Ben Phillips: 5 Twitter mannerisms and how they’d appear in real life

Digital mastermind, Ben Phillips, has penned a few thoughts about 5 Twitter mannerisms and how they’d appear in real life. What’s your take? Any more to add?

Ben is long overdue to A Digital Perspective and is an exceptionally down to earth digital strategy bro. He’s also got big hair and skates a lot. Ben can be found a luxa house.

Twitter in real life

Every social network brings with it a range of behaviours, some of which are expected, some of which are downright inappropriate and some of which operate in a slightly ambiguous grey area. Now social networks clearly don’t foster the same interaction structures as the physical world, so these comparisons may be totally invalid, that’s up to you.

1. The compliment retweet.
The scenario goes something like this: I have an article published, speak at a conference, have some notable achievement and am publicly applauded for it by one of my followers on Twitter.
“@ben_phillips read your article mate, brilliant work. Impressed”.

Being the incredibly humble person I am, I immediately retweet this to all of my followers. “RT @loyal_minion @ben_phillips read your article mate, brilliant work. Impressed”

Pannerismsnshysical context: An old (admittedly loose) acquaintance walks into a party and approaches me, “Ben, I read your article on the weekend. Fantastic mate excellent stuff”. At this point, without personally acknowledging the flattery, I turn to the assembled crowd and loudly proclaim “Hello everyone, James has just told me that he read my article and that he thinks it’s excellent”. Awkward.

2. The personal retweet
This is a classic. I post a 140 character pearl of wisdom, such as “OMG babes totes lol wtf”. Then at a later date, I choose to repost this and credit myself. “RT @ben_phillips OMG babes totes lol wtf”.

Physical context: You’re out and there’s “that guy” who’s two sheets to the wind and embarking on a convoluted tale of his latest trip to Vegas. Out of the goodness of your soul, you listen patiently, all the while eyeing the PR sprouter who’s been retweeting you a little more than the caliber of your posts warrant. Finally you make a break for it, gliding through the crowd with gentle ease, sprouter firmly in sights when . . . BOOM! Dude has re-appeared, apparently further lit, starting out with “man did you hear about my Vegas trip I was talking about before” . . . . and off we go again.

3. The follow-on-citation
I’ve just bought a new car and I’m in the market for car insurance. Before I get started on more formal research, I post a quick tweet to my followers “What would you recommend as the best car insurance policy for an innercity driver?”. Within 15 minutes, I’m followed by 3 different insurance companies.

Physical context: You’re at a weekend picnic talking to the assembled acquaintances about your recent auto purchase. You mention insurance, and before anyone has time to respond, 3 men in Canali suits drop out of the trees and express an interest in pursuing a personal relationship with you. You hadn’t invited them to the picnic.

4. The auto-DM-on-follow
This scenario is pretty straightforward and I’m sure that everyone who’s used Twitter before has experienced it. I follow someone for whatever reason, and I’m sent a direct message saying something particularly beige along the lines of “hey, thanks for following, looking forward to your tweets”

Physical context: You’ve just had one of those meetings where there are 10 people sitting around a table and there are more business cards being exchanged than there are polo shirts at the young liberals annual bbq.  You’re in the cab on the way back and you get an impersonal email from one of the attendees saying “thank you for exchanging business cards with me, I look forward to our email correspondence in the future”. Whoa, what an impressive opener.

5. The gratuitous association tweet
You’re out at a party, a conference, a social media/digital shindig and you’re hanging out with a handful of people who have oh-so-many more followers than you. The world needs to know who you’re rolling with.  “Just at the Ivy with @digital_hotshotA and @media_whizkid”

Physical context: You’re at your aunt’s Sunday BBQ and your 21 year old cousin is there. While nursing a hangover the size of a small pony, you try to make idle chit chat about what she’s been up to on the weekend. Her narrative sounds like the weekend social pages, as she not-so-subtlety demonstrates that her view of herself is defined solely by the company she keeps. You want to give her a reassuring hug, but you don’t live in Paddington so she probably wouldn’t welcome it.

Post-script: author is guilty of some, if not all of the aforementioned behaviours.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Mandi at 9:15 pm

    may i add the slight variation to Tweet 1: the reply in a RT tweet.

    e.g. @tweeting_friend: @mab397 how are you today?

    i’m fine thanks, how are you? RT @tweeting_friend: @mab397 how are you today?

    to me it’s the equivalent of someone speaking to you directly across the dinner table and in return you answer loudly to the rest of the room, turning around in the your chair to make sure they all hear. for some reason a mental image of vince vaughn saying “amirite or amirite??” and laughing obnoxiously tends to accompany this. but that could just be me.

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