I love being on Twitter, absolutely love it. And there are so many different kinds of Tweeters and reasons for Tweeting – my presence is partly for the sheer entertainment (sometimes I have laughed so hard I thought I’d die), partly to keep up with blog friends, partly to catch up with news and opinion and partly to flag up my blog.
After two years of Tweeting and having gathered nearly 11,000 followers and sending 37,000 tweets (eek) I think I’m in a good place to catch the zeitgeist of Twitter.
It can be a truly supportive, embracing and friendly place – the people I’ve met via Twitter in the main have been charming and lovely. When we’ve met up in ‘real life’, it has like we’ve known each other for nearly ever. Conversation just flows. There isn’t anything else like it and I feel very blessed for the Twitter friends I’ve made.
But, there’s also a different culture on Twitter that if you get caught up in can make it a hellish place. With so many personalities at play there will inevitably be disagreements but Twitter is no place to air them. The minute you step outside the comfort zone of others you can turn into a target. Watching others publicly announce they’re ‘switching to DM’ after taking sides in a spat is akin to a playground huddle, where you know everyone’s whispering about you. There is no more miserable state, other than in the playground I guess. Only this isn’t childish stuff. You can bully by exclusion very easily on Twitter and you can behave in a way where you don’t need courage to vocalise your thoughts – you just need a clique and your DM timeline. The difference between a clique and a friendly group? The public exclusion of others, the ganging up and the silent treatment.
Sometimes people need to validate themselves and there is nothing more boosting to self-esteem than a busy Twitter timeline where everyone is your ‘friend’. But Twitter isn’t like that for everyone. Just as in life, a pack can spot the weak. Not everyone knows how to behave; you have to kind of learn your way around Tweeting somewhat and it’s easy to spot a Twitter newbie by their clanging errors in trying to assert their personality. I certainly haven’t behaved myself over the years but I wouldn’t say now on Twitter what I used to say back when I first started. The Tweeters I gravitate to mostly are beauty bloggers, the occasional fashionista (male and female) and other writers, but that doesn’t exclude people from all walks of life – I’d never have access to their thoughts and opinions anywhere else. It’s a fantastic, challenging and energising place to be when the mood is sweet; when it isn’t it just ain’t pretty at all.
It’s all too easy to vent on Twitter, all too simple to throw a few unwise words out into the ether and all too easy to forget that the people you meet on Twitter aren’t (usually) your real-life friends. They’ve got no vested interest in you, no common history and no emotional bond. Twitter is the perfect place for surface interests, easy chatter, sharing and fun, if that’s how it’s turned out for you.
Don’t forget though, that for all the people that do chat with you, there are lots who literally never speak so you are barely aware they are there. If you have a lot of followers, it’s impossible to keep up with who follows just to watch what you are saying. They’re gathering opinion, checking out the conversations and looking out for anything positive or negative about that could be useful in data. Personally, I can’t bear a lurker.. in my case they are often PRs and brands just checking up or checking out what’s going on but you cannot capture the true Twitter unless you are an active participant.
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I’m not prepared to say anything really about this other than it’s a great post with sage advice.
Love you xx
All very true. I have learned so much from Twitter it is hard to imagine how I ever got to know anything before it. And how so many people can squeeze so much humour into 160 characters always amazes me.
Hi, find this post really apt as I am just new to twitter and it is really hard to figure out the etiquette at first!
Also, not many people I know in ‘real life’ use it so it’s a totally new experience to communicate with people you would never talk to on, say, facebook.
It’s a great though, but worryingly addictive…
I love Twitter and prefer it to Facebook. I can’t say I’ve ever had any run-ins with the type of cyber meanies you talk about in the post. Perhaps I’ve been lucky. If there’s one negative about technology, it’s opened the door to a lot more destructive behaviour over a wider plain. There’s no excuse for it. End of.
I was literally going to write a post about this very thing today.
I am now on private so I can see the lurkers. Too many people follow you just to get info that they can then use in DM bitching sessions, at least on private you can see quickly which groups follow just to bitch. However being on private is like partially being involved in twitter as you cant talk to everyone so its annoying.
I despise conversations that go like this:
“I hate a certain blogger”
“not causing drama”
Do people DM about you?
Very true, I’ve notice some school like behaviour from some people that I follow but I now tend to either not read their posts or unfollow them completely.
I find Twitter a fantastic place for networking, like you I get a lot of laughs from posts and have found some amazing blogs to read (like yours!)
I love twitter and have a group I happily call my twitterfamily. I have seen the negative side to it, and you do need tough skin sometimes. But usually it’s a great place to be.
Indeed Jane, indeed! If not for Tweeter, I wouldn’t have started blogging and met many, including yourself! So all in all good. I do agree that yes it is a very easy place for people, grown ups mind, to behave like right old idiots and school kids. To which I say come on, let’s all just play nice and get along. I try to practice that in tweeter and in real life and hopefully it helps maintain a generally positive vibe with people I meet both professionally and virtually. xx
I love reading this post, so so true. I adore Twitter but so many of my friends think it’s just weird & is just like facebook statuses which it sooo isn’t. I love chatting to like-minded people who are mad about make-up & blogging which I just can’t do in the ‘real’ world with my ‘real’ friends xx
Great post! Having experienced the good and one brief flurry of the bad on twitter I know exactly where you are coming from. I am still not completely comfortable with the etiquette of twitter and just as in real life am loathe to leap into a conversation between people that I follow but who don’t follow me and so don’t know me from adam, but of course they never will if I don’t take that leap! I am slowly getting braver!
hi, BBB iwould not want to join twitter,it sounds not to friendly.Would rather stick to beauty blogs,love reading yours look forward to your daily chat & advice.Icheck if i am going to purchase something beauty wise to see if you have reviewed it,if so i usually take your opinion which i believe to be straight forward & honest.you never say it’s going to change your live just it’s going to make it easier, and hopefully slightly better, so thankyou BBB also your make me laugh X
So true, especially about a certain group of beauty bloggers… I should BITE my tongue really.
Totally agree with all that’s been said. I am not a cliquey person in real life nor on twitter and it make me uncomfortable to get too wrapped up with certain ‘groups’ of twitter friends but so too it makes me feel uncomfortable when i feel my input to conversations are ignored or dismissed.
On the brand side of things – some brands really still don’t get it at all – it is about the participation like you say otherwise they will never reach their social media audience nor will they understand the importance of it.
I do agree with all what you have written. but there are alot of friendly silent tweeters like me. I love and follow you and many other beauty and fashion experts but i dont tweet i just check whats new and whats available..not all silent users are mean.