Tweet-tiquette Missteps

Twitter logo-Whoops

This morning was a learning-morning for me. Those aren’t always fun, but they’re always good. I was having a bit of the old morning-anxiety-brain, and something I heard on a podcast really triggered it into high gear. The thing and the podcast are beside the point. My reaction is not. That reaction was to tweet about it. Sometimes that’s an okay thing to do, but as most celebrities and congressmen will tell you, it’s not always the smartest choice.

The problem was I came at it from a really selfish viewpoint. As if my reaction was universal (certainly not), or even common (who knows?). And the really dumb thing I did was tag the podcast and podcasters involved. Oy. My thought process at the time was this:

I love this thing SO MUCH I want it to succeed in every way possible! And there’s this thing that really bothered me that might make it less successful! I should shout it from the tweet-tops!

But outside of my head it looked like this:

I have a problem with how someone else does something so I’m complaining about it loudly on the internet! And not only that, but I’m telling someone else how they should make their own thing!

Duuuude. Not a good call.

As soon as I tweeted it all out, I admit to feeling relief in my brain—it cooled the anxiety a bit. And hey, that’s why some of us do these things in the first place. However, that particular relief valve wasn’t really worth it because then I started to feel another kind of anxiety—the what-if-that-wasn’t-a-great-idea kind. The I-hope-they-take-that-in-the-spirit-it-was-intended kind. The oh-shit-I-look-like-an-ass kind.

And by the time I got to work I’d had several private messages about it. A couple were from people agreeing with my feelings, but, like civilized people, doing it privately. The other was from someone gently pointing out it was maybe not a great idea to tweet like that and tag the people involved.

And I felt like the idiot I was. Because I was.

So I deleted the whole string of tweets—a decision I’m happy with. I’m less happy with the fact I tweeted in the first place. But if I hadn’t, then I wouldn’t have had this lesson-learning experience and might’ve gone on to tweet something even more bone-headed in the future.

My next challenge is to take the positive from this and learn (rather than just feeling like a jerk all day and letting it bring me down—that helps exactly no one). And maybe somebody reading this will think twice next time they have a criticism of something they love. There’s absolutely a place for criticism and feedback, but unless you *want* to make someone else feel bad, there’s a way to go about it—gently and in private are two key factors. Words of advice from someone who got it wrong.

So to anyone who saw my little outburst this morning and was made even the teensiest bit uncomfortable, I apologise wholeheartedly. I will certainly do my best to avoid anything like this again. I can’t guarantee I’ll succeed, but dammit, I’m gonna try.

In closing, I’d like to point myself to one of my own posts. The irony that I wrote a post entitled (in part) “Think Before You Tweet” is not lost on me. So yeah, self: Think more. Tweet better.

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3 thoughts on “Tweet-tiquette Missteps

  1. As they say, hindsight is 20/20! Sounds trite, but it really is too. I would say it’s a fairly regular occurrence for me to have a reaction like that to something over email at work. I realize work is a different setting, but what I always do is take a step back, think about the best way to deliver my message, and then write it out (or call the person, in some cases). Even that short amount of processing time does wonders for me!

    • Erika Ensign says:

      That is a wise way to do it! I need to build in more time to think about things. It can be harder with social media because things like Twitter are such instant mediums. It pays to not let it be *that* instant!

  2. So true! The other thing to consider is that it’s not always a bad thing to share feedback right from the heart/gut. Diplomacy is great, but every once in awhile, blunt is good. :)

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