following people. There are people out there who want to “publicly” reply to tweets and so they put their comments and re-tweet the original tweet. The problem is that their comments are strictly a reply to someone as opposed to personal commentary on the tweet. I don’t mind this on occasion but sometime they are mundane tweets being replied to and I get tired of a barrage of replies to questions I didn’t ask. Re-tweet answers to questions like “what is the best twitter client,” not questions like “who is the hottest Spice Girl?”
Incorrect Use of Hashtags
The hashtag concept was conceived so that you could reference something without having to be too explicit. So in theory I could do something like “I can’t believe they got both Dunn and Konerko. #WhiteSox” Or to reference a category of posts, “Crimson Tide is a really underrated movie. #movieReview” The idea was that you could make it easier to search for things. But then it gets overkill. “The #WhiteSox signed #Dunn and #Konerko.” But what does that do? I could have just searched for Konerko in the first place, you don’t need to put hash tags on words ALREADY in the tweet. The idea is to add meta information. Typically when people use tags to keep track of data its to help find the data later, but you generally don’t put the words from what you are tagging in the tags.
Hashtag Meme Spamming
At some point someone came up with the idea to create strange topics/questions that people come up with answers/ideas for and turn them into hashtags. These are often movie titles or phrases1 to silly things like “how to piss your girlfriend off (#howtopissyourgirloff)” or “less ambitious movies (#lessambitiousmovies).” The latter where you would change the name of a movie, let’s say A Few Good Men to something like One Good Man. In general the practice wouldn’t be so bad, but often people involved will tweet, multiple times2 in a short period of time, many tweets corresponding to the hashtag. The volume is what makes this most annoying because it stops being funny almost immediately. Luck for me that my YoruFukurou of choice on the Mac allows me to filter these tweets out as soon as they appear.