Twitter + Etiquette = Twetiquette.

For years people have taken classes on etiquette, through this people learn how to fold napkins, and what fork to use for salad at a dinner party.  However, welcome to the world of Twetiquette where you better think twice before you tweet, because there is in fact a hidden rule book of what is okay to tweet and what is not okay to tweet.  The article “The Self-Appointed Twitter Scolds” by John Metcalfe shows how many people are emerging to judge tweets and even creating twitter accounts to tweet about how dumb people are while tweeting.  Celebrities and normal people alike are getting scolded by the Twetiquette cops of twitter.  Interestingly enough, these “cops” do not only tweet at the person to inform them that they are improperly tweeting, but also tend to make twitter accounts just to make fun of them for what they are tweeting.

This article was so interesting not only because I have personally never heard of a Twetiquette, but also because it seems strange that there would be so many people who are so strict about grammar used on Twitter.  I mean in all seriousness, how badly could people mess up with only around 140 characters to say what they want to say.  Furthermore, if you are annoyed with how someone tweets, just do not follow them.

I do think that it is funny to make up Twitter accounts about specific tweeting mistakes or even poking fun at people who “tweet to hard” but there is a fine line between doing something for humor and doing something that becomes some what like cyber bullying.  Also, in case all of these “twetiquettes” did not realize, twitter is not a class, we do not get graded for how properly we tweet.

I understand where people may get annoyed by poor grammar on a website, or blog post, however the idea of getting as annoyed with a tweet seems a bit excessive.  Overall, Twitter was made to express ideas in short sentences and to be able to instantly share something or communicate, therefore unless you are a celebrity who has 2 million followers does it really matter if you in your hurried state of tweeting spell something wrong or use the wrong punctuation.

Overall, this article really shocked me, I never realized how much of an issue grammar in on Twitter is becoming.  I enjoyed the article because it showed both the serious side to this issue and the comical side to this issue.  I feel like in a world where everything is becoming short handed because of technology, we should be conscious of grammar, but if we do make mistakes, there is no reason we should be bullied by other Twitter members who we do not know, a small joke is one thing but serious heckling is another.

Photo Credit: Slava Murava Kiss

Photo Credit:
Slava Murava Kiss



  1. lisak0

    It’s honestly funny to read bad grammar on Twitter. It makes me think of whether people write horribly on purpose or if they just really have horrible grammar skills. It’s funny to see people correcting each other at times, but after awhile, it just gets mean and boring. Some people take grammar usages so… up to the top. It’s unnecessary! I correct my friends’ grammar once in a blue moon, when I feel like messing around with them and getting a good laugh (knowing that they will laugh along too!). I don’t try to be offensive. These Grammar Nazis overdo it, and honestly, I wish they would do something better with their lives… Now if they were an English teacher, then I don’t mind because it’s in their nature to correct bad grammar! I bet people would not correct others in public as much as they do online. People gain more confidence over the internet. I agree with you 100%- people should unfollow those who have bad grammar if it bothers them so much. And I also agree that Twitter purposefully has only 140? 160? characters which might make people use incorrect grammar a majority of the time.

    But something tells me that Celebrities should try implicating proper grammar usages when tweeting a short message. They are in fact role models for many or can get made fun of more easily that us non famous beings. Honestly, I feel like some celebrities just don’t care whether they mess up a word, or maybe they don’t know what spell check is. But it really should not be a huge issue that leads to so many people criticizing and poking fun at. Some people take everything too seriously, and that leads to such unnecessary negativity. I mean, There are some humers to the messed up grammars.

  2. ktomiak25

    Honestly, its crazy to me how worked up people get over things that don’t concern them. Who really cares if I use correct grammar or not!? When my friends do it, it definitely makes it harder to understand what they are trying to say but I don’t understand why people get angry about not being able to read it. Most of the time people are tweeting about matters that are so extremely inconsequential anyway. I follow @stealthmountain on twitter, a person who has dedicated a twitter just to correcting people who type “sneak peak” (Their about me literally says, “I alert twitter users that they typed sneak peak when they meant sneak peek. I live a sad life.”) Obviously the person does this to be funny, but what is more funny than seeing the log of text on their feed that continually says “I think you mean ‘sneak peek'” is checking out their favorited tweets… which is full of the angry replies people send back. If that happened to me I would just laugh it off and maybe learn from it. My friend pointed out once when I spelled “weird” wrong, and to be honest I’ve never done it again. Sometimes it is helpful. Being constantly corrected could be annoying but if it is harmless and not too often, I am all for correcting grammar. Celebrities have to deal with a lot of flack from the public in regards to what they wear, who they are with, etc etc so they should realize when they make a twitter account that people are definitely going to lay into them for their posts as well.

