Think Before You Tweet

Twitter is a great place to say what you think before you’ve had a chance to think about it. Oh, how true that seems to be every moment of every day in my Tweet stream. At any given moment, I can scan through Twitter and find things that make my eyes bug out of my head. My mouth will drop open in that “WTF?” shape and my head begins to spin. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’ve seen the Tweets that make you wonder if the person who typed it has temporarily lost their mind.

People spew things on Twitter before they stop to think about what they are typing. As we all know – once you put it out there, it’s there for good. Deleting your inane or drunken comments doesn’t really work. Someone – somewhere – has already read your message, and they likely took a screenshot to prove it. Twitter – and all social media sites – would be a much nicer place if users thought twice (or even once in some cases!) before they post.

Quite often, people try to be funny online. We will send out a quick Tweet to share something we find humor in, only to have people asking us what the hell we’re talking about. Sometimes, we may even have followers who take offense. They don’t get our humor. Our inside jokes simply don’t work in a medium such as this. Before you attempt to amuse your community, ask yourself if your message is funny in general – or just to you. Is it something that others will understand and appreciate the humor in?

Another culprit is anger – too often I see people vent their frustrations through their Tweet streams. Hell, I’ll admit it – I’ve done it a time or two, as well. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to do this… sometimes it can actually be effective. Before you bang out your mood via the keyboard, take a moment to compose yourself and your missive. Is your anger directed at a company or product? Make sure your message states what, who and why. Tell them you’re angry – but make sure you tell them why. This helps your followers as well as perhaps the company the words are aimed at.

If you need to carry on an actual conversation with another person, Twitter isn’t really the place for it. One-on-one communication still works best in other places, such as your email, an IM client or even a telephone. People will go crazy trying to figure out what you’re talking about, who it’s directed to and why the heck you aren’t including them.

It’s simple, really: just think before you Tweet. Your followers will thank you for it.