Ah Twitter. One of the internet’s proudest inventions or a cesspit for bullying, sexism, and racism? The beauty of it is you decide! If you want to be an alt-right troll, then you do you, boo*.
*Within reason. Milo Yiannopoulos has shown the limits of being outrageous for outrageousness’ sake when the social media platform first removed his verified status, then banned him. If you do happen to tend on that side, you could go join floundering Twitter alternative, Parler News.
But let’s say you want to use Twitter for the same purposes as others. Which is, to browse news and memes or to have a professional presence, a bit like a LinkedIn squeezed into 280 characters.
Do make sure your username makes sense. If you happen to be a bit like Captain Holt here (see below clip) and think that random numbers make up the best username, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. As Holt discovers, he gets banned…because his profile seems like a bot! So act like a human, unless you’re a bot, in which case, please stop acting like humans. It’s scary.
Don’t make your Twitter handle something vulgar. It might be a bit awkward if future employers see your Twitter handle used to be full of expletives.
Do bear the character limit in mind. It’s tiring for people to have to read an entire thread because of the character limits. If you do feel the need to write an essay, either link to it or write it in your Notes app and post a screenshot a la Ariana Grande. Or, if you’re pursuing the idea of having a thread, please number your Tweets.
Don’t subtweet. For the unaware, subtweeting is “the act of mentioning a person on Twitter™ without using the symbol @ before their name so they do not see what you have written:
Subtweeting is the internet equivalent of talking about someone behind their back.” (c/o Cambridge Dictionary) Whether you’re subtweeting your boss, your mum, or your former best friend, just don’t do it. You don’t come off well and it’s just drama for the sake of drama. Okay, if you’re a 13-year-old, by all means, go ahead and subtweet, but you’ll cringe in a few years time.
Do remember that the internet never deletes things. Up until 2018, the US Library of Congress archived every single Tweet in existence. Whilst the LOC has now seen the limitations of that endeavour, your Tweets will be found elsewhere online so think before you have a massive Twitter tirade.
Don’t engage in a Twitter argument. A) It is pretty difficult to be succinct in 280 characters and B) impossible to keep track of if you’re tweeting the same argument over multiple Tweets. Okay, some people obviously enjoy a juicy Twitter argument, but maybe being the observer is better than being the arguer in question.
Do fact check. If you suddenly see that #RIPMariahCarey is trending, then don’t take it at face value! A number of prominent people have “died” on Twitter without there being the slightest hint of truth.
Do block Donald Trump if you are not a MAGA type person and don’t have the tolerance to read his Tweets.
Don’t look at the replies if you're inundated with them. Try to keep yourself sane!