  3. hillary601

    I have a twitter that I use very often. Out of all of the social networking sites, twitter is probably the only one that I have really stuck with. I have always been big on grammar and writing well. When I used to be on MySpace, I was really young so it didn’t matter too much to me if I’d make mistakes. I then skipped over the Facebook phase and went straight to twitter. Like stated on the article, twitter only allows 140 characters. This makes it very hard to keep perfect grammar on twitter. When I got a facebook I always did my best to write with good grammar because I had the room or space to say all I needed to say. If I am on twitter and I have something to say that isn’t that long than I will use apostrophes and commas and even semi colons. If my statement is super long and is about to exceed the 140 character rule given to me than I will erase some things to make my statement fit but still be understandable.
    Like I said before, Yady usually calls me the grammar Nazi. I completely agree with the twitter police if they point out people saying things like “yuh” instead of “you” because it takes the same amount of effort and that annoys me. Mistakes like that should be pointed out and ridiculed in my opinion because people are getting too accustomed to not writing in the correct English way. Over the past years several rules have been excluded from the grammar rule book because people just don’t follow them. I also feel that people should right well because they need to learn how to talk in a professional adult-like manner.

  4. hg163

    I think that this sort of ties into the previous article that we had to read about cyber bullying and mean comments. There may be some people who really are trying to “police” the Internet and get people to use correct grammar everywhere, but I think that most people are just bored and are trying to rile everyone up (aka, a troll). Getting back to your post, it’s one thing to point out incorrect grammar to a journalist on an article that he or she publishes, but it’s another thing to go after some random person, or even a celebrity, for writing “u” instead of “you” on Twitter. At this point, we should all know that celebrities aren’t exactly the brightest people (not to say that there aren’t any intelligent celebrities) out there. In my opinion no matter which it is, an author or a celebrity or a journalist, going after them for incorrect grammar on Twitter is just not fair. Some may think that a more professional writer HAS to use perfect grammar, but Twitter only has 140 characters to work with; shortening a word or not putting some correct punctuations could be the difference between posting one post or multiple, and let’s be honest, we would rather read one post than two. It’s just easier and quicker. On the other hand, if you’re using up only 75 characters, there is no point to typing “hav” instead of “have”; just use your judgment. Other social networking sites, like Facebook, are different. If you are not a high school student then you should be writing with pretty decent grammar. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but at least make it presentable and readable to others (who knows, maybe a future employer will see all those posts with terrible grammar!).

  5. karencronin

    I have to agree with Brielle in calling this so called Twetiquette, cyber bullying. What else could you call someone harassing you on line. Except, this bullying does not attack your looks or your character. It attacks the way you speak and write your particular language. The advancement of technology allows us and our lives to go quicker. These self appointed scolders have to realize that the abbreviation and quickness (which can result in errors) of typing on our various devices, is a result of the advancement of our technology. I always thought that Twitter, as well as texting, was a way to quickly communicate your thoughts. No one is looking to win a prize for the best written Tweet. I would imagine that the people reading those incorrectly written Tweets could care less about spelling or sentence structure.
    The people we should be questioning about all this are not the people being scolded, but the people who are doing the scolding. Do they really have that much free time to be analyzing everyone’s Tweets? It seems strange that people are using their spare time to criticize others. They might be more productive to themselves and society if they used their free time tutoring in a literacy program or after school program. Let’s leave spelling correction and proper sentence structure to the real teachers.

  6. tedrihn

    To me twitter was just another social networking app, so after about two weeks of having one, I deleted it and haven’t gone back to the site ever again. Personally this article makes really glad I didn’t because I know for a fact that I short hand everything. My grammar is always wrong in some way, shape, or form. I wouldn’t be able to stand followers constantly bickering about my grammar or whether I used the correct spelling or not. Most likely, it would make me delete my twitter all over again. I find that the seriousness and severity that people take grammar mistakes on twitter to be absolutely absurd. It’s one thing if you are pointing out stupid mistakes and trying to make a joke, but if you cross over that line that puts you into the “cyber bullying” category, you obviously need to chill out about how you live your life. Like the article said, there are some people who’s lives and/or twitters are solely dedicated to finding grammar mistakes and hassling the poster about it. To me that is just completely unnecessary and a waste of time, where that time could be spent finding a “real job.”
    Now I understand that there is also no reason to have your posts sound like a 3rd grader with an iPhone wrote them, but still the internet is a place of free speech and us Americans can say whatever we want, however we want. That is the beauty of the internet and to change the way we speak or type is to conform to the pressures of a society that also thinks that all girls need to be skinny in order to be beautiful.

