The Five Most Annoying Twitter Usage Trends

TwitterI’m finding lately that people can’t get me to stop talking about Twitter. Even when I was supposed to speak at the Online Marketing for Women Entrepreneurs Conference about blogging a few weeks ago, I had to take 3 minutes to talk about the power of Twitter.

I realize a lot of people don’t get Twitter. I was there once too. It just seemed like a big time suck that would distract me from working. I started to pay attention when Laura Fitton (@pistachio) told me that Twitter was one of the top referrers of traffic to her site (what?!). Then Darren Rowse did a great blog post on it this spring, and I decided to jump in.

I’ve never looked back – it’s now become one of THE most important marketing tools we’re using on Sparkplugging – and at the same time, the actual ‘self-promotional’ tweets that our writers and I put out are probably less than 5% of our total messages.

One of the biggest challenges with Twitter is the level of usability it offers – which isn’t much. Gazillions of third-party tools are popping up as an answer to the challenges of managing followers, automating account maintenance, and even ranking users. The other night I felt very behind on following the people who are following me, so I carved out some time with MyTweeple to get caught up.

I probably added about 700+ new people to follow – and it was really interesting to go back to my email inbox and see my Twitter emails folder stuffed with Direct Messages (DMs) from these people thanking me for following them. But what was really interesting was to see who seemed to “get” Twitter – and who I went out and immediately unfollowed.

It got me thinking about some of the other annoyances I’ve had on Twitter. Really – some people just don’t get it. Now, I’m not one to tell anyone how to use a social media tool – in fact, I really like some of the people doing some of these annoying things. I’m just saying that I think they are extremely annoying – and maybe *other* people using Twitter aren’t so forgiving as I am.

DM People Who Just Start Following You With an Advertisement for Your Company

I can’t tell you how many messages I got from people after my following binge that said something like “Thanks for following me back! Want to make lots of money? Let me show you how”.

SERIOUSLY? Is that the very first thing that comes out of your mouth at conferences or networking events? No? Then why the HECK would you do that on Twitter?!

DM People you Hardly Know With Utterz Invitations

Good grief – if I hardly know you, don’t clutter up my already unmanageable inbox with another social network invitation. And if I wanted to join you on Utterz, I would already be there with you. I delete these invitations from friends most of the time – getting them from you when I hardly know you irritates the heck out of me. Yes, I have unfollowed some of you who have done this.

People who Get Pissy When You do ANY Self-Promotion at All

Like I said – I would be surprised if even 5% of our combined Sparkplugging writer tweets are blatantly self-promotional. I would bet it is even less. Because of that, most people are really cool and don’t care about a message here and there that let’s people know what’s new at our site or with our authors. But I have at least one time had someone say that one of our conversations was ‘irrelevant’ to him and to knock it off. To which I say: YOU ARE FREE TO UNFOLLOW (like I just did to you).

People Who Just Tweet Out but Don’t Respond to Others

This annoyance is definitely a very fine line – I really don’t care if this is how you want to use Twitter – this is a free country (and a free internet). And there are some people who I still follow who do this – but that’s because their tweets are either still valuable or interesting. I have to REALLY like you to follow you when you aren’t willing to engage in the conversation – but for the most part, it comes off as elitist to me and I don’t have time for that.

Using Multiple Accounts and Retweeting Yourself

Lots of people have personal and professional accounts to help put a boundary between promotion and conversation. But I’ve seen some people have multiple accounts and literally talk to themselves or retweet themselves repeatedly because they seem desperate to get the word out. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of separating personal and professional? And don’t you think they look a little like they have multiple personality disorder? ICK. I want to wipe this off of my skin when I see it.

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  1. says

    Excellent points. In my area there are three news entities taking advantage of Twitter. My favorite, by far is the one by News2, the gentleman running the account not only notes the stories, but engages in conversation with followers. This effective use of the tool has caused me to check their site more frequently. I only follow the other to monitor progress rather than any true interest.
    As I run a site that monitors our local blogosphere, I like to see who is attempting to adapt in the traditional media.

  2. says

    You make some great points here, Wendy. My latest twitter annoyance? This week I got an overly promotional @message from someone I didn’t know. In checking their twitter stream, they sent the exact same ad/link to their site to tons of people who probably didn’t know them either. Hadn’t seen that twitter *marketing tactic* before.
    Good for you for taking the time to connect with your tweeple. That’s one way to grow your audience and reach out. I’m sure many of them are so flattered that you’re now following them.

    Barbara Rozgonyis last blog post..Social Networking for Writers Speaker| IWOC Writers Conference

  3. Susan Payton, The Marketing Eggspert says

    Great points. I see all of those on Twitter now! I’m glad to say I’ve joined the Twitterlution.

    Hey, what’s up w/ the webcam or audio comments? Awesome!

  4. says


    Thanks for that.

