Sunday, June 9, 2013

Twitterquette


Or, How to Behave Like a Fully Developed Member of Society While on Social Media



When I first got on Twitter, I though it was the coolest dang thing in the world that all these formerly inaccessible authors were just right there. I could talk to them! I could let them know how much I loved them! And sometimes they even interact back, like we're all the same carbon-based life forms inhabiting the very same planet or utilizing the very same interwebs or something. It's just mind-boggling. Like when you look in those magazines where they have those Stars: They're People Too! sections. "OH MY GOD. Jennifer Aniston buys coffee?! I buy coffee. That is just... nuts."

But there's an illusion on social media that, because you can't see the person on the other end of an interaction, they're not a real person. This problem is only compounded when you throw fame into the mix. Our culture sees people of notoriety as public property. You think because you know who that author or actor or singer is--know what they look like, sound like, write like-- they must know you, too. They owe you something. They're not really people who get tired or maybe don't want to respond to all 450 @replies they just received.

Most of the time, Twitter is an awesome place for fans and authors and bookish people to interact.
Most people, I'm delighted to say, keep it pretty respectful on Twitter when it comes to authors. But lately I've seen a lot of instances where the denizens of the Twitterverse have flouted the rules of common decency (and common sanity). Here are a few quick and dirty Twitter lifestyle tips to keep our favorite social network a fun and happy place.


DO NOT tweet an author the same message over fifty times. Yes. I saw a person do this. I've seen several people do this. And I know it was over fifty times, because this person very conveniently numbered each tweet. I won't show the actual tweet, but it was very similar to this:

HI @VeryPopularAuthor! I love you but you never notice me! PLEASE respond :) -45
HI @VeryPopularAuthor! I love you but you never notice me! PLEASE respond :) -46
HI @VeryPopularAuthor! I love you but you never notice me! PLEASE respond :) -47



CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THAT MUST BE LIKE IN YOUR FEED. It doesn't matter how much you love an author, that's harassment. Seriously, I would cry.



DO NOT get angry or hurt if authors don't respond. I'm sure they've got a LOT of people tweeting at them. Just because they don't respond, it doesn't mean they hate you.

DO NOT demand things of authors. "Please reply!!!" "PLEASE read this book!" "You HAVE to do X and Y and Z." Nobody owes you anything on the internet (unless you are a banker and dealing with a client or something who literally owes you things. But pshh, like any of us are bankers). On the other hand, it's perfectly okay to jokingly wail at authors, "You MUST kill off that wretched second love interest because he's clearly interfering with my ship", because you're not really expecting them to obey you (and if you are, tighten those screws a bit).

 

DO show genuine enthusiasm for an author's work. I'm not an author, but I can see how happy it makes a lot of them to know readers are passionate about their books and characters. Let them know how awesome you think their stories are!

DO NOT beg for authors (or anyone, for that matter) to follow you back. Nobody should feel pressured to follow anybody, and you should never feel it's your right for someone you don't know--particularly someone well known-- to follow you. I've seen people get really insistent about it with authors and it is magnificently creepy.



DO let authors know their books are giving you all the feels. They should know how they make us suffer (in a Ron Weasley "You're gonna suffer, but you're gonna be happy about it" way). They love that. It means they have power.

DO NOT TROLL AUTHORS. Don't be nasty. Don't say mean things about them or their books to them. Lord knows there are books I hate, but there are NO authors I hate as people. Because remember-- they're people. And I've never @replied an author with a link to a negative review, nor have I ever tweeted an author a negative opinion about his or her book. Be polite about things. Be positive. Don't go out of your way to ruin someone's day. It really is an actual human being at the end of that Twitter handle.

DO NOT ask intrusive personal questions. "Hey @VeryPopularAuthor, how's your day going?" GOOD. "Hey @VeryPopularAuthor, are you SURE you're actually straight?" BAD. "Hey @VeryPopularAuthor, I saw it was your birthday today! Happy birthday!" GOOD. "Hey @VeryPopularAuthor, your ass looks so damn fine in that photo I took of you with my telephoto lens." BAD.



So you see, the rules are actually pretty simple. At the end of the day, Twitter is a social forum, and it's meant for socializing! Interact away! But just because you're on the internet doesn't mean you should interact in a way that would seem uncomfortable in real life. If you wouldn't say it to their face, DON'T say it to their Twitter handle. Because ultimately, we all read our Twitter handles with our faces. So it's pretty much like you did.

These rules can also be used when interacting with bloggers, agents, publishers, celebrities of any kind, and even total nobodies! Tweet kindly and responsibly, kids. It's good for your skin.

What Twitter codes have you seen broken before? What rules do you always try to follow?

12 comments:

  1. A big, fat AMEN to all of this!! Every time I see someone begging for a follow back, I cringe and then I want to smack them silly. Yeesh. It's just not done, people!!

    Excellent post, and as always, masterful use of .gifs. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhh, that always makes me die inside. It's so awkward and just not the way of doing things.

      :D

      Delete
  2. OH my goodness. XD I would LOVE to know the source of the catalyst bad tweet that must have set this entire flawless article in motion!

    Again, flawless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the fifty-times-in-a-row tweet. I don't want to embarrass the girl, who I don't even know, but apparently this is a THING some people do now in certain places. AWFUL.

      Delete
  3. YES!!

    Once again, I think we may share the same hive mind, because I've been working on a post that touches on some of this (sort of). Anyways, GREAT post, and oh my gosh it so needs to be said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CAN'T WAIT TO READ YOURS. (Seriously, though, get out of my head. It's crammed enough in here!)

      Delete
  4. Great post! I can't believe those tweets were numbered?? Crazy. Also, I laughed out loud at the "your ass looks so damn fine in that photo I took of you with my telephoto lens". Haha. Great gifs that went with this by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know right? What compels you to tweet someone the same message fifty times in a row? And NUMBER them, like you're proud of how many you've pulled off? OOF. Haha, thanks.

      Delete
  5. Dude, I am awed that someone was sending the same message over and over NUMBERED. HONK HONK. I do believe the crazy train is leaving the station! What the fuck are they trying to accomplish? Like, surely they'll follow back if they realize I care fifty tweets worth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TOTAL CRAZY TRAIN. EXACTLY. The numbering thing was almost like proof of SEE HOW MUCH I LOOOOVE YOU ANSWER MEEEE.

      Delete
  6. LOL this is so amusing. And I completely agree with ALMOST all of it. The one thing I can say about tweeting negative opinions of their books is that if you follow an author on Twitter and they tweet something about their book that you don't agree with, it's okay to respond as they are asking for feedback by tweeting it. I say this because I have actually had this happen to me a few times, and if I have to see it, then they get to hear my opinion. JMO though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OOH that is a good point. I don't see that as trolling at all, or being nasty and negative. If they ask, or they initiate, then that's totally fine! :)

      Delete

Note: comments on posts older than 90 days are automatically moderated, so they won't show up here immediately. Thanks for commenting! :)