  7. wilschiu

    For me, tweeting is essentially the same as talking to a friend. When you talk to your friends, you never really think about your grammar or whether or not you are speaking in complete sentences. I think people conveniently forget that Twitter started is an informal social media site. The key word here is informal, like talking to a friend. How often do people really go around and correct their friend’s grammar?(bar that one really annoying guy in the room that no one likes) The only real difference is that your tweets can be searched for by random strangers and that they are presented visually online. Okay, in some cases you might want to watch your spelling… like if you are running for congress, but in most cases as long as you are still comprehensible, does it really matter? But as useless as it is to take up the mantle as some internet-grammar vigilante, it is equally idiotic to take some stranger’s tweets seriously. The internet can be likened to this big trade show where each person is trying to come up with something different and new at their booth to wow people and bring attention to themselves. This new trend of twitter cops is no different, it’s mostly an effort to stand out apart from other people on the internet and make people think your life is actually worth something. It sucks that you might one day be on the butt end of someone’s joke because you made a couple typos tweeting with one hand about some deer you saw while driving but how much does that really impact your life in the long run? People just need to learn to ignore this kind of stuff because losing sleep crying over it just means that the other person has won. Also you probably shouldn’t have been tweeting while driving.

  8. mjdenis38

    I think in any situation in which requires communicating via words, proper grammer should be used. I find it slightly annoying that people don’t use proper grammer or make silly mistakes when posting something online. I do agree that the “grammer police” go overboard in their corrections, and really go overboard when they retweet something just to make fun of a person’s mistake. I agree with your point that it is another form of internet bullying. If someone corrects another persons mistake via just an asterisk, then that is fine. Nothing more is needed, than a simple correction. But there is also the factor that people intentionally make mistakes to either draw attention to themselves or they intentionaly make mistakes just to fit their post in 140 characters. When you are posting something that the public can read, then it also helps to have correct grammer so people understand what you are saying.
    For celebrities, something like this would only put them further under the microscope of the media. Celebrities already face criticism for personal or professional beliefs, and adding bad grammer into the mix for the grammer police to pick on them. But no matter what, people should not get so overworked over bad grammer. After all, people have more important things to worry about than someone’s bad grammer on twitter as well as retweeting mistakes just to make fun of them.

  9. Miss Bombshell

    While reading this article I couldn’t stop laughing at the stupidity of twitter etiquette. I always felt like social media was made for people to vent and communicate with others their thoughts throughout the day. Twitter limits a person to 140 characters so I personally always leave out the vowels in words so that I can get all my thoughts through in one tweet. So I guess you can say I lack twitter etiquette but, personally I don’t care. And why would someone waste their time trying to make a mockery out another person who is simply just sharing their thoughts and trying to connect with others. It’s bad enough that society has totally disregarded the old idea of communication where people sat down and had real conversation, so now that society has adopted this new form of communicating through social media why would a person make another person feel uncomfortable about how they tweet and deter them from communicating at all. I personally just think those who are patrolling their twitter feed looking for grammatical errors and misspellings have no lives and find validation by making others look bad publicly. So as far as etiquette goes on twitter ill continue to leave out the vowels in words and maybe even make the ultimate grammatical error because I now know people are watching.

  10. gisellehernandez412

    I’m honestly surprised that people take etiquette on Twitter so seriously. As you’ve discussed, Twitter only allows tweeters 140 characters. That being said, shorthand and misspellings are inevitable. In fact, I feel as though Twitter has become a place where people purposely misspell words–I think it’s part of the Twitter culture. This is how I always viewed spelling and grammar on Twitter which is why I was so surprised when I read this article. Besides, why should it be a big deal, anyway? It’s not like tweeters are writing a thesis paper or getting graded on their use of 140 characters. I guess I can understand if the Tweeter is a political figure because it is their job to act and speak professionally when in the publics eye. I do not however feel that celebrities are obligated to use “proper” etiquette on Twitter. I agree with you that the Twitter accounts that target people who use improper grammar and spellings can be viewed as cyber bulling. Publicly embarrassing someone online for thousands of strangers to see can definitely hurt someone and as I’ve expressed, it’s absolutely shocking to me that people find it amusing. The way people tweet is similar to the way they text–informally. As a tweeter who nearly always misspells things and is accepted as such, I find Twetiquette laughable.

