How not to be “that guy” on Twitter

by azaleon

Twitter is the best buffet I know.

It is an all-you-can-eat feast of information, where you can consume as much or as little as you wish.  But no matter what your Twitter follower/following ratio is, we have all succumb, at one point or another, to tweet idiocy. A moment when the allure of a completely uncensored, unfiltered megaphone is too much and we speak into it.

But who among the huddled masses actually has the responsibility of being a “quality” tweeter? Well, in the context of Aviously, it’s the media (and politicians and important people, but they’re not important here).

So, here is a set of rules to avoid being an annoying media member on Twitter:

1)   THE Golden Rule

Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want to read, yourself. Ask yourself, would I follow me (“I’d follow me hard”)? Essentially if that tweet you’re thinking of doesn’t benefit your followers by offering new, interesting information or humor, it’s probably not worth their time. Granted, “interesting” and “funny” are subjective, but a media member should know their audience. For example, Andy Staples is a college football writer for Sports Illustrated, who frequently tweets about bacon, AKA the ambrosia of the gods (still not kosher). Bacon is not college football, it’s not even a sport (or is it?!?), but bacon and great barbeque is something that appeals to his followers and something they have come to expect from Staples. But what goes against this rule? Read on…

2) Do. Not. Tweet. Compliments.

If you follow me (and if you’re reading this, chances are, you probably do), you know this is a big pet peeve of mine. Ok, media member, you broke news, wrote a great feature, nailed that game wrap, whatever the case, folks are tweeting you praise and sharing your content. Good for you. Pat yourself on the back, grab a beer and let the new followers, mentions and retweets roll. But see those two little arrows chasing eachother? Don’t touch them. Good God, don’t click them. You know you did a good job, others agree and that should be enough. Your followers don’t need to read you massaging your own ego by digitally shouting, “HEY! LOOK AT ME! I’M REALLY GOOD AT WHAT I DO.” Yea, looking like this.

3) Responses are not always meant to be shared with everyone.

You have a decent amount of followers. Sometimes you say dumb things and people want to debate, sometimes people want to ask you questions. When responding to these individuals, please, please do not put your response in front of the original tweet, thus allowing all your followers to see, unless it follows the Golden Rule.

Allow me to explain: A tweet will not show up on your timeline if you are not following the person mentioned (@’d) at the beginning of the tweet. However, if somebody begins a response with a period or their own response at the beginning of a tweet, it will show up on all of their followers’ timelines.

So if somebody tweets at you a relevant question (“how will IU work out its scholarship situation?”) your response should precede the question because it will contribute to all of your followers. However, if the question/comment is something stupid like, “What’d you eat for lunch?” or “Do you know what an idiot you are?” it’s best to respond to that person directly instead of share immense useless knowledge with your followers. Or you could just ignore them, which leads to…

4) Learn to pick your battles

Throughout my time as men’s basketball columnist for the Indiana Daily Student, I got shit on…a lot. Sometimes it was warranted, other times completely random, but either way, I learned to handle it. If you’re a good enough media type, there will be people wanting to piss you off just for the hell of it, which sounds fun if doing so has no bearing on your career.

So you learn to pick your battles. If some random fan brings up a legitimate point that counters your own, share it. To me, Twitter is a great open forum, so I tend to retweet those who disagree with me to show a different perspective. Without personally insulting somebody, continue to debate them and see where it goes, even the most know-it-all media members can learn a lot from their followers. But if there’s somebody out there who is just trying to get you riled up, best to just ignore it or joke around with them. Remember, never go to intellectual battle with an unarmed opponent. Knowing your opponent also means not going into a battle you can’t win, which is why I didn’t even touch this.

That all being said,who doesn’t love a good Twitter battle between media?