According to my phone’s battery usage gauge, I’ve spent 10.5 hours in the last week scrolling through gifs and angry threads on Twitter, the fourth most densely populated social media platform on the world.  My first reaction was to question my life choices when I could have been revising the reoccurrence of the Byronic Hero in Gothic fiction at 1am in the morning.

But then I thought: “Surely there’s a feature lurking in those misspent early hours?”  In truth, I’m still not sure there was, but here are some tips I’ve learnt about how to Tweet in style.

Master the 140-Character Limit

Few crimes on this world are more frustrating than an endlessly rambling Facebook feed.  Eating a banana for lunch may be a noteworthy event, but is it really necessary to detail the brain-burningly complex process of peeling it too?

Twitter imposes a concise 140-character limit to prevent such abominations.  However, you need to be pithy, clear and to the point if you are going to maximise your Twitter satisfaction.  

Don’t @ in Anger

It’s amazing that you can send a message to Taylor Swift over a lunchtime cappuccino.  But be aware @ting someone in anger may have consequences.   Publically attacking a well-known individual or anyone else should be carefully considered.  Do you have grounds? Are your facts straight? Are you being overly insulting?  There’s enough lies and hatred clogging the internet’s feed already without us adding to the surplus.   Also be aware that your tweet will be visible to every single one of the recipient’s followers, who may decide to pounce on you like a pack of bloodthirsty hounds.   This, sadly, is the nature of the site.

Relax

Twitter may be a proven global platform for sweeping social change, but it’s symbol is also a dinky blue birdy.  Part of what makes social media so enchanting is that it offers us an opportunity to be ourselves and share a good giggle among thousands of fellow users.   That’s not to say you shouldn’t use your account to participate in major discussions; but it’s also important to remember to have fun.

Please, don’t Buy Followers

There are several services, like socialablezone.com, which will buff up your follower count with bots in exchange for a fee.   Don’t ever do this. Ever.   It’s really, abysmally sad.  As in life, the happiness of your tweeting career is determined by the quality of your followers, never the quantity. Seek friends you can talk to, who will support and understand you, and Twitter will be a rubber ring in a turbulent world. Bots are also lousy conversationalists. They cannot hold coherent opinions and moreover will never appreciate the evergreen hilarity of Nyan Cat.  Avoid and spend your money on more worthwhile endeavours, like knitting classes

Be Aware of the Echo Chamber

When you sign in to any social media account, you enter a sealed bubble where facts are slanted and truths tastefully airbrushed.  Be conscious that Twitter is not a photorealistic representation of the world.   Your entire worldview will be sculpted, whether you consent or not, by the opinions of those you follow.  Apple News, on the other hand, works by feeding you articles based on your search engine habits.  This is not really going to make you an informed and rounded person. The world is so much more complex than anybody’s personal prejudice.  Search for alternative opinions from people who do not necessarily share your view (But steer clear of lunatics) and find some perspective by logging out every so often.  

Block or Report Anyone who Verbally Abuses You

Obviously.

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