Why You Suck On Twitter and 10 Reasons Why

why you suck at twitterWow…I can’t believe it. January 2013 marks FIVE years of tweeting for me. I’ve seen the good, the amazing…AND the horrific when it comes to Twitter.

A large number of people I know, respect and admire, I have met through Twitter. People that have greatly shortening my learning curve over the years in the world of search marketing. I have continued to hone my social networking skills in real time and opened up the chance to have helped a lot of people learn how to navigate and master the world of Twitter.

Despite all the goodness of Twitter, there is always a cross-section of people who make some big mistakes…either from ignorance or out of arrogance. I think everyone has made a gaffe or two when tweeting. Some people just don’t know (there should be a “before you tweet requirement” of Twitter 101) and some people just don’t give a *tweet* and should be deleted if they can’t get the Twitter best practices down.

There’s a lot of things that can make you look dumb on Twitter, but there are some “tweet-peeves” of mine that I wanted to share and hopefully have shared to people who need to see it…and that they learn from these mistakes. ๐Ÿ™‚

why you suck at twitter

1. Anti-social media behavior on Twitter – Using programs like TrueTwit or SocialOomph for the auto DM feature is a HUGE fail in my book and I personally consider that Twitter Spam. Automated tweets like TrueTwit are the epitome of Twitter Spam. Compound that auto-DM with some kind of sales pitch and you’re likely going to be deleted and/or blocked from ever tweeting people again.

2. Over Re-tweet vs. Original Content – there is a group of people who LOVE Twitter, but haven’t quite found their voice yet either on Twitter or their own blog (if they have one). Their tweetstream is filled with a majority of retweets (RT’s) from everyone else. Sharing is good, but oversharing (retweeting) is bad. This is a great piece on the importance of posting your own content over just retweeting someone else’s contentย by my buddy Robert Caruso aka @fondalo This is a great primer on reversing your suck factor on Twitter, by being valuable to your community.

3. Promotional Puking Tweets –ย If your Twitter stream is nothing but promotional tweets about your MLM opportunity or latest affiliate product you’re associated with and there are no @ replies or conversation starters, then you’re just puking out tweets in hopes of someone buying something. That will never make you money. It’ll only piss people off and they’ll unfollow you or never follow you back at all.

4. Your Twitter Feed Updates In Bulk Tweets – Using a site like Triberr or Twitterfeed and not configuring it correctly is setting yourself up for failure. All of a sudden whoever follows you sees in their tweet stream a dozen or so tweets in one lump series of tweets from “you” that are automated, people like me immediately unfollow you. It’s INCREDIBLY annoying and not conducive to being “social”.

5. You STILL have the Default Egg Avatar!ย SERIOUSLY? It’s 2013! Is there more that needs to be said about this? Anyone and everyone has to have at least one picture of themselves or their business logo if the account is tweeting for their company and/or product. I don’t know about anyone else, but I won’t follow someone who still has the default egg.

6. #TeamFollowBack – You tweet this hashtag, have this hashtag in your bio. This makes you suck at Twitter. You’re not going to get the type of followers that will help your business. The type of person who is a “teamfollowback” devotee is likely not going to be the kind of person you want to see tweets coming from either. Have you noticed the quality of tweets from these people? Hmmm…please if you are that person right now, stop.

7. #FollowFriday – Using this hashtag was all the rage a COUPLE OF YEARS AGO! Yet, people STILL love to give their #FF love. If you just put a list of people together with #FF or #FollowFriday and then have a plethora of tweets that just the names change for the next tweet and the tweet after that again and again…then you suck on Twitter. Stop doing that!

Instead, if youย explain why you think someone should be followed THAT gives value to your followers. Then you ROCK! You’re providing value to your followers.

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Okay, okay, I know I wrote 10 ways you suck on Twitter, but I want some feedback from the community and have a feeling that a few of you reading this can add to the list in the comments. What are you experiencing on Twitter that annoys you and is one of your pet peeves when it comes to people on Twitter? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Did you notice any of these behaviors in your own tweet activity? I sure hope not. If you did, you can definitely change your tactic with a couple of simple tweaks to your tweets. If you have questions about how to improve, just ask in the comments below. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing.