  11. dmhgs

    Improper grammar usage does give off a certain image of the person who made the mistakes. We judge people who don’t spell things correctly or use made up words, it’s a cold hard fact. I do it too. However on social media sites I don’t pay as much attention as these Twetiquette people do. Social media is a setting that doesn’t require correct grammar or if it does that’s simply because you see it that way. Most twitter accounts aren’t used as a professional work tool so there isn’t a need to be proper. I also feel that Twitter especially makes it difficult to use correct grammar. Twitter really limits how much you can write in one tweet so sometimes it seems plausible to go back and shorten things, even though it isn’t the proper way to write it. For example if I absolutely can’t fit the word ‘you’ in I’ll cut it short to ‘u’ so that I wouldn’t have to detract from the meaning of the tweet. I feel that pointing out grammar mistakes on social media sites is a completely different level than grading a paper. There’s no need to point it out.
    So someone made a mistake. Oooo, shocker.

  12. megansmurray

    I will admit it; I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi. It really does bug me to no end when someone uses the wrong “your,” or “there.” Especially on a site like twitter; there are only 140 characters, how long would it take you to read that through a second time? Another 10 seconds? If you don’t have the time to double check your usage, you don’t have the time to be making that tweet.

    That being said, people making accounts just to mock people about bad grammar is certainly not “etiquette.” What is polite about that? It’s straight up rude and disrespectful. This goes back into the cyberbullying issue, people being way too rude and harsh. While I do believe you should proofread your tweets, mistakes happen. We are human. Besides, there is definitely a difference between incorrect usage and a typo, and no one can say they never make the occasional typo.

    In addition, there is something to be said for shortening words to you can get your whole thought into 140 characters. I can see this as a valid reason, and would shorten things like “probably” to “prolly,” or “because” to “ ‘cuz,” or “going to” to “gonna.” These would not usually be accepted in writing, but I feel in the casual atmosphere of twitter, it is fine. However, I do not think that “its k 4 u 2 tlk lke dis.” Extreme shorthand just makes you look unintelligent, and it can be difficult to read.

    If you do catch someone with a spelling or usage error, “real etiquette” would be to let it go, be the bigger person, and realize you understood what they meant.

  13. Brian

    I really don’t use Twitter too often so I might not be the best person to give a good answer. However, I too was very surprised at this article since I have also never heard of Twetiquette. I do find the correction of grammar to be funny if done with good taste. Personally I’ve seen some pretty hilarious grammar correction on comments for Facebook posts. However, more often than not, it is only funny if the posting is completely off from its intended meaning due to incorrect grammer. If people really find the correction of grammar to be annoying just fix it. Otherwise, you make it way too easy for the “Grammar Police” to troll you. Stop giving them their ammunition and there should be not problem. On the other hand, these grammar strict people can also be very annoying if done in bad taste. If one were to comment purely because of something as small as a missed apostrophe, then you know that the commenter is trying to be an annoyance rather than be funny. So I personally would not have a problem with the enforcers of this “Twetiquette” as long as their actions are done in good taste with the purpose of making a laugh rather than to be a pain.

  14. jordannao

    After reading the article and what Brielle posted I noticed that for some people grammar is extremely important. I do respect those individuals that has perfect grammar and goes around trying to show others and tries to correct them as well. Everyone has their own passion in very different and unique ways. However, one point I do not agree with is harassing others due to their grammar. Try to be nice and kind and telling them “Hey you spelled something wrong”, is acceptable, but when the feedback becomes mean and aggressive is time to put a stop to it. Another way we have to look at it as well, is the way twitter was set up! It limits the amount of words a person can post, so trying to alter how a word is written to fit into the twit is normal. In addition, I still can’t understand the concept behind of harassing people due to their grammar on twitter or somewhere online. It’s clear that the person is writing it wrong for a purpose, if you are related to them or know them it’s okay so say something, but if someone is a stranger they should just stop following that person or looking for ways to start trouble.

