If you are the serious type who cares about healthy conversations online, you need to go through these ideas, commit to them and that way you can better enjoy your time on Twitter/social media.
- Create your own space:Be intentional about who you follow. If you are really picky, be intentional about who follows you by using the ‘private’ option for your account. That way, potential followers need your permission to follow you. If you have control over this, you may not even need the next 6 skills to get by.
- Know When To End An Argument before it starts: Okay. The truth is, controlled environment or not, once your account starts dealing with thousands of followers and/or mentions, you already know control is already lost. Once people are lost in a crowd, it is always very hard trusting them to behave in a way that’d make their parents proud. You have to recognize those who are there just to disagree with everything you have to say, even when you mistakenly call them “rational.” Once you make an assertion and you see them mention you, your best response to such people? Ignore them. They just argue for the sake of it, not for the sake of improving the conversation or learning anything new. If you tweet, “I don’t like waking up before 8am on Sundays,” they are likely to go, “why are you discriminating against Sunday? Is it because Sundays are Christians?” You dig? No. It doesn’t make sense? Yes. That’s the point.
- See the end from the beginning: Before you send a private message, imagine that message being leaked. Picture the effect on you. Then send it, edit it, or delete it. It is not just about trusting the recipient, things happen, people lose their phones, phones get hacked. So before you send those photos of yours, are you sure they are cool enough to be seen on all the blogs? Lol. Whatever. You got the point.
- Avoid conversations that never end; You must recognize such conversations and make up your mind not to contribute to wasting a limited resource; time. Don’t join conversations on whether the wife should pound yam or cook for the husband. Avoid conversations like who’s better? Messi or Ronaldo? Pele or Maradona? Except you have the time to burn, do not join these arguments because they never end. They are pointless because they are based on emotional points more than they are based on statistics, facts or rationality. You can join an Arsenal v Tottenham argument, it is already a dead one, Tottenham always finish behind Arsenal.
- Read conversations through; never join a conversation after seeing just one tweet. I know most of the above points have been about others being trolls and often irrational, you don’t want to be that person. So, do your best to understand the conversation before you add your own “I too know” to it.
- Except if necessary, avoid changing your handle: More often than not, people lose the spark and brand value once they change their handle from the already recognized (and trusted?) one. If you must change your handle at all, at least announce the change to your followers. I find myself following accounts today that I continue to ask myself, ‘when did I follow this one?’ Trust me, not because someone went from ‘smart’ to ‘used to be smart,’ they just happened to change their accounts without letting us their ‘subscribers’ know.
- Unfollow, mute, or block: I used to block trolls, not anymore. I refuse to acknowledge the existence of a troll. When you mute them, they are not aware that you are aware of their existence. And by muting them, you keep them out of your space. They still mention you, but you no longer see it. Except you decide to. When you block them, some of them even use the report as a badge of honour, that you took a second of your life to block them! An account I already muted sent a nasty tweet my way but I didn’t get to see it until another account I follow added <<<This>>> to the tweet. I fixed the problem by unfollowing the said account, then muted it too. I forgot to inform the bearer to return the favour by unfollowing me. They can always return the favour at their convenience. Life is easier when you choose what you want to see and what you don’t want to. See, on many counts, social media is like the physical space? Would you argue with an irrational person out on the streets with thousands watching? So, why do we do this every minute online?
There is more but if you know the above, you will always be fine on Twitter – at least – and you can always find your way around social media once you clean up your space, away from trolls and irrational trouble makers. The job of spreading liberty, freedom and love around the world does not have to come at the expense of your own peace of mind and happiness.
© JJ. Omojuwa