I joined The Twitter in July 2015. It was four months after I started the blog and I was launching a social media reach – picture How to Grow Your Blog in Twelve Easy Steps and you’ve got the idea. Considering Twitter hit the scene in 2006 I wasn’t exactly cutting edge but whatever, I’d joined the 21st century. I was tweeting.
I was also laying low. I promoted RFTM, retweeted stuff, and networked with other writers but I wasn’t exactly trailblazing out there. Mama always said to read a room before you jump in.
So here we are, four years later, and I was feeling it, I was ready to speak my piece. And I can only describe my virgin commentary choice as akin to cliff diving. Into rough waters. In January.
I was looking at a big account – and by “big” I mean 295,000+ followers – that posted a hugely popular video (a topic for another day) and I knew my opinion would be unpopular. The kind of unpopular that lands you in the 5% category, but it was important so I put my comment out there and let the chips fall. And boy, did they fall. So here we go.
Lessons learned from a week in the Twitter maelstrom.
1. Some people are super angry. Like, SUPER angry. Come out swinging as hard as they can kinda angry. Sidestep that.
2. Others were genuinely interested in my point of view and asked questions to follow up. Always answer those.
3. Snap judgements get people in just as much trouble online as they do in real life.
4. General impressions to the contrary, there are actually people capable of civil discourse on Twitter.
5. I was called a buzzkill and a hypocrite. Also bitter and looking for things to be pissed about. One particularly detailed tweet called me corrupt and unbelieving per the Epistle of Titus because nothing says Twitter smackdown like a good bible quote.
6. Other negative replies roughly translated to, “Jesus, lady, get the fuck out of here so we can enjoy our daily dose of cute.”
7. I don’t respond well to being called Darlin’ or sweetie yet it’s possible to take a deep breath and keep scrolling. You do not have to take the bait.
8. Sometimes there are people who need to hear others stick up for them. Sometimes they’re tired of fighting and need you to take the hit. Do it.
9. If you’re not an expert in the field, come with sources. People can disagree with research but it’s harder to blame your opinion on being a harpy bitch when you’ve got references.
10. It can be hard to tell who’s open and whose tweets will devolve into furious mud slinging. Know when to engage and when to let it go. There’s that old saying: you can lead a horse to water but nobody says you have to stand there getting beaten to a pulp while he drinks. Or something like that.