  15. yadyayala105

    I think this has not only happened on twitter but all over the Internet. People are so hung up on using proper and quickly criticize others for messily mistakes. I think it is kind of amusing that people are so concerned about others grammar mistakes. They act as if it is their duty to correct others. There are certain scenarios where yes people are required to use proper grammar but the Internet is not exactly this place. Technology has created pretty much a new language for users to conveniently say what they want without using much effort. What I mean when I say this are terms such as lol, brb, ttyly so on and so forth. If people use these words does this mean that they are using bad grammar? No I do not think so. I completely agree with you that it is a bit crazy how outraged people get when they witnessed things like this. I personally do not know much about twitter but I have seen it in other areas of the Internet. I will not say I have never been annoyed when people write yuh or waz up but I do not comment about it on the Internet about it. People can write how they like. I will say I do understand how the grammar critics feel. Using improper grammar like those examples were cool and commonly seen in the “myspace days”. I hate to crush the hopes and dreams of those who think that those days will return but they are long gone. The effort used to write those slang terms are equal. Unlike words like brb the the same term takes just as long if not longer than writing the word correctly. It may seem like I am also a grammar critic as well but I am far from it. I have never made rude comments to others about their writing; I just stay it to myself instead. I make more than my fair share of mistakes just like everyone else. People cut others some slack it’s Twitter not the newspaper. If you don’t like the fact that the person wrote “hizzy” instead of house in their tweet then you should either suck it up or just unfollow them; there is no need to make rude comments and ruin someone’s day.

  16. mlew210

    I personally have never used Twitter. In fact, I really don’t see the point in even having a Twitter. Twetiquette, however, does sound somewhat familiar to me. It actually reminds me of the so called “grammar Nazis” that lurk around the internet. Essentially, their only function in society is to go around and correct people who use poor grammar in their sentences, even if it’s casual chatter between two friends. It is condescending in nature, but I can see why people choose to do it. If I’m on Facebook and I see someone use your instead of you are, I cringe a little and wish that they would change it. I don’t know how to explain it, but there is a part of human nature that just outright rejects things that don’t appear “normal”. My guess is that things that appear wrong are probably seen as inferior. It’s worse on the internet because there are so many people online at all times, and each person has the power to say something. When no one has to take responsibility for their actions, how likely are people to say things they probably would’ve never said in the first place? This ties back the article we read last week. In person, putting down someone who appears inferior might be hard, but online, it is much easier. The person doesn’t have to deal with the reaction that would probably follow the bullying. They literally leave their little comments and go their own way, ignoring the consequences of their actions. That is how these “tweeters” deal with the abnormalities that invade their personal tweeting space. This is how they control their “society”. If the users of Twitter decide that there is a normal way to go about things within their own little Twittersphere, then how is that any different from humans setting up social norms for the rest of society? Sure, it is a little excessive to make additional accounts just to spite someone, but rejecting something social unacceptable is nothing new. I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to fix things like this, but it really shouldn’t be a surprise that “cyber bullying” through Twitter exists.

  17. evanhuaru

    I have a twitter and I can relate to the people who hate having their grammar corrected. Nobody likes being wrong and its embarrassing when people make fun of you for it. Honestly, I don’t understand why people would care so much to go out of their way to purposely ridicule someone about their grammar or “stupid” tweet. Bad grammar happens to everyone, were human we make mistakes. Some people may not be as proficient with grammar as others. Nobody wants to hear someone correct their grammar especially when you’re on twitter. Twitter is supposed to be just for fun and having people you don’t know ridicule you on what you say isn’t really fun. If someone really hates bad grammar that much, instead of ridiculing them they should either ignore it or stop following them. Tweets are meant for yourself and your followers; no one is forcing you to read their tweets. Why do people have to find enjoyment pissing other people off by deliberately calling you out for bad grammar? Tweets are intended to have short messages with 140 characters; it’s not like an article or a book. I agree with you when you say ridiculing someone’s tweet can be a form of cyber bullying, especially if it’s from someone you don’t know. People can actually take those comments to heart and ruin someone’s day. There’s a fine line between a joke and a harsh comment and I think it’s just ridiculous people do it for enjoyment.

  18. moegor94

    I think that this article has a lot to do with the previous article we read, “How the Internet created an Age of rage“. Lashing out on small grammatical errors and making fun of the things people tweet about is just another form of angry behavior brought on by deindividuation. If you were in an elevator with someone and you overheard a part of their conversation with someone else that you felt was stupid or you noticed they made a grammatical error, you wouldn’t rudely interrupt them and correct them or ridicule them, you would just keep the thought to yourself. Tweets are literally the exact same situation but because people feel safe behind a computer screen, they lash out and act in ways that they would otherwise consider inappropriate, behavior they know is wrong. I feel that is why the most popular grammar police on twitter operate through pseudonyms and websites, to conceal themselves on a daily basis. As the article mentions, some of them also special programs to generate responses to certain tweets, completely depersonalizing the process but still getting the “trolling” done. There is no need for twitter cops to be patrolling the web and correcting people just as there is no need for people to lash out on individuals via the web.

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