My Twitter Policy

by Colleen Dick

Everyone uses Twitter their own way. Here is my way, as it may pertain to your twitter relationship with me. My goal is to find interesting people (according to my somewhat capricious definition of interesting) to listen to, who hopefully want to listen to me, and to learn from. If that suits you, great. If not, feel free to bugger off.

Subject of my tweets

I tweet whatever and whenever I feel the itch to say something. But there is a pattern to it. I tend to keep my personal details and rants off twitter, and, in fact off the internet in general, because I’m a tad paranoid. I’ve been around the block and seen reputations trashed by an ill-considered online comment. Here are a few of the things I talk about:

  • technical stuff
  • web development
  • blogging
  • all things Zend, Dojo, linux
  • interesting (not sensational) news
  • local news
  • classical music
  • any popular music with any brains to it or musical interest
  • fitness and running ideas
  • health and training ideas
  • healthy food
  • sustainability
  • politics.

Here is what I don’t like to read:

  • tweets telling me I can make thousands on the internet
  • whining
  • complaining
  • trendy for the sake of trendy
  • promoting a product or service
  • magpie
  • namedropping (especially if I don’t know them)
  • celebrity worship
  • me-too stuff
  • vulgarity
  • sucking up
  • autoDM’s!!!!!
  • tweets with no context
  • way-too-personal tweets, for example describing the consistency, color and stench of your crap or farts (Someone did that, I shit you not — pun intentional.)

Broadly focused

I am not using 5 different laser focused-twitter accounts. For twitter, one account is enough to manage so all tweets from multifaceted me go in there. It’s like my random scrapbook stream, so not every tweet you see from me may be interesting to you. If my personal brand doesn’t jive with your personal idea of an acceptable signal to noise ratio, please feel free to unfollow. I don’t revenge unfollow per se, but I do “raise the bar” quite a bit for those twits who aren’t mutual.


Normally I try to limit my tweets to 4-5 per day. There are exceptions (e.g. election day). I prefer to follow people who aren’t overly gabby as well; however, if you only tweet every three months there is no point in you being on Twitter at all, and less in my following you. If you are overly gabby but still vaguely interesting I may keep you but place you in the “overly gabby” group on my Tweet deck. If you are both overly gabby and full of it, I will probably unfollow.

I will follow you (back) if:

either I find you on some search or you follow me first, and I see from your postings on Twitter and probably your website you seem like a human, have something to say that interests me, have sufficient tweets for me to make a decision. I’m not that picky. I like to engage with a diverse group of people, as long as they have some brain cells engaged. I go looking for new people to follow from time to time.

I am unlikely to follow you if:

you only have two tweets, have no avatar, no website, no bio, use a logo avatar for a personal twitter account, have a way wacked out followers:following ratio, give me too much personal, yack only to certain of your friends and I don’t know what you’re on about, blather about celebrities, tweet only blog posts, never reply to anyone, tweet racist, sexist, or extreme fundamentalist religious stuff, use vulgar language gratuitiously, promote stuff all the time, belong to magpie, or tweet in a language I can’t understand. (In addition to English I can mostly understand Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French tweets, roughly in that order of reading comprehension.) I realize that people learn and change. If you believe you may have become interesting to me or quit doing the thing that stopped me from following you at first contact, reply to one of my tweets. For example if you were in magpie and that was the only reason I unfollowed or never followed you, tweet that you quit it. (A lot of other people will probably pick you up as well. I’m not alone in my rabid hatred of magpie.) If you stopped moaning and whining about your aches and pains over time, your profile will reflect it and I may follow you.

Followbacks vs. non-followbacks:

If you don’t wish to follow me back that is a sign you don’t wish to engage with me, yet you’d like for me to read your stuff. That’s fine–it’s somewhat less personal for me, so you’d better have pretty much 100% extremely interesting useful tweets or be an obvious official broadcast-only mouthpiece of some organization I care about. (for example I follow wordpress and wordpress follows no one.) I may try to engage with you anyway with a @reply (since I can’t DM you.) If you’re not a follower and I @reply you and you ignore it I will probably think less of you. There are some huge names out there in the Twitter Elite, and one characteristic is “frequently replies to nonfollows.” If they can do it, you can.

If you follow me first:

I’ll know usually within 2 business days. If you are of any interest to me as prescribed above, you’ll most probably get a follow back.

Not on Twitter 24/7

I dip my toes into the twitter stream a couple times a day. I do not see every tweet and no one should be expected to drink it all in. I treat it as kind of a random cocktail party. If you have something you really want me specifically to see DM it or reply me. If your DM or reply requires a reply, I will respond in what I think is the most appropriate way.

Protected Twits

If a protected account follows me I may reciprocate. I never make the first move with protected accounts.


This I promise: if you DM me I will keep it between you and me and not retweet it to the universe. I will reply to a reply or public tweet in public if I think it might be interesting to others.


Feel free to use this Twitter policy or any part of it and modify to your heart’s content. I had the idea a long time ago to write twitter policy but seeing the one from ConceptBakery prompted me to write and publish this one.  If you use any substantial content from this twitter policy a link back would be really really nice.

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