I enjoy exchanging tweets with people. I’ve made friends and learned things from these exchanges. But I get annoyed when people repeatedly tweet at me only to promote themselves and content that they’ve written.
Here’s an example of what I dislike:
Hey @susanweiner, read our great blog post at http://…
Their using my Twitter name—my @name, @susanweiner—forces their tweet to my attention. I hate this. Well, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I think you’ll know what I mean if you spend a lot of time on Twitter. When I look at these people’s Twitter timelines, they are filled with promotional tweets that differ only in the person whose Twitter name is mentioned.
I can forgive—and perhaps even enjoy—a one-time promotional tweet directed to @susanweiner. Perhaps there’s a link with some great content that’s perfect for me. But repeated tweets of the same self-promotional content that’s irrelevant to me? No, thanks.
This doesn’t mean that I’m against using Twitter to promote yourself. I do it all the time. However, I recommend that you tread lightly in @naming specific people if you’re not sure they’ll welcome your attention.
Thank you for @naming me in other cases
After I published this rant, I realized that I might scare those of you who use other people’s Twitter names in a good way.
Let me clarify. It is perfectly fine—and even desirable—for you to use a person’s Twitter name when you share something they’ve written or shared. It’s polite to give credit to people. I appreciate the many courteous people who do this for me.