I think it goes without saying that there’s a general etiquette people need to follow on Twitter. Jesus, even Darren Rovell has a list of 100 Twitter rules that are just as douchey and plutocratic and regurgitating of some PowerPoint he once heard Roger Goodell give on “protecting the shield” as you’d expect. What I think a lot of people fail to realize though is that there are different rules for comedians, famous people, and journalists than for schlubs like you and me. Rob Delaney and Drew Magary tweet (and should tweet) all the time because they’re actually funny. If Jennifer Lawrence got a Twitter, she could forward along as many Instagram pictures of the completely unoriginal latté fern leaf that the barista made in her $11 coffee (or the doobie she just rolled) as she wants and I’d think it was the greatest thing. Ezra Klein writes like 10 blog posts a day on the implications of raising the minimum wage by 8 cents, so he has to link to his work and ask Ryan Lizza what he thinks about all this not-very-important stuff. Sports beat writers are the first ones who hear about trades and injuries, so it’s their job to give you a humorless update on some shortstop’s ruptured testicle and warn you that it could impact your fantasy team.
But you are not a famous person, a known comedian, or a journalist. You’re my friend, which is a big A+ for you, but—and this is an important component of friendship—I know you outside of Twitter, unlike Ezra Klein and the dude from ESPN New York who has to ask J.R. Smith frivolous questions. I don’t like Facebook, but it’s still another venue where I can see your pictures. None of the cool kids like when I do it, but I may call you sometimes to find out where you want to watch the game. GASP: I might even see you in person. With this in mind, you better be curating the shit out of your Twitter feed to account for our friendship’s many facets, and I’ve devised some simple rules for “normal people” to follow:
Stop having text conversations on Twitter. There’s this device—it’s called a phone—and it’s amazing! This means no inside jokes. This rule also applies (especially applies, one might argue) to reply tweets where more than like 25 people follow both you and the person to whom you’re replying. I’m glad you liked that person’s tweet detailing the great time he or she is having out on the town: sounds awesome, bro! Don’t swap another story about the cool bar you are at, though: text your appreciation and continue with your sweet reminiscences elsewhere.
You should average no greater than 1 tweet per day. I’d advise you to limit yourself this way, or if you have to tweet more than once in a 24 hour span, take a day or two off. If you don’t have good material today, wait until you do. Retweets are included in your “1 per day” quota. Thank me later but the self-imposed restriction will make your tweets better by forcing you to be selective.
If you include a hashtag in every tweet, fuck you.
Don’t tweet about something you know I’ve already seen UNLESS you have something funny to share about it. So, something to the tune of “LeBron is a BOSS” or “Read this Deadspin article” is useless without more, because I already have ESPN on and will read Deadspin 10 more times today. We’re friends, remember, and it’s likely that part of the reason we’re friends is because we watch and talk about the same shit.
No politics. If there is one thing I don’t give a crap about reading in any social networking forum, it is your sincere views on gun control or why it’s a problem that Chris Christie is fat unless—and this is critical—you actually have comedic material on the subject. I loathe moral posturing in its many forms.
Of course, all of us break these rules occasionally. Just use them as principles to live by and refrain from being an egregious violator. And of course there are exceptions to these general rules, even among riff-raff like us. But, with all due respect to your ego, you are probably not one of them. Please abide.