A Guide To Twitter Etiquette For Students And Recent Grads

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These days, everyone and their mother has a Twitter account.

That’s cool and all, but what happens when what you tweet on a day-to-day basis becomes something more than just thinking out loud?

OK, so now you’re probably thinking, “What the heck? What does it matter? It’s my Twitter account I can say what I want!”

While that’s true, “think before you tweet” is a good mantra to keep in mind when your name is easily searchable and within public view of both potential and current employers.

What I mean by this is that our usernames are already an indication of what we’re all about: Do you use your real name or an alias? What do you tweet about most of the time? Rants? Raves? Getting drunk on the weekends and being hungover for Monday?

While we all know someone who has tweeted about this and many of us are probably guilty of doing it ourselves, you have to ask yourself: What’s appropriate to tweet if my employer happens to stumble across my Twitter account?

When current and potential employers find our accounts and skim through our 140 characters, it’s something like a first impression.

Did you tweet about how boring your lecture was? Why did you rant about how you mom is using the car at such an inconvenient time? All of these things should be taken into consideration because what you tweet, while it seems perfectly harmless, actually has an impact on what your employer thinks of you.

Things to avoid when your Twitter profile is within public view and your employer has a chance to see what you say:

  • “Can’t believe I drunk texted about 20 people last night #thingsnottodowhenyouredrunk”
  • “My boss is an idiot, made me walk 2 blocks to fetch coffee #hatethisjob”
  • “Um, why is my co-worker the biggest idiot in the world???!”
  • Twitter “beef,” which looks like this: “Can’t believe this b*&#% thinks she’s clever” — because nobody cares who you’re beefing with (unless it’s a celebrity Twitter smackdown)
  • And the most notorious example: calling in sick at your job and tweeting about something fun you’re doing, which goes something like, “Called in sick today….WOO HOO SHOPPING!”

If you do happen to tweet things like the above, you may want to consider making your profile protected. This way, you can filter who sees your account or not and you don’t have to be careful of what you say.

Another way to avoid getting into #thatawkwardmomentwhen your boss sees your latest tweet about him is to have one personal profile for rants and drunk tweets, and another that’s much more “mom-friendly” and professional.

The Internet is definitely a way to reach others, but when your future is dependent on what you say and do on social media, you need to be careful. Once things are out there on the internet, you can’t get them back.

A good way to keep your ‘Twitter rants’ in check is to remember to “think before you Tweet” – trust me!

What’s the worst violation of Twitter etiquette you’ve ever seen?

Photo credit: Tweet tweet! by id-iom on Flickr

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About the author

Francesca Castor is a freelance writer from U of T with an Honours degree in English and Book & Media Studies. While her passion lies in writing, during her “time off” she can be found getting lost in books, laughing along with The Office and Community, and making pop culture references every chance she gets. If you ask her what her favourite things are it would be: word games (although she is terrible at them), fashion, attempting to DJ on her DJ app, and anything to do with Community. You can find her on Twitter: @hellochesca.