Posts tagged ‘Fail Whale’

February 20, 2011

Beware the Fail Whale

Twitter's Fail Whale

Fail Whale actually refers to the above image – displayed (with unmitigated frequency in the past) to alert Twitter users that the site was over capacity. Sarah Perez offers a fuller Story of the Fail Whale.

For my purposes, I’m defining a fail whale as a user who disregards the following rules/commandments for proper Twitter usage. As always the Twitter etiquette (Twitequette) are my beliefs and the compilation of prevailing opinions. Hopefully these will help users avoid not only other fail whales but prevent them from becoming fail whales themselves.

I. Be You – If you’re going to be a fake say so, but it is probably better to leave the parodying to the big boys – Lord Voldemort, DaggumRoy, etc.

II. Always leave them wanting more – You don’t have to post everything (or anything at all). Don’t forsake real face to face conversation.

III. Direct Messaging – Avoid direct messaging people you don’t know. Messages from strangers are typically unwanted, as are mass messages and automatic messages.

IV. Following/Unfollowing – Unfollowing is a bit less intense than defriending, so don’t feel obligated to continue to follow people. Just because somebody follows you doesn’t mean you have to follow them.

V. Think Before You Tweet – Once it’s gone. It’s gone. You can’t get back what you tweet, even if you delete it. (The Library of Congress is archiving all public Tweets). Don’t put your digital foot in your mouth and shy away from twit-fights.

Generally –

  • Everything in moderation (tweets, RTs, @s, #s).
  • Spam is bad.
  • Time and place are everything. You wouldn’t tweet from a funeral would you?
  • Be mindful of the 140 character limit. You’ll have to keep your content short & concise. Modified grammar rules just for Twitter can help.
  • Be weary of the mob mentality. Just because everybody else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to do it too.
  • Don’t perpetuate wrong or unverified news like the death of celebrities.

For more check out:

10 Commandments of Twitter Usage

Tweeterland – How to Use Twitter

Margaret Mason – 14 Ways to Use Twitter Politely

9 Essentials of Twitter Etiquette

What rules would you give for proper Twitter Etiquette?

(Fail Whale Picture via All Things Paper, shared via Creative Commons.)