How To Ask For Help Via Twitter

First, please just ask. Don’t ask if you can ask.

About half of our time helping people on Twitter is devoted to clarifying what they are asking about…and about 80% of that is due to people not trying very hard to be clear.

Yes, sometimes people try to be clear, but the very brief nature of tweets works against them. But if you’re at least trying, we can often guess correctly what you’re asking about. It’s the people that don’t try that waste so much of our time.

Here are some tips for getting help (also known as my list of pet peeves):

1. At least try to make sense

If we have to ask for clarification after every tweet you send, slow down and think before the next tweet you send. About once a month or so, someone babbles so incoherently and incessantly that it takes dozens of DMs to help them with something simple.

2. “What’s wrong with my Twitter?” or “Help me with my problem”

…is meaningless. You need to be more specific. Say WHAT do you want help with? Don’t use words that can mean multiple things.

3. Read your responses!

When you ask a question, particularly by DM, check for a response! Don’t send multiple tweets without looking to see if you are being responded to. You’re just talking to yourself.

4. Say what it is you need!

  1. Don’t say click this link to find out why I’m contacting you. Do your best to explain what you want IN the tweet or DM.
  2. Also, don’t jump right into arcane details before explaining what you’re trying to do and why. Without what and why, we won’t know what you’re talking about.
  3. Don’t tell me why I should help you unless it also explains what you need help with. I.e., don’t say “you have lots of followers so do this for me” or “I need help because this is very frustrating” etc. Use the limited space you have to say WHAT you want help with.

5. Respond to instructions

If you’re given instructions on what to do, in your next reply say either that you followed the instructions, ignored the instructions, have questions about the instructions, or saw the instructions but need to clarify something first. Don’t just keep talking as if you didn’t read the tweet. In particular, don’t tweet something like “Still not working”—that doesn’t even tell me if you received our tweet. At least say, “I tried everything you said, and it didn’t work.”

6. Read the recent tweets of the account you’re asking for help.

After posting a tweet about a Twitter problem, we typically get several tweets asking about the problem. When we point out that we just tweeted about it, they say “thanks, that’s what I needed to know.” Next time, read our recent tweets before asking.

7. Don’t say “Please fix this” or “What you should do to fix Twitter is” etc.

Twitter “bugs” come and go all the time. Sometimes because Twitter is turning things on and off. If you have a Twitter problem that went away after you tweeted someone about it, trust me, it had nothing to do with your tweet. We get credit all the time for problems that go away after someone tweets us. It has NOTHING to do with us. It’s random. Scroll down on this post to “How Twitter fixes problems” and read about “feature darkmode” if you want to learn more. Also, as Twitter works to fix problems, sometimes other features are temporarily broken. It’s frustrating, but it’s going on all the time at Twitter.

It’s very time-consuming for us when people think we can fix their Twitter problems. Please don’t tweet us thinking we can fix anything. You’re wasting our time and yours. Read the public resources or use the Twitter contact form. If you want to ask a question, fine, we’re happy to help. But I’m tired of taking hours and hours every month with people saying “please fix this.” It’s a  frustrating waste of everyone’s time. There are people we tell this to repeatedly and they still insist on tweeting us to “fix things” for them. Please, please stop doing that. You know who you are.

If you want to suggest or ask something of Twitter, use their contact form at In particular, we (@TweetSmarter) don’t work for Twitter or have any power of any kind to fix Twitter bugs. All we can do is give advice and point you to public resources. In most cases Twitter employees will tell you the same thing: Read the public resources and use the Twitter contact form.

8. Don’t send multiple tweets when one will do

Don’t say “Can I send you a tweet” (you just did). Don’t tweet “Did you get my tweet?” (When I do, I’ll respond to it…or not.) Don’t tweet to say “I sent you a DM.” JUST SEND YOUR INFO AND WAIT FOR A REPLY. IF you waited a few days for a non-critical question answer with no response, tweet it again. Same if you waited a couple hours for a response to a critical question. Sending multiple tweets clogs up the feed of whoever you’re tweeting to, and if they’re busy or popular, it’s very, very annoying.

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