A beautiful thing about Twitter is the wealth of useful information that flows. (if you're following cool tweeps!) But if you're a newbie to Twitter, you can easily make mishaps if you don't know the "twetiquette". I've compiled a TOP 10 List of MUST HAVE Tips to help you out. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
1. Be yourself, but be aware. Yes, you can say whatever you feel like saying, but remember that whatever you write will exist in the world wide web forever! Proceed with extreme caution. The place to vent about your boss, company or co-workers is NOT here.
2. Engage and Interact with others. If you like something they say, reply by clicking the little grey arrow that appears when you hover over one of their tweets. (If you're using Tweet Deck, simply hit the @reply tool) You can also simply type in @username (replacing "username" with whatever their username happens to be on Twitter). This is the way you speak to someone on Twitter. Even BETTER than the @reply is the RT, or Re-Tweet. Tweeple (twitter people) are MORE likely to read a RT because if you thought it was cool enough to send to YOUR followers, then possibly they will to. It's a great little trick for getting followers.
3. Follow celebrities. They may never interact with you, but at least you can interact with them. It's no longer a question of who is on Twitter -- but who ISN'T on Twitter. Common interests build relationships. Celebrities and/or those who follow them are no different.
4. Third Party Applications Are A MUST! If you're Tweeting from the twitter home page, you're behind the times. Did you know that you can Twitter from your desktop, your iphone or blackberry? Twitter allows programmers to create tools to make using Twitter a better experience for us all. There's Twitterrific, TweetDeck, and Twhirl -- just to name a few. My personal preference is Tweet Deck.
5. Follow New People Daily Don't know who to follow? A quick search for some of your favorite things on search.twitter.com will quickly reveal who you should be following on Twitter. Maybe they'll follow you back! You can also use Twello (it's like the yellow pages of Twitter) I don't recommend "auto follow" apps because it defeats the purpose of Twitter: transparency and authenticity.
6. Follow government officials. Check to see if your elected officials are Tweeting. http://tweetcongress.org Regardless of what political views you have, you have to admit that the Obama campaign dominated social media--especially Twitter.
7. Ask the Twitterverse Twitter is all about giving FIRST--especially helpful information. If you have a need, a question or need a resource, ask the Twitterverse. News and information travels at the speed of light there!
8. Tweetups I've successfully connected OFFLINE with Twitter connections that started online. Not only have I made friends but I've developed strategic business alliances and gained new clients. ALL FOR FREE using Twitter. Simply put, a Tweetup is a gathering of fellow Twitter users in your local community. If you don't have one in your area, start one!
9. NO AUTOMATIC Follower Getters! I know it SOUNDS tempting when you read the ads. "Get 15,000 followers in 30 days." But ask yourself this, how are you REALISTICALLY going to interact with all those people? And are they REALLY listening to you? Probably not. Choose who you follow (and unfollow) YOURSELF. You'll thank me for it as you develop REAL connections.
10. Use Twetiquette! The same courtesies you give offline also apply online. DON'T BE THAT GUY OR GIRL! What I mean is this: Don't send people links to buy your stuff UNTIL they ask for it! Twitter is a NETWORKING tool, not a sales tool. The sales part comes AFTER you develop and cultivate your new relationships. Ask people being to know, like and trust you you will find they are more open to learning about your product or service.