I love Twitter, far too much. I would class myself as a power user. In the 8 years I’ve been signed up, I’ve used it every single day. It’s my source of news, it’s how I’m connected with my friends – it’s brilliant. I love how ‘live’ it is – I often sit following hashtags as TV shows go out – getting a commentary from other viewers. You get an instant feel of how the country is reacting. TV makers capitalise on it by ensuring the correct hashtag is shown at the start of a show, or before an advert break. It’s awesome fun.
Whilst sharing in ‘real-time’ can be a blessing – I’m seeing more and more that it can be a curse.
I’ve already written about how the #datenight hashtag – is a cringe inducing vomfest. Couples are spending ‘special’ time together, phones in hand, tweeting about how much fun they are having. While not actually doing what they intended – having fun together, without it being a public affair.
As your following grows, you’re ‘broadcasting’ to a larger audience, and in some cases thousands of people are reading the words you’re saying. Early days on Twitter mean you’re often shouting into an abyss, but as time passes, you’re talking to people. People you know, people you don’t. Every time I hit the ‘send’ button, that message could be seen by so many people, if I attach a hashtag, the audience can multiply. It’s scary how many could see your pithy brain fart.
Recently, I’ve typed out a many-a-tweet and then deleted it – I’m an idiot that says things I shouldn’t. Whilst it’s okay to be a bit ‘edgy’ in a pub with your mates. With Twitter, every word you’re saying is out there – for keeps. Even if you delete something, the digital footprint is still there.
If you’re going through a crisis, perhaps the best way to deal with it isn’t via Twitter?
We’re stuck in a mentality now that stuff ‘must’ be tweeted, as it happens. There’s occasionally no buffer between a thought in your head and it immediately being out there. Thoughts aren’t always good things. They are impulsive and immediate, not always balanced and considered. Time to consider, and gather the facts, and muse on your thoughts is often the best thing to do, especially when in a crisis. Whilst Twitter often feels like you’re just throwing words out there – people SEE it, especially if you’re adding hashtags.
Someone might be searching that hashtag for advice, or support, and immediately faced with your instant feelings on your own crisis. Rightly or wrongly. We’re all guilty of venting into the ether, but a ‘closed’ forum is much better than a public one. The cosy confines of your Facebook is limited to those you choose to share with. Twitter is a world stage, and not always appropriate to be so reactive into.
Bloggers have their own platform to unload onto – you have the time to gather all the information, order your thoughts, and put them down. Your instant reaction isn’t always correct, it’s just that – a reaction. Your brain doesn’t always see 2+2 = 4 immediately, it’s lost in a fog of emotions, feelings, and thoughts. If you ponder on those thoughts and feelings, instead of shitting them out in real-time, the final product will be insightful, considered, and hopefully concluded.
We shouldn’t always be screaming out into Twitter as it happens, because you can’t write a story without an ending.