Think Before You Tweet

(How Twitter is Making Me a Better Person)

Anyone who has spent a few minutes scanning my Twitter feed knows I have a tendency to over share. Granted, there are many out there who share much more and are more vulgar with their language, but I tend to just blurt out the first thing on my mind anyway and if I happen to have my iPhone on me or be near the computer, it goes out to the world.

Make no mistake though, I am fully aware that every tweet sent is out there for the world to see, and as such there’s a certain amount of self-editing that occurs before I hit send. Most of the time it’s a self serving exercise, but regardless of the motivation behind the censorship, it still occurs, and that’s probably a good thing.

However, on Sunday night I got a glimpse into my inner self that indicated there was something more going on than just Internet self-preservation. I was watching the Oscars, sitting with my laptop, and waiting for just the right moment to toss out a zinger and hopefully snag a few re-tweets. My initial attempt at mocking the “Who are you wearing?” red carpet question was a bit of a dud (“I’m not wearing any pants. Underwear by Joe Boxer“) so I was getting worried that maybe I just didn’t have my A-game that night.

Then just as I finished typing something else I thought twice. I cleared the text and refreshed my screen, and immediately read a tweet just sent out by Neil Hedley (“Turning off the Twitter machine for now. The hypocrisy is becoming intolerable. #bullying #Oscars“). Apparently he was taking exception to some of the remarks being put out into the Twitterverse and was fed up. He went on to blog about it here.

Apparently my think twice moment came at the same time as the straw was breaking Neil’s back. Right before I hit send I thought to myself, how would I explain this to my 9 year old daughter?, and I couldn’t think of anything I could say to her that would justify what I was about to tweet. Experience and conscience tells me that in cases like that it’s probably not something that should be done. So I didn’t tweet it.

Granted, that is a far cry from not even thinking it in the first place, but it’s a really important first step. As my personal mission statement for 2012 goes…

Be better, not perfect.

Neil blogged about how he’s lost respect for some of his friends and colleagues who partook in the Twitter celebrity slam fest Sunday night, and though I only know him through a few Twitter interactions and one meeting a few nights ago at his book launch, I can say quite honestly that I hope I’m not one of the people he was talking about.

Twitter is more than just what someone had for lunch or what they did at 4:20 that afternoon. If you’re paying attention it can change the way you think. It certainly has for me, on more than one occasion.

I’m glad I didn’t send out that tweet, and I’m glad Twitter has people like Neil.

4 thoughts on “Think Before You Tweet

  1. Andrew F. Butters

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog Suzie. Even if it is SPAM and all you did was cut and paste into my blog and type in the security captcha, you still took the time to do all that just to post some sorry piece of shit exercise link on my site. Have you even SEEN pictures of me? I'm 6' 2\” and weigh about 160 pounds. I need your exercise machine about as much as I need another pair of 4\” stillettos and fishnet stockings.

  2. susan

    Thanks for your observations, Andrew. I think the concept of thinking before tweeting is solid and noteworthy. The concept of thinking before writing anything on a social networking site should be considered a best practice more readily applied.

  3. Andrew F. Butters

    Thanks for stopping by Susan! Unlike SPAM bot Suzie up there your comments are genuinely appreciated :)Twitter has actually made me re-consider many things. I think I have hit the backspace key more frequently than any other since I started really using Twitter. In real life, I can't say I filter as well. It's a work in progress.


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