About Timothy Carter

Timothy Carter is a digital marketing consultant. An internet marketing veteran 18+ years, Timothy has experience helping small business, solo-preneurs in both B2B and B2C markets dramatically increase their organic and social media traffic to their businesses. Currently the Director of Business Development for the Seattle-based agency, AudienceBloom. When not writing for MarketingLand, SmallBizTrends, MarketingProfs or working, he's enjoying life as a father, husband, playing disc golf, enjoys a good cigar, drinking Kona coffee and making plans for his next extended trip to Hawaii.


  1. Tim

    #8 close in line with 1,3 the direct message push for their product/service when there is no relationship developed. Got a few of these this past week and del, del etc.

    Thanks for explaining the #FF was blissfully ignorant.

    Being rather new to Tw am trying to develop “my voice” and RT and post relevant content from interests: Inc, Smart Planet and others at this point.

    Thanks for the pointers!!

    Btw- just finished a double espresso and loving life =)

  2. linking up facebook account to twitter and then not considering what is being posted on facebook. I hate seing tweets that say “like this if…” or “link in the first comment” or long posts that require you to click through to a facebook page.

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Oh Laura you exposed a HUGE social network fail. That is super annoying for sure. People think it’s a “time saver” but really, it’s a social alienation tool.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Laura. Hope to see you again soon!

    • Couldn’t agree more Laura! You want to give people reasons for following you on both. Users don’t understand that they are repeating themselves.

  3. 8. Wondering why people are Following Me when it’s clear they have no idea what my niche is.
    9. Sending the same tweet over and over again, day after day. I understand wanting to sell something, but mix it up a little.
    10. The people who are obviously buying their follower numbers. Automatic turn-off.

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Tovah, I think it’s true, many people want to sell something which is why they continually post the same sales pitch with the same link day after day hoping that someone new will click on that link and buy something. They haven’t quite figured out how to connect with people who are in their niche, build some kind of connection/relationship, and find people via social listening who would be interested in what they have to offer.

    • #8 Exactly…, I call them “Blind Followers

  4. I hope I am not ignorant or arrogant but I am still not sure I do it right. I am much better followed on Facebook than on Twitter. I Never have been great. I used to have a few followers who would reply, most seem to appreciate me from a far….

  5. No matter how attractive you are, using body parts as your profile pic is just plain dumb, unless you are trying to attract perverts or horny teenagers.

    Constantly displaying your all consuming advice and never interacting with anyone, who asked you anyway? This is especially annoying if your hash tag, after you spew your knowledge, is something like #truth

    Saturating people in motivational quotes. Some people hate them, I don’t mind them, but if that is all you ever Tweet, then it is boring!!

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Yeah, I agree on the whole using “body parts” as your avatar.

      When people don’t interact, they completely miss the point of SOCIAL media! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Appreciate your comment.

  6. Mick Haensler says:

    8. Constantly posting “Top 10 Tips” or “5 Things We Learned From” or “8 Things Suchandsuch Can Teach Us”………I get it, but come on, can’t we get beyond this to some creative blog titles??

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Yeah, I will have to agree with you Mick, but unfortunately those types of titles are the ones that draw people in. I try to mix it up a bit, but sometimes the “classic” title works. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I was going to agree with you, Timothy. Those are the titles that draw the audience. The writers may even want to be more creative, but have a hard time because the goal is to drive traffic. Sometimes goals/what works and personal desire don’t align.

  7. Linking to a facebook page. Why is your picture or content not on your website? Not everyone on Twitter is a fan of Facebook. Get to know your audience and social media trends. They’re ever changing.

    Treating your Twitter business page like your personal page. As a business, you represent a brand. You still have to be human and conversational, but I’m sure your followers don’t care what you had for lunch unless your account is about food, health, dining, etc.

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Yep…great points there for sure. People MUST understand their audience whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc…if you don’t, you’re wasting your time and company’s money.

