6 Twitter Updates That Are Making You Look Dumb

500 million tweets are sent every day. Some of them are great, and some of them are doozies.

And then there are those tweets that make you look dumb. Smarten up your Twitter feed by avoiding these six types of terrible Twitter updates. (See also: 5 Ways to Break Your Social Media Habit)

1. #AllHashtags #AllTheTime #OMG #EpicFail

Hashtags are a great way to tie your tweet to a trending topic (e.g. #HITsunami is used by Hawaii residents to tweet about hurricane warnings) or to curate a series of tweets around an event (e.g. #SDCC for San Diego Comic Con).

Using a hashtag is a good idea because it extends the reach of your updates beyond your followers and makes you part of a bigger conversation.

However, the key is moderation.

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake show in this skit how abusing hashtags makes you sound like a total doofus.

The folks at Twitter recommend using no more than two hashtags per tweet, because:

  • While tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without hashtags, tweets that use more than two hashtags show a 17% drop in engagement.
  • Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags.
  • Tweets with one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted.

2. TV and Movie Spoilers

As a resident of Hawaii, I'm used to keeping away from the Internet on days that I want to catch a TV show in real time. For example, I'm a big fan of AMC's The Pitch, and I religiously tune in whenever a new episode airs. Since the show's fanbase is very social media savvy, I have to tune out from Twitter to prevent from knowing the episode's winner in advance.

However, Hawaii residents are not the only ones that hate TV show and movie spoilers. More than one-third of all primetime TV ratings are from time shifted viewers, who view the content within seven days from airing, and another 10% comes from video on-demand viewers.

This means that over 140 million Americans watch time shifted TV every day. And they're dreading the sight of a spoiler. For example, it's estimated that 170,000 spoilers are posted on social media per episode of Game of Thrones. "Spoiler alert" is such a common term nowadays that the term was added to the 2014 edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

So, be mindful of your followers and keep your Twitter feed spoiler-free. You'd be surprised at the great lengths some users go to avoid spoilers on Twitter. Heck, there's even an app to avoid spoilers on social media! If you keep ruining somebody else's entertainment options, your follower count is likely to take a hit.

3. Twitter Feuds

Unlike feuds IRL, Twitter feuds have several disadvantages.

  • They never remain between just two people. Fans of Lady Gaga are so well known for sending death threats to anybody that upsets the Mother Monster that the she had to ask them to stop.
  • Even after the parties involved make peace, somebody may keep a record of your bad behavior. TV host Jimmy Kimmel and rapper Kanye West went to great lengths to squash their Twitter feud. Even after West deleted his tweets against Kimmel, several publications still keep screenshots of those tweets.
  • Losing your cool can mean losing your job, too. Capital One dropped actor Alec Baldwin as a spokesperson after Baldwin tweeted homophobic rants against a British reporter, George Stark.

Keep your tweets classy and your feuds private.


Even if you…

  • Have an estimated net worth of $3 billion,
  • Were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom,
  • Have been dubbed "The Queen of All Media", or
  • Have launched your own TV network

…you will still be called out if you tweet in all caps.

Even the U.S. Navy bowed down to the "no all caps" maxim on Twitter. The U.S. Navy had been sending messages in all capital letters since the 1850s but switched to mixed case in June 2013 for all platforms, including social media channels.

Why? Because mixed case messages provide a more readable format and don't read like you're being shouted at.

5. Only Retweets

Cat got your tongue?

Remember that Twitter is asking you "what's happening?" not "what would you like to retweet today?"

Your followers are interested in your thoughts. A retweet every now and then is okay but don't let them fill up your feed. A good rule of thumb is to keep 80% of your tweets original, leaving 20% for retweets of interesting comments, links, or articles from somebody else.

Also, try to add your two cents to the original tweet by using the "Quote" button on Twitter's smartphone app or editing the text of the tweet. Even a "good tip!" or "what do you think?" or "+1" adds value to a retweet because it generates a conversation.

And please oh please, only retweet things that you have actually read. Don't assume what's actually said in an article just by the text of a tweet.

6. Too Many Third-Party Tweets

What do these tweets have in common?

  • "I just unlocked the 'Shutterbug' badge on @foursquare for adding photos to my check-ins. Say cheese!"
  • "How I did on Twitter this week: 48 New Followers, 1 Replies, 2 Retweets, 444 Retweet Reach. How'd your week go?"
  • "Having an awesome day! #fb"
  • "I gave @MrSuperMarketingGuy +K about Marketing on @klout!"
  • "Random Paper is out! paper.li/random-paper-12345… Stories via @abc @def @ghi"

All of them are automated tweets that add little to no value to your feed. More importantly, these type of tweets are lazy, impersonal, and irrelevant.

Imagine a group of people having a great time sharing stories and interacting with each other. This involves listening, paying attention, and reacting. Now picture a stranger butting into the group to drop off a recorder that randomly plays any of the one-liners from above, and then leaves. What a total jerk!

Twitter is a great place to interact with each other. Let's keep it that way.

What are Twitter updates that drive you nuts? Please share in comments (and on Twitter)!

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