How to Use Twitter as a Middle-Aged Media Exec

Twitter doesn’t necessarily come naturally or easily to more mature industry execs. But this is the “personal branding” age, so there’s little choice for many agency and media hotshots but to start pecking away pithy updates. Results can vary.

Here is a list of etiquette tips for the over-40 set. In general, use your best judgement, and don’t try too hard to sound like, well, a millennial because young people are some of the most annoying people on Twitter.

 The Executive’s Guide to Twitter Etiquette

1. Never, under any circumstances, use emoticons. These are unbecoming, and if you are a man, can come off super creepy. Just use your words.2. Reconsider the urge to use lol, rofl and other abbreviations frequently used by your teenage daughter. Again, a certain creepiness factor enters when grown people use tween lingo. It’s like the guys on Japanese subways reading pornographic comic books. OK, it’s not that bad. Still. 

3. Please use historical-figure quotes sparingly — or any literary, philosophical or inspirational quotes for that matter. Yeah, Sun-Tzu gets your blood pumping, but sometimes discretion is needed.

4. It’s OK to suck up to clients, but try not to be too obvious or over the top about it. A little self-respect can go a long way. 

5. Remember: You’re a grown up. Think whether you would say aloud, “Love me some McDonald’s fries,” or “Sweet setup!”

6. Don’t do the whole arrows and airport abbreviations thing when traveling. We get it, you are a jet-setting exec. You are a Very Important Person. If you must share your travels, again, just use your words, I guess. Just know you run the risk of sounding like an idiot. 

7. If this or some variation of this is in your Twitter bio, remove it immediately: “All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.” Unless a robot is running your account or you are being inhabited by an alien creature that is controlling your typing, it’s kind of obvious that what you are tweeting is your opinion. Also remove this: “RTs don’t equal endorsements.” Nobody knows what that means. And if you work somewhere that would fire you for RTing something, you should probably work elsewhere anyway.

8. Try not to tweet too much about executive-level “problems,” like “@delta sky lounge only has pinot. #lame #unacceptable.” No one will feel bad for you. In fact, they might hate you a little bit for tweeting things like that.