Posted in writing

Evolving Twetiquette

This is just a pet peeve of mine on Twitter that I’ve yet to see it addressed by any of the “Twitter etiquette” articles I can find online. There’s something about this that just doesn’t sit right with me, and that being when someone takes every conversation public by responding to a tweet by using the “retweet” and then “quoting” it  in replay, like so:

retweet convo

So for the sake of argument, let’s say  I conduct all my Twitter conversations like this, by hitting “retweet” and quoting the other person’s tweet, even if their tweet was sent to me as an @ reply. Clearly this one was not, but I’m just using Baba Studio’s tweet as an example since they’re a business and sent that out or the world (or at least all their followers) to see. I don’t want to embarrass anyone with this, but I’m wondering how others feel about this method of interacting? I know there are no hard and fast rules, and social media platforms are still evolving, but I find this quite annoying. It’s stopped me more than once from responding to someone because I knew they would do that with my tweet to them. Sometimes you just want to have a conversation with one person or send a quick reply, and I realize it’s the web and everything is public, and if I really wanted to keep something private I’d take it to DM (Direct Message), although these are off-the-cuff conversations and don’t merit a DM anyway. I guess it feels like it depersonalizes it, as if they can’t be bothered talking to just me.

To me, it’s the equivalent of chatting with someone at a party or in the office, and everything you say to them, they turn around and yell it to everyone else or broadcast it over the PA system. By quoting the other person’s tweet they’ve effectively invited everyone else who follows them to join the conversation. Personally I’ve only used this in the past when someone was going on the attack. He or she had said something I thought was funny in response to something a newspaper had tweeted, so I quoted him/her and tweeted it. The person was horrendously offended and shocked that I would do that, and became combative and defensive, when I had meant it as a compliment because it was so pithy. I don’t recall what the comment was. I don’t know if he/she didn’t realize the tweet was public and anyone could see it. He (I’m assuming it was a male) seemed quite shocked that I could see it and demanded to know who I was. He seemed afraid of getting into a flame war with people who might disagree and seemed to hint this had happened in the past. Well, that’s the risks of tweeting, I suppose. But I digress.

So granted, all tweets are public, but it just seems like bad form to conduct all your conversations like performance art. And it’s really annoying when someone does this with a celebrity’s tweet, and quotes the celeb’s tweet in a tweet as a response, as if they know the person. Which they don’t. It strikes me as pretentious like “look who I tweeted to!”

What do you guys think?


Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.

8 thoughts on “Evolving Twetiquette

  1. Not sure if I’d had someone do this to me or whether I’ve done it to anyone without realizing it. You know how I am: I prefer most conversations, no matter how mundane, to go to DM. The first few years I was on Twitter, I wasn’t even public, so I’m a careful curator of my account now that I am, especially given that I tweet under my real name.


  2. I think part of my dislike of this is, I simply don’t want to see every conversation someone has with all the people they might talk with. Most of it’s just so… banal… nobody needs to see it.


  3. I am not a big fan of twitter because I have to be short winded and can not type how I truly feel. Now for social media is another story. I don’t comment to conversation on FB that is not on my own personal pages. Unless if I am laughing. Then I type in lol. The reason I don’t comment even if I have a strong disagreement is because I have my business/photo page. And I can picture ignorant people popping up typing crap if not trying to report images. I agree sometimes DM is a great idea and other time using the conversation one reads is also a great conversation to share with friends.

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  4. I’m kind of the opposite, I’m almost never on FB 😉 I don’t like the way they have it set up now, it’s so hard to find what I’m interested in and the people I follow. I had to do something to shut off a few people because I kept seeing everything they did on every page they visited, comments they received back on comments they’d left on other people’s pages… it was insane. I couldn’t wade through it all.


  5. I feel like the web is becoming more like a Burma Shave campaign ~ the whole idea is to keep the eyes following no matter the content. I thought it was just my perception that Twitter used to feel more personal and interactive in the recent past. Now it feels far more commercial and in a way, lazier. FB is even worse.


  6. I don’t see a lot of the spammy promoted tweets on Tweetdeck, and since I discovered TD I haven’t used I do lose patience with all the bot accounts, and shake my head when I see people retweeting them or responding to them. It does take time to be social on social media, but it seems like fewer and fewer people are willing to put in the effort. Facebook is intolerable, what a morass. I go on once in a while but in general I can’t be bothered.


  7. I do like TweetDeck but I only use it on a desk top machine. The mobile Twitter is abominable with promotion.


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