I love Twitter. Twitter was where I began my modern social media life in 2008 (otherwise I was a BBS rat in 1981+) and where I find the most joy and engagement. The ability to convey a message in under 140 is a challenge, a puzzle and a very difficult skill to master.
Understanding the nuances of your message, and the many ways in which it would be perceived by the intended audience is part of the challenge and the best way to demonstrate skill. Some of the top Twitter users are likely the most underrated for their eloquence, simplicity, and temperament.
Yes I said temperament. Temperament is important. I learned this the hard way, I used to be perceived as an “angry” person, and I was at one point, years ago. Time and maturity, as well as experience, benefited me greatly in growing my patience and understanding. That doesn’t seem to come easily to all people, and some people just don’t seem to get it.
There is an art to crafting a tweet, to executing a powerful message in 140 characters or less. That power is in what is not said, what is implied, or what is left open ended for the reader to consider and interpret. When Twitter is used badly, as evidenced by a lot of recent media coverage, it is very dangerous, the power of the reach of a tweet to it’s intended audience, or even the unintended audience is enormous (or HUGE as some offenders might prefer to say). There is great responsibility in the power of a super user of Twitter. I always consider how I intend my message to be read, and the multitude of ways that it might actually be read, sometimes that double entendre is what I find most enjoyable about a tweet.
What I have always found the most terrifying about the power of Twitter is the assumed trust and credibility of the tweeter and the tweet. I have seen true sociopaths create great platforms to attain goals of celebrity, with the focus being to manipulate the perception of the masses, and advance their careers. I have seen corporations, individuals and governments fall for these messages, from the sociopaths, psychopaths and the every day people as well.
With the proliferation of media, and the blurring of the lines between urban legend and real news, the power of the tweet becomes even more apparent. The responsibility of the tweeter is often overlooked, people post in a moment of high stress, emotional upset, anger or frustration which should never be done. I have preached the
“Rule of 24” for all the years I have used social media, that rule is akin to the old 24 Hour rule of letter writing. If you write something in the heat of the moment, wait 24 hours before mailing the letter, in the case of social media wait 24 minutes before posting the message. You can not take a tweet back, or any posting for that matter, delete as you wish but someone has seen it and a server somewhere has indexed it.
Backpedal as much as you wish, the damage will be done even if it was only public for a moment. In 2017 there is no such thing as privacy, and no such thing as deletion, everything is indexed, backed up, and stored on a server somewhere. The social media platforms are a safe place for the masses of bullies around the world, people can spout hatred, anger and frustration, and others will be out there waiting for that message because someone stronger was willing to say it.
With a Twitter account comes great responsibility, understanding the potential that each message can carry is not a difficult concept, but not everyone seems to be able to grasp that. When an elected government official can’t filter their own thoughts, and posts bullying attacks, unfounded statements of hatred, that is scary, and that is what is happening now. We do not tolerate bullying in our schools, yet the President Elect is permitted to attack great civil rights leaders like Representative John Lewis, who HAS acted his entire life, taken stands and been nearly beaten to death for such stands. To proclaim this great man as “talk, talk, talk” is arrogant, erroneous and the first step toward the decline of civilized government.
We would not stand for anyone else doing this, yet the President Elect is permitted to spout rhetoric, lies, and “false information” and is exempt from responsibility? Someone needs to take his Twitter account away from him quickly, before the rest of the world decides that the entire United States is a disaster and we are faced with some sort of cyber-attack or invasion. Would Kelly Ann PLEASE take Trump’s cell phone away? Enough of this already, I mean the slanderous words of the President Elect couldn’t possibly lead to impeachment could they? One may only dream… I hope he proves me wrong and learns to filter, be kind and Tweet responsibly, and becomes an amazing President, if not… g-d help us all.
Excuse me Canada, how do I apply for a Visa?