The Way We Work
October 27, 2009 by Tamara Rice

Call it “Twittiquette,” call it what you will, but there are unspoken rules of the Twitterverse that everyone diving (or just slipping toes) into this social media pool should know. The water may look shallow and unintimidating from the deck, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re likely to drown.


Check out these TOP 10 WAYS TO LOSE TWITTER FOLLOWERS for tips on how you can stay afloat:

10. Passing off someone else’s fabulous tweet as your own. Here’s how this one goes down: Your friend makes a supremely witty observation about Balloon Boy. You laugh and tweet his words yourself, without taking the time to note it’s a re-tweet. This may seem like no big deal, but it is a major breech of  Twitter etiquette.

9. Twittering your love life. It’s a fine line. We know. It’s nice to know when a friend is having a nice date. It’s  not nice to know they have “moved things into the hot tub.” Really … if you wouldn’t do it in front of your mother, don’t tweet it.

8. Twittering other people’s private lives. A juicy tweet can be hard to resist. You meet a client for lunch, afterward they leave with someone young and pretty who is not the wife you met last time. Seems innocent enough to make a funny tweet about it, right? Well you’re treading on thin ice. Social media has brought everyone a little closer than you think, and there is a chance — no matter how small — that this could be damaging. Is it worth it?

7. Writing one-word tweets. This. Gets. Old. You have 140 characters. Use them. Creative people use words. Plural. Use your words, people.

6. Twittering arguments. Fighting with Internet acquaintances is tempting. You’re having a bad day, they say something that offends you, and — wham! — you engage in a Twitter  feud. Don’t do it. If famous people who write books can’t get away with it, neither can you.

5. Twittering rumors that later turn out to be false. Raise your hand if you have sent out a premature “RIP” tweet about a celebrity who later turned out to be very much alive. Please tell us you’ve learned your lesson. Don’t tweet major news unless you really know it’s true. And we mean really know it’s true.

4. Twittering spoilers. Prefacing your tweet with “SPOILER ALERT” doesn’t quite cut it when we’re talking about 140 characters screaming boldly across your friend’s phone or laptop. Even movie stars aren’t allowed to do that anymore. Don’t tell us the end of a movie, the end of this week’s LOST, but seriously (seriously) don’t tell us who got the boot on American Idol.

3. Twittering your bodily functions. This should be a given, but it’s not. This happens all the time, and it is one of the fastest ways to get acquaintances, business contacts and distant relatives to stop following you. In fact, you’ll be lucky if your college roommate wants to keep reading your tweets if you head down this road.

2. Twittering incessantly. No one wants to scroll through tweets from you to get to the rest of their friends’ updates. Limit yourself to one or two an hour, and send direct messages if you are having a conversation. Is this rule written in stone? No. But it should be.

And the number one way to lose followers …

1. Bitterly slamming cities, people, businesses, etc. It’s so easy to become a Twitterverse legend, and not in a good way — just ask the guy who famously insulted a client’s city! You feel safe when you can see all the faces of your followers, but it’s an illusion. This is the World Wide Web, and you’d do well to remember that.



Working from home can either liberate you or weigh you down — it’s all about how you do it. Having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work. Here at oDesk, you’ll find the tips and tools to do it right.

– Tamara


Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.