Twitter. It’s a minefield. I’ve already had a little rant about Facebook, but this time I wanted to open it up to the microblogging network – and see what irked regular Twitter users.  Some of these apply to brands, some apply to individuals, most annoy everyone. 


Hashtag overkill

#This #Is #Not #Acceptable. Hashtags are there to collect related information together (for example #GBBO for all the chatter about the Great British Bake Off) or to add a sarcastic afterthought to a tweet. #This is not a hashtag. 


Occasionally, a brand will choose a hashtag without fully considering a) how it could be read and b) what the response could be. Recent examples include:

  •  #McDStories. I love a cheeky McDonalds. But everyone is aware of the dubious methods/ingredients allegedly used. But hey, let’s open it up for everyone to tweet and say how they’d rather eat their own diarrhoea.
  • #WaitroseReasons McDonalds should probably have learnt from Waitrose, who also slipped up and asked its followers to say why they shopped in Waitrose.  Cue a stream of middle class mocking. In fairness, Waitrose handled it well and thanked followers for their funny replies. 
  • #Susanalbumparty. Susan Boyle’s PR team threw a party for her album. That’s not how you read it though, is it? 
  • #RIMjobs. This beaut is from Blackberry. In their defence, RIM stands for Research In Motion. But, y’know, *snigger*.

Jumping on a hashtag wagon to promote

Habitat fell into this trap, piggybacking on trending hashtags to promote their business. They even used the #iranelection hashtag. 

Users of the #Ifollowback hashtag

Please don’t.


Back in 2009 and 2010, #FollowFriday was a great way to get to know other tweeters on a social network that was still in the early growth stages. Now though, it’s largely an ego stroke – and retweeting #FF tweets you’ve received is the ultimate sin. They’re already following you – why do you need to tell them that other people think you should be followed? 

Auto DMs

If I follow you and get an auto DM, 9/10 I will unfollow. Especially if you tell me to follow you on LinkedIn. 

Passive Aggressive tweets

This isn’t Tumblr. Passive aggressive tweets about individuals are childish at best.

 Not disclosing paid content

This is a massive bugbear of mine. If you’ve been paid to write a post, make it clear in the tweet and the post. If you’ve been sent a product for free, make that clear too.  This shouldn’t be a difficult concept to get your head around – be transparent with your followers and readers so they know that if you’ve been paid for a product or service review or given it for free, there will be an element of bias. 

Beware the copy and paste function

Don’t make the same mistake American Airlines did in 2014, when they accidentally pasted a link to a photo of a lady pleasuring herself with a toy AA plane to a follower… It took them an hour to notice and take it down. 

Solely tweeting celebrities

This is a fairly common mistake made by new tweeters. The excitement of being able to talk directly to a celebrity! But some people take it too far. This is demonstrated nicely by the account HarryMyCatDied, an account dedicated to highlighting those who tweet Harry Styles to tell him their cat has died. Or their goldfish. Or their granddad. They often accompany it with a photo. AS YOU DO.

Also, I’ve discovered thanks to Twitter that Harry Styles incest fanfiction exists with his sister. I hate my eyes. 

Asking for RTs

There is an argument that you need to give people a strong call to action for them to do anything. But begging for a RT in every Tweet comes across as a little…desperate. 

Twittascopes autotweets

Just….it’s not 2009 anymore. 

Unfollow/follow updates

5 people followed you and 7 unfollowed you this week? Perhaps that’s because all you do is autotweet your numbers. This entirely misses the point of Twitter – it’s about quality over quantity. Also, if you send someone a message demanding to know why they’ve unfollowed you, you need to reassess your life choices.

Buying Twitter follows

Brands often make the mistake of buying a batch of followers to make them look more popular. This is a BIG mistake. You don’t get the engagement, and when Twitter has one of its clear ups the brand or individual ends up looking very foolish. This happened on Instagram recently, shaming celebs like Justin Bieber who lost over 3.5 million followers. 


Compers are Twitter users who Tweet about competitions all day to be in with a chance of winning. That’s literally all they tweet. Well, aside from a few side swipes at other compers who have won a prize they ‘didn’t deserve’. If you’re a brand who has run a Twitter competition before, you’ll know how terrifying this sector of Twitter is.  

Sharing fitness/diet app updates



This is a given, but trolling is completely unacceptable. If you’re not sure if what you’re tweeting is suitable, consider this – would you say it in a room full of people or to someone’s face? No? Delete the tweet.

Bad spelling and grammar

Twitter is full of editors, bloggers, journalists and PRs. Poor spelling and grammar simply isn’t tolerated on Twitter. 

Private accounts

I have to admit, this isn’t something that entirely bothers me – partly because I write social media policies occasionally and I’d rather less responsible employees kept their Twitter activities on the down low. But private accounts definitely irk some – and I can see their point. Why have a Twitter account if it’s private?

Brands constantly retweeting positive replies

The odd retweet of praise is absolutely fine, especially as a brand. But if your Twitter feed is 90% people praising you, and very little original content, people will be less likely to jump on board the follow bus. 

Asking questions then not replying

This bugged several of my favourite tweeters:

So, what bugs you on Twitter?

Emma Cossey is a social media consultant and business trainer. She runs Social Lite Support, a micro social media consultancy for small businesses on a budget. 

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