    As someone eho is fairly new to Twitter, but absolutely hooked, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realised that (thankfully) I wasn’t guilty of any of these Twitter sins!

    I try to follow back 99% of my followers and I do like to acknowledge my followers. I tend to thank them in groups with a *wave* rather than DM.


  5. says

    I totally agree, Wendy! I also find it annoying when people tweet every 5 seconds with what music they are listening to or when people comment on something really cool they saw/read online and don’t have a link. It’s about sharing, people!


    Tracys last blog post..New Recommended Reading from ENC

  6. says

    I share some of your Twitter peeves. One that’s recently gotten me a bit bugged is when I see a day long conversation between two Twitter pals. After about 5-7 @ replies/exchanges, I’m ready for them to move their conversation to email, IM or a phone call.

  7. says

    Timely post Wendy! I was just talking with a client the other night about how important it is to participate the right way. It is not all about you and what you do. Goodness, learn about others and what you can do for them. Shoot just let them know you are thinking about them :)

    LaTaras last blog post..Breaking News: And Now This Special Report

  8. says

    Hi Wendy, I love it when you vent. What continues to irritate me is the number of people who start following hundreds, if not thousands, of people and haven’t tweeted/updated at all. I’m not one to simply follow someone because they follow me; I look at their history of interaction first.

    One of my favorite things to do on Twitter is promoting posts from others, rather than non-stop promotion of my own posts. Give to get.

  9. says

    Whew, I`m glad I`m not guilty of any of those! 😀 I tend to unfollow people who only twitter about mundane stuff (washing the dishes now, making beds, folding laundry). Not that this bothers me if they have other things to say, but if all they are doing is tweeting their daily chores, out they go!

    I have to admit that I don`t follow a lot of people, either. It just got too overwhelming for me and I had to cut back. If someone sends me an @message, I usually look at their profile closer and start to follow them, but I don`t know how people with hundreds or thousands of followers manage to keep it all straight!

  10. Nikki B says

    I’ve retweeted this post Wendy as I think it voices a lot of angst felt among many of us Twitter-ers!

    I have to agree with Lin in the fact that I don’t follow others because they are following me. I think that Twitter works best when you just follow the people that are of value or interest.

    Another annoyance is when someone starts following me and then sends me a message asking me to follow them – er…that’s a sure-fire way to get the ‘thumbs down’ from me.

    Also when people ask you to go and Digg, Stumble, Trip Over, Kiss, Hug their blog posts – not interested! Post a blog link and I may check it out – tell me to bookmark it and I won’t. It makes a mockery of social bookmarking – if a blog is good, it will naturally get bookmarked!

    So, on that note – I’m off to stumble, hug, digg and cuddle this blog as I think it’s a great post!


    Nikki Bs last blog post..The Butterfly Effect (but not that one)

  11. Blake Raab says

    How about the people who send five or six tweets (sometimes more) within seconds. Twitter has the 140 character limit for a reason, and these people overcome it by spamming tweets. :)

    Blake Raabs last blog post..Have a Picture-Perfect Holiday Season

  12. Lucretia Pruitt says

    Brilliant post Wendy – adding it to my list of “good twitter advice posts” for new twitterpals! :)

    And 100% agreed.

    I can only assume that someone out there told people to do that “DM new followers with a link to your site” thing as I’ve seen it on the upswing lately and it drives me nuts.

    Lucretia Pruitts last blog post..Random Poetic Moment

  13. says

    Very Interesting post! Now I’m trying to think back about my tweets and see if I’ve done some of those. LOL!

    curious though, the part about the retweeting from multiple usernames, do you feel the same way about a person retweeting their posts multiple times, but from same username?

    I’ve seen that done by some I follow, and the first two MAYBE three times I see them send out a tweet about their new post, it’s ok. Then I get it 4+ times and I get annoyed. I can understand why they are doing it. The same people aren’t on twitter at the same time, and if you’re following lots of people, tweets can get lost. But really, if I’m following you on twitter, I”m generally also going to your blog semi-regularly and will see your posts. Maybe that’s being kinda picky, don’t know.

  14. says

    I would like to add to the self promotion and discussion topic. I find it frustrating to start a conversation that none of the directly “@” lists respond to. It is typically the people who follow one person and post rants all day. You can imagine that they are probably also the people that cut everyone off, have their own opinions and not open to hearing others unless they are part of the Twitter elite. Not that I am bitter :). Despite that, Love your post and your Tweets!

  15. says

    Fantastic post. I have the same pet peeves you do. Every once in a while I’ll also go through and see who is a one way follower.

    It’s amazing. I always find at least one person I *should* be following but somehow missed the memo when they started following me.

  16. says

    whew!! I’m not guilty of any of these. Thanks for the primer on what not to do!



    sean808080s last blog post..Sad but not surprising – Capitalism Kills

  17. says

    Good points – I think I fumble on 4 a bit. I like sharing the articles I read and I’ll send them out to the twitterverse to by disbursed as it sees fit, but I don;t think I take the time to truly converse or get to know my followers like should.


