Read this, @susanweiner!

Hey, loser, quit @ naming people to promote yourself

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.

Note: This post was updated and expanded on Oct. 30, 2015.

5 replies
  1. Brian Boys
    Brian Boys says:

    It’s funny you’d post this the day after I put your Twitter ID in a tweet. I often do that when I’m tweeting someone else’s article so they know it was tweeted, and I haven’t used their share button.


  2. Susan Weiner, CFA
    Susan Weiner, CFA says:

    I like when people do what you did. Thank you!
    What bothers me is when they use my Twitter ID solely to promote their own work, especially when it’s something that has no relevance to me.

  3. Brian Boys
    Brian Boys says:

    Agreed. It’s part of the frantic self-promotion that’s ruining Twitter. Facebook had the same problem and fixed it by severely limiting everybody’s organic reach. We’ll see what Twitter comes up with.


  4. David Lufkin
    David Lufkin says:

    The reality now is that Twitter is being used by millions to spam promote their products, books etc. The algorithms being used rely on accumulating and turning over tens of thousands of users. Whenever we follow someone we’re interested in, we get drawn in to the black hole of twitter spam. I’m not sure where all this goes or if there is any way to filter it.

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