I understand that it’s a form of self-expression, but there are some things that need to be kept private. For instance, I don’t want to know that you and your significant other are fighting/in an argument. Take it up with only the people affected, as these things should be reserved for those closest to you-not the ridiculous amount of people you follow (see social obligations below).
When I was first told that creating a Twitter account would be mandatory for my program, I didn’t find it that big of a deal. After all, it’s considered an essential tool in the practise of journalism as it has the ability to spread information far and wide, quicker than ever before. So it made sense, but as future reporters, we went through best practises on how to use the site in a professional manner that would not harm your image. I was shocked at the amount of people who had a professional and personal account – that is, two different accounts. Why, I thought, do people not remain appropriate on social networking sites? I was baffled, especially when my prof suggested the idea. If you are going to be releasing personal information that you wouldn’t want an employer or even your parents to see, I would appreciate it if I didn’t follow you on that account, he recommended.
I asked how bad it was, to which he referred to a tweet from a student that went something like “was way too drunk last night, brought home two guys”. That’s right; if there’s anything worse than too much information, it’s drunk-tweeting.
4) SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS-TO FOLLOW OR NOT TO FOLLOW
Ah, this is one that I’ve experienced first-hand, mostly by people who somehow think that having more followers validates them as a person. The more followers you have, the more people care what you think, the more popular you are – at least in theory. As soon as you follow the account back, or even a week or month after, the person unfollows you simply to gain a follower.
I pay little to no attention to my followers/following, but now there’s a way to track who and how many followers you have (or don’t have). Unfollowers.me is an app specifically designed to manage this, so you can react in an appropriate way. Personally, I find it all immature; you should follow who you want, and if you decide you don’t find their tweets entertaining or informative, there should be no hesitation to unfollow.
This is a double-edged sword though, and goes for follows as well. Following this bizarre idea that you’re only “cool” if you care about what a lot of people think and vice versa, I find it crazy the amount of people who follow a large number of accounts. It’s like Facebook all over again; there’s no way you care that much about what 200 people say, let alone read every single tweet. Even worse is when people tweet something like “my TL is blowing up right now about ___”. Well yeah, of course it is. You have 200 people tweeting similar things, especially when they’re trending worldwide…which brings me to my next point.
3) DUMB TRENDS
This one speaks for itself. I don’t have a bone to pick with hashtags themselves. In fact, most of them are quite amusing and are often used accurately when they’re relevant to the corresponding tweet. Others, meanwhile, are downright stupid and make me question who created it and what was going through their mind when they decided to hashtag it. That it goes viral and eventually starts trending worldwide is worse.
Take the #CutForBieber hashtag, which took a turn for the worse when Justin Bieber fans (“Beliebers”), tweens and teens alike, began cutting themselves after a rumour spread of Bieber being caught smoking weed. Surely Bieber would reach out to the millions of fans who would cut themselves for him, right? Wrong; Bieber doesn’t and shouldn’t concern himself with such stupid issues.
I would go so far as to say that people who create these hashtags, as well as those who retweet and actually cut for Bieber, shouldn’t be using Twitter at all. But kids are smart; they know that online, nobody can tell if you’re a dog or a human since it’s so easy to lie. The Internet has created a virtual world where people are not who they seem, and we’ve seen the consequences of this time and time again.
2) FAKE REALITY
Seems like an oxymoron, right? It doesn’t matter. This ties into the fact that the World Wide Web is a virtual world unlike any other, where you can say what you want to whoever you want without very many consequences (unless it’s illegal and somebody complains). With this alternate world comes the development of some alternate identities, especially on Twitter.
You see, people have the ability to express concerns that they are deeply affected by – concerns that may have otherwise gone unmentioned. What frustrates me is individuals on Twitter who tweet things you now they would never say that in real life, creating a different online identity which we all know is far from the truth. These people hide behind a monitor or cellphone, because it is only then that they feel safe and secure to express their true feelings. If you wouldn’t say it in front of a crowd, don’t tweet it. This also goes for tweets that are directed toward somebody, especially a follower, often called…
By far the most annoying and immature way of dealing with a problem. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, a sub-tweet is similar to a subliminal message. You say what you want, but don’t make it clear who it’s directed to or in many cases, hint at who it might be about without giving away too much information by directly mentioning them. Not only are they annoying to see on my timeline, but they don’t do much to solve the problem. Grow up and face your problems like an adult, rather than tweeting and not making an active effort to address it.
The only thing that I can think of that’s worse is retaliation to a sub-tweet. I once saw someone tweet “@ me bitch”, implying they knew that a tweet was directed toward or about them. But really, does fighting fire with fire make it any better, or are you just as bad and immature as the original sub-tweeter? And no, using the excuse “he/she started it” is not justified. Stop playing mind games people, and face your problems with the individual you want to solve them with; otherwise, don’t you dare tweet them.