    DaveMurrs last blog post..Nick Drake

  18. says

    Haha, I totally agree with what you said, Wendy.

    Personally, I don’t follow people if I don’t know who they are. And usually, these people also know who I am, so I don’t really experience these things. The only thing I’ve really experienced was people following me, but when I got to their page, I realized that they just follow a bunch of people and don’t tweet at all. Naturally there’s no point in following them.

    Kelvin Kaos last blog post..New Microphone: Blue Snowball

  19. Rebecca says

    Good list. I’ve just started using Twitter again and this list helps me keep my use in check. I’ll be sure to try not to annoy anybody with my twitter use!

    Rebeccas last blog post..Time For Mom

  20. Rose says

    Great post! Thank you! I’m just taking babysteps into twitter and this is really useful. For example responding to people, at first I wasn’t sure if it would be impolite to just say something in return to someone I don’t know. Kind of like walking up to strangers and joining their conversation at the mall. Nice to know it’s not only ok but encouraged. :)

    Roses last blog post..Did My Prenatal Vitamins Cause My Daughter’s Allergies?

  21. Deb Lee says

    One more thing that’s a little odd (and a bit annoying)…not being able to DM reply to a DM from someone who’s not following you. =

    Deb Lees last blog post..Ever Get a Flat Tire?

  22. says

    I understand #4, “People Who Just Tweet Out but Don’t Respond to Others” but agree that it’s a very fine line. In my case, if I get to your page and see that _most_ of what you do is reply, I won’t follow.

    My configuration is set so that I only see @ replies to people I also follow, so for me, someone who pretty much only replies a) doesn’t seem to be very creative (in my view) and b) doesn’t show up often enough in my stream to matter to me.

    I want to know about _you_ – how you think and what’s interesting.

  23. says

    I didn’t realize people had multiple accounts and retweeted to themselves! Desperate!
    I like to have a small group of people I find interesting and informative; I get too many MLMers who want me to sell their stuff. I have a business, actually two, soon to be three, (and a blog on the side) and I don’t see myself selling travel, supplements or makeup… I agree people should appear to be more interested in YOU than in coming on all ME ME ME… but they probably do that face-to-face too!
    And I also agree that, even though we’re all busy, one needs to occasionally respond to a fellow tweeter – or we get offended and stop following – just like in “real life” when you don’t answer someone’s emails or phone calls. (not you personally, you are excellent at responding!)
    Thanks for teaching me something new,

  24. says

    Wow! I just started on twitter and haven’t really noticed all these annoyances just yet. I am sure I will noticed them now.

    Funny thing, I just started following you last night on Twitter. I hope I haven’t done anything annoying yet :)

  25. Carolyn S. says

    I feel sorry for the person who doesn’t follow anyone unless he already knows them. He is missing out on the whole wide world of Twitter. I’ve become acquainted with some of the most amazing and creative people (like you) through Twitter. Early on I looked to see who the brilliant writer Dan Pink was following and I followed some of them. Now I look forward to tweets from @frankejames and @gretchenrubin whose work is bright and fresh. There are lots of uses for Twitter and expanding one’s horizons is my favorite.

    Carolyn S.s last blog post..September is Disaster Preparedness Month. Are you ready?

  26. says

    People retweet themselves? Really, who’s got the time for multiple fake twitter accounts?

    Only sin I might be guilty of is a bit too much blatant self-promotion, but like you said the unfollow button is right there for those who don’t like it.

  27. says

    Tweet! I think in general there is a problem with Twitter, people are private, but there are many people who are way TOO Public! I got a tweet the other day of a co-worker that actually twittered they were going to the bathroom!!! Wow, TMI (too much information). I do like to know what my friends are up to, and maybe it is my fault for following too many people, rather it is MY FAULT for following too many people.

    I do agree though, people do not understand twitter, and I resisted for along time, but after joining and some filtering, I’ve rather enjoyed the extended non-personal contact.

  28. says

    may I add one?

    I’m seeing a lot of links to follow with very vague titles, like – Look at this! or Wow! Maybe you are excited about it, but I won’t click over unless I know what it’s about. Vague titles in a tweet don’t work, please be more descriptive.

    Monicas last blog post..What I’m reading: Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway

  29. says

    People Who Just Tweet Out but Don’t Respond to Others

    Haha! Guilty as charged! Well, mostly.

    But hey, as one of the self-promo intolerant, I’ll keep making an exception for you if you do for me :-)

  30. says

    I cannot resist this thread! Here are 2 of my 7 deadly twitter sins:

    People who twitter sporting events. If I were interested, I’d be, um, watching.

    People who don’t add bio info to their profiles. Should I follow you? I can’t decide because you left me no clues!

    jamies last blog post..The Well-Packed Travel Medicine Kit


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