4 annoying things you're probably doing on Twitter

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(MoneyWatch) Some of us are natural stars at networking events, and seem to thrive on meeting and greeting people. Others of us are shy or awkward, and have to work to become proficient at it. In the same way, some folks are easily engaging and attractive on Twitter, whereas others are so irritating that they are quickly "unfollowed." My own pet peeve? Automatic direct messages that you receive when you follow someone. I've just followed you, so why would you spam me?

Here are 4 mistakes you don't want to make on Twitter. Drop them from your online routine and you'll instantly be that much more efficient in getting your message out over the Twitter-sphere.

Solely self-promoting.

Whether your Twitter account is primarily used for work or social purposes, try not to make all of your content self-promoting. Instead, try to engage your followers. "At least eighty percent of your Twitter use should be a dialogue, not a one-way conversation. Look over your recent Tweets. If more than 2 out of 10 are all about you, you're doing it wrong," says social media consultant Jennifer Dunn.

Not making sense.

Your Twitter is your audience, so try not to confuse them. "If you're answering someone's questions or comments, don't just tweet out their name and the message "yes" or "I think so." It's meaningless to your followers. Always re-quote or re-tweet their message along with your answer," suggests communications consultant Mark Jeffries. If you want to have a private conversation, do it with a direct message.

Overusing hash-tags.

Like exclamation points, hash-tags are best used sparingly. "Hash-tags are a way for people to follow specific conversations about specific topics on Twitter. However, people will overuse hash-tags or 'hijack'' a hash-tag in an attempt to gain visibility for themselves or their brands," says social media consultant Kathryn Rose. If you're unsure of how to use a hash-tag for your peer group, take a look at the feeds of people you respect and how they're using them.

Over-sharing everything.

Twitter isn't a diary, or an email to your family and friends. "Sharing the fact that you're at the gas station or ran over a skunk is not likely to be perceived as a value added post. The average Twitter user follows 51 accounts. If you are dominating followers' streams with pointless posts, you will turn them off," says social media consultant Crystal Washington. Is your post adding value for your particular audience? If the answer is no, skip it.

What's your Twitter pet peeve? Please sign in and share below.

  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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