Monday, December 26, 2011

10 Things to Remember Before You Tweet

Having just "unfollowed" someone on Twitter for the first time I thought I would share a few thoughts on what drove me to unfollow a blogger whose writing I often read and liked but whose Tweets had me regularly thinking what an unpleasant presence he had become in my feed. (The horror, I know.) So without further delay:

10. Don't act surprised or exasperated.
  • Superficial surprise is annoying. It is impossible to convey genuine surprise without context, context which cannot be provided in the space of a tweet. Likewise, avoid the "If. . . I'm going to. . .!!!!!" formula. 
9. Don't repeat yourself.
  • Unless it is the schtick of your feed, once is enough. If you're just being yourself on Twitter and you are always yammering on about something, you're annoying.
8. Watch your language.
  • Salty talk is seldom appropriate and even less often necessary. It is also hard to utilize in print and without context. 
7. Just eat.
  • I don't care what it is or where or with whom you are eating. It is not going to inspire me to get same and it's not going to help me prepare it either. Just eat.
6. People who. . .
  • Reasoning from the specific to the general is a long road fraught with problems. It is very unlikely that "All of the people who. . ." do anything, all do anything else. I know this is an exaggeration, but it makes you look shallow. Life is filled with little frustrations. 
5. Watch your feuding.
  • There have been some great public feuds: Cicero vs. Antony, Hanslick vs. Pohl, et cetera. Reflect wisely on yourself, your opponent, the topic, the occasion, and the venue before getting uppity.
4. Stupid!
  • This is the lowest form of insult and says a great deal, all bad, about your character. 
3. Stand there don't just do something.
  • Everything you do does not add up to something significant because they all happened to you. (See Aristotle's Poetics if you think that's harsh.)
2. Not really. Go do something.
  • The only thing worse than excessively writing about what you are doing is writing about not doing anything. If you are tired, sleep. If you are awake, do something. 
1. It is not so clever. Ever.
  • The Muses one day came to Ovid and made him an offer. They would make three of his verses of his own choosing immortal if he would let them choose three to cut. Thrilled, the poet left to reflect on his work. A short while later he came back with his choicest lines. The Muses too had their selected three to cut, the same three, in fact, that Ovid had selected as his best.

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