How Not to Tweet

If you’re at all a fan of microblogging, you’ve probably seen some 140-character disasters come sailing through your stream. I’m not talking about faux-pas or inappropriate missives; my real peeve is using microblogging as a relay service for whatever content you actually do update.

Am I suggesting that you should never tweet about sales, blog posts or links to other sites? Not at all! Those are all perfectly legitimate uses of a microblog, and can be a powerful tool for bringing a new audience to your content.

The difference between an unexplained URL and a quick note (“Today I’m talking about gluten!”) followed by a link: huge. One of them is practically bound to be ignored (didn’t your mama teach you never to follow strange links?); the other lets people know at a glance where you’re sending them and why they should click.

But don’t think that you can just paste that same note and URL combo everywhere you have an online presence. Remember, some of your fans may follow you in multiple places. If all you’re doing is regurgitating the same tired message, all you’re really saying to your fans is that there’s no point in paying attention to more than one of your feeds. That can be a real problem if you ever do decide to run specials or connect with your followers in a meaningful way – once they’re gone, it’s unlikely they’ll be back.

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