Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Not to Tweet II: Political Edition

or, Yes you can undermine all of your credibility in 140 characters.

Rabble, rabble rabble!
You can feel it in the earth. You can feel it in the water. You can certainly smell it in the air: another presidential election season is upon these United States. Millions of concerned citizens have risen from their slumbers to carry forth the sacred fire of democracy by making room for The Daily Show on their DVRs. Yet with this great power comes great risk: to tweet or not to tweet?

The choice is yours, but as a courtesy I note the following cautions which when unheeded have caused me to think twice about someone's intellect or character.

10. Approval/Disapproval

Don't express approval or disapproval of something without any explanation. Persuade by reason not character, or you'll sound like a pompous fool. Don't assume people agree with you, even about fundamentals. You don't know why they're following you.

9. NOW!

Precious little must needs be done right now. I know you mean that this election is important, but let's reserve the word "now" for referring to "right this very moment" and not "this year."

Also, I know the election is important. I know you care. Don't over do it.

8. How __________ can win.

It is presumptuous to offer unsolicited advice. If you want to help a candidate's campaign, do it. If they don't want to appoint you chief strategist, well, that's tough luck. Offering advice to them publicly and without having been solicited is tantamount to saying, "Here's what they should do if they want to win which they clearly don't because they didn't ask me but I'm going to tell you anyway because I care that much."

Also, no one cares about your strategy of using Fig Newtons to help Candidate X win. If you're doing something, just do it. Tell other people what you are doing by all means, but don't tell them to do it.

7. Invidious References

Let us try and avoid references to communists, fascists, and the chancellor of Germany from 1933-1945.

6. "We"

I'm not necessarily included in "we" unless you mean Americans, and if you do mean Americans just say "Americans." Otherwise, saying "we" makes me feel like you're trying to include me in your group when I didn't ask. Again, you don't know why they're following you so don't alienate them by being presumptuous.

5. Change your avatar.

Nothing says, "I just started paying attention" more than changing your avatar to include a political message.

Also, we know what the candidates look like. Don't put his face on anything, ever, under any circumstances. In fact, don't put anything political on clothing of any kind. Buttons are the only acceptable form of advertising, and you only get to wear one.

4. Use the actual campaign slogan.

I know what the candidate says. Repeating it does not make you a concerned citizen or a reporter, it makes you a mouthpiece.

3. Blaming X

"Oh if only it weren't for the Democrats/Republicans/Klingons everything would be fine" translates into "If only everyone agreed with me everything would be fine."

2. Polls

I don't care what 45% of ambidextrous people, 55% of long-beaked jackdaws, or "most of" any group thinks. Admittedly, though polls can be relevant to a particular point. Use caution (and reason.) Also, on election day, I don't need a play-by-play account of the tallying of votes. Let's all just wait and find out together, shall we?

1. "Just Vote"

Please don't tell me that you don't care whom I vote for but that you "just want me to vote." You do care and you should, but my dog won't necessarily get to that last leg of the race. If he doesn't, I lose. I might decide to pick the next best candidate and I might not. If not, I lose. Please leave me alone.

Lastly, standard rules of tweeting still apply, especially Standard Rule #1.

No comments:

Post a Comment