  8. @seattlekim says:

    Brands tweeting out of context. Like a hardware store asking me if I had fun at the pub. That’s just weird, and sometimes a little creepy. Be consistent to the topics that are pertinent to your brand – for both sharing and responding.

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Doh…is that hardware store going to give you a discount on some table legs for your bar at home instead of going to the pub? LOL Though it can be a fine line…learning how/when/what to engage on.

  9. Marcia Walker says:

    Proposal for #8 (or is it #11 now?): Meannness. It is quite unnecessary to be cruel publicly; “constructive feedback” can be given privately. Dial down the snark – or eliminate it entirely.
    And incidentally, it was a stroke of genius to say “10 things” and then only give 7, to get commentary – first time I’ve seen that!

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Marcia…dial down the snark is super! Seriously, if someone was face to face with someone, there wouldn’t be that unnecessary cruelty. Have some class for sure!

      Oh and thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know about stroke of genius, but there are moments when I have an idea or 3. LOL

      I appreciate your comment Marcia.

      • I was gonna say the same thing Marcia (re put 10 in title then only give 7 to get commentary) .. cool idea. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’ve seen followers who do a lot on your list and I guess I could unfollow some but rarely do. It kind of reminds me of what NOT to do. (snicker) One thing I do like about several who use #FF in my twittersphere is I’ve found many contacts in same industry as ours and some good resources we can tap for future articles, posts, etc. Thanks for sharing Tim!

  10. 1) When someone you’re not interested in following back repeatedly unfollows & refollows you to keep showing up at the top of your interactions feed and get your attention. (This has actually happened to me!) 1B) The same type of people who use Twitter (and LinkedIn, etc) as a personals website. That’s not why I’m here!
    2) Photos that you have to click-through to Facebook to see, which means having to open a web browser outside the Twitter app. In-tweet photos are the only way to go. I often skip photos altogether if they’re linked to an external window or app, no matter how enticing the rest of the tweet reads.
    3) Teases or headlines that tell me nothing about the story linked within… especially when they’re purposely vague in order to manipulate me into clicking the link. Makes me want to NOT click just out of spite! LOL!

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Love it Heidi! The multiple follow/unfollow should TOTALLY be one of the 10 Twitter pet peeves!

      I definitely understand #2 from a user perspective (hate having to go non-Twitter to see the pic) but I get it from a marketer perspective (wanting to drive traffic to their other social channel) but until Twitter makes it possible to see in it’s interface, it’s the reality.

      Thank you for sharing!

      • Re: #2- I totally get it, too, from a marketing perspective. At my last news station, we were supposed to link all content (photos, stories, etc) directly back to our news website. I guess it peeves me when it’s a personal photo and there’s no real reason or value added to create a click-through- when a tweep is just too lazy to go back to the original image file and upload it through Twitter.

        This leads me to ANOTHER peeve I just remembered- and it happens A LOT in news!!!- when a headline/story is tweeted with a link, and you click the link…. and it just takes you to the station’s homepage, not the story! Sometimes it’s a deliberate trick to get you to browse for the story on their site, but it could also be unintentional at times- I’m wondering if something gets lost in translation between a “desktop version” story URL and an auto redirect to a “mobile version” when you click. Either way, it’s been happening for years now and news departments should know better by now!

        • Timothy Carter says:

          Agreed! News departments SHOULD know better by now…unless, they have newbies manning the social that haven’t been effectively trained.

  11. ALSO…
    4) Bots of all kinds. I’m amazed Twitter hasn’t found a way to prevent the bot army yet!
    5) Anyone who BUYS followers in bulk (which are usually just fake or bots.) When you’ve been on the air in market 9,347 for three weeks, don’t expect me to believe you suddenly gained 15,000 followers overnight (especially when you’re only following 100 people.) I’m not impressed by QUANTITY- show me QUALITY of interaction and content.

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Yeah…bots definitely SUCK!

      OMG…buying followers…MASSIVE fail. You cannot buy influence in that manner.

  12. Thanks for posting this article Tim. I’m not yet at your point on twitting but soon :). This will be very helpful to me and newbies on twitter. Great post!

    • Timothy Carter says:

      I wasn’t where I am now five years ago when I first joined Twitter. Keep on being social Alex. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. 8) #when #a #tweet #has #too #many #s and you can’t understand what the heck the tweet is about!

    Thank you for info, I learned something.

  14. Nice post. #TY

    Although, on #2 (over retweet) and #4, I would like to add that what is bad or good behavior may be not always as black and white as it seems. In general, I agree, also w/ over-retweet and bulk… but this highly depends on what kind of tweep you are, what twitter “games” you (and your audience) play, what style you have.

    I retweet a lot, but part of it may be “games” which actually can go quite well w/ your #specific audience. I might use favorites to stock up on specific words and/or search for a specific word. Let’s say the word “sunshine.” Then what I might do is do a twit & run by retweeting a dozen or so within the course of five minutes. In general, this is considered as simply too fast and indeed a no-no.

    But, if you don’t do this all the time, and within the #context of the let’s call it a “word-of-the-day-flurry,” a specific audience may actually quite enjoy this.

    A quick morning run, a dozen tweets on sunshine just to wish your followers a day filled w/ sunshine.

    As to #4, over-tweeting, there are of course various hi-paced #tweetchats that are actually quite fun and when you (regularly) engage in these, it may result in a flurry of a lot of tweets and retweets after another. Some tweeps may consider such a flurry as over-tweeting and/or over-retweeting, and as such bad behavior but for other #specific audiences… well, they might love you more for it. Or at least forgive you, allow you to do this once in a while because they like the other stuff you tweet.

    (For those not familiar w/ tweetchats phenomena. An online brainstorm session. A group of people meet at a given time, under a given hashtag. Host or teacher asks up to 10 questions during the hour and the “class” answer, retweet, reply and respond to each other.)

    Again, Timothy. #TY for the great post. Just wanted to add my comments. For specific games and/or specific audiences, some no-no’s may actually be quite fun. That’s all.

    (As a closing note, I also regularly tweet the #twittertip not to do what I do b/c I break the rules ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. My personal pet peeves on Twitter are people who constantly complain about how much they hate their jobs on Twitter (and Facebook for that matter), even if your profile is set to private or your tweets are protected, you should still treat it as though it is public.

    On the lines of meanness I get put off by people who swear on Twitter, be it on something really mundane in their personal life or about a famous person for whatever reason or for something that has happened in the news.

  16. Awesome way to engage readers! I hate that auto DM approach. I am trying to build relationships with people who share my tweets/interact with them.

    I figure they will be more likely to share in the future.

    • Timothy Carter says:

      Appreciate it Adam. Twitter is all about being relational. If you cannot connect with someone, it’s going to be that much harder to gain their trust, their business, their referrals.

  17. Great post – another vote for the DM’s that are automated – can’t stand them!

    #8 might be posting nothing but ‘inspirational quotes,’ that makes me a little bonkers as well.

    I’d love to know your opinion on thank you’s for follows, mentions, and retweets, I can’t quite get a handle on what’s right.


    • Timothy Carter says:

      Thanks for the comment Beth.

      I don’t often thank people for follows, but as time permits, I do make a point of thanking people retweet my tweets and respond to people who mention my name. Opens up the opportunity to continue the dialogue on what they’re talking about. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I’d definitely add the two pillars that are in KLOUCHEBAG’s measurement, but not on this list: language abuse and presence of anger in your speech.

  19. people who have 10 different twitter accounts and tweet the same shit all day, SUCK!

  20. Those who post nothing but articles, or re-post other people’s articles, and don’t interact with anyone. Regardless of who you are or who you’re representing… I’d like to feel like I’m interacting with another human being.

    • Timothy Carter says:

      So many people forget, or don’t care that it is “social” media. If there’s no social, it’s just puking up content. I’ve made some great friends, business associates over the years due to being social. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. […] Why You Suck on Twitter & 10 Reasons Whyย is a perfect example of how to engage your readers with a clever title, and encourages readers to come up either their own reasons in the comments. […]

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