The MH guide to Twitter etiquette
'Ye's at it again. The egotist misinterpreted a tweet from marijuana enthusiast and Whoopie Golderg impersonator, Wiz Khalifa, and embarked upon a Twitter rant that shutdown the stoner and his stripper ex-wife. Unluckily for the rapper, said stripper then responded with a NSFW claim about Kanye's coital preferences and he resorted to deleting the posts and leaving Twitter with his fing... ahem... tail between his legs.
Online spats are a common phenomemon: Piers Morgan v Jeremy Clarkson, Calvin Harris v Zayn Malik, even Jame Blunt v everyone that's mean to him. But you don't have to be a celeb to come unstuck on social media, which is whereMHEditor, Toby Wiseman's, eight-point plan to spat-proof your account comes in:
In print, as in life, the preservation of style and etiquette is important. At least, it is to me. I am happy to be a pedant in this regard and confess to being easily exercised by complacency. Errors of syntax and grammar in the written word have me climbing the walls; when semi-colons are used where a full-grown one is clearly required, I reach for my revolver.
This personalbête noireis one of two things I share withThe Daily Telegraph’s Simon Heffer. (We also both live in Essex, a fact that, given the man’s propriety, never ceases to amaze me.) Heffer is renowned for his missives to staff regarding style, so much so theTelegraphhas recently placed his back catalogue of group emails online. Fortunately for his colleagues, Heffer’s response to written lapses are generally more trenchant than murderous. “Not for the first time, either,” he once complained, “we had an artist mixing paints on his palate, which must have been pretty unpleasant.”
Twitter, then, has a tendency to spin me out. I mean, OMG!!! Clearly it’s futile to lament the proper use of language in a medium designed for urgency and disposability. But surely there is still a place for politesse in the 140-character tweet. Imagine, for instance, a conversation between friends where one declares, apropos of nothing, that he has written a BRILLIANT song or penned an AMAZING poem, then promptly circulates copies around the table for everyone to read NOW. It just wouldn’t happen. And yet, in theory there’s no difference between this and the universally accepted practice of attaching photos/articles/swimming certificates to a tweet casually petitioning followers to take note. Twitter loves this kind of thing, however vainglorious it might seem when it’s spoken aloud. No one likes a smart arse, as the saying goes, unless he’s got over 1,000 followers.
This kind of immodesty blazes on Twitter all the time, a habit at its most unseemly when expressed in a voice befitting a 7-year-old. “Woop!!” you might conceivably read. “Just bin included inMH’s 100 Most Powerful List!” The big-me-up Tweet is nauseating enough. Nothing, though, tastes so bitter as the big-up-to-he-who-bigged-me-up note, a boast that goes by the name of the retweet, or RT. For example: “ RT @hangeron: Toby Wiseman included inMH’s 100 Most Powerful List.” Plainly, this is the equivalent of standing up in a crowded pub, pointing to a random stranger across the room, then telling your friends: “He thinks I’m pretty cool, you know.” To which, I’m like, whatevs. On Twitter, it seems, we all love to socially interact as long as it’s about ourselves.
So, come on. I like a good old ROFL as much as the next man, but let’s have a shred of self-respect here. This is my heartfelt plea. If all Tweeters stuck to the following rules then the online world would be a humbler place.
The eight golden rules of using Twitter
1.Never address followers as if they are an audience. It makes you sound like an ageing rock star or a pompous vicar.
2.Just because Twitter gives you a portal to celebs it doesn’t mean you should hassle them. You wouldn’t shout through their letterboxes, would you?
3.Reply to @ messages. If someone called you by your name in person, you wouldn’t ignore them, would you?
4.If you must #ff – that’s Follow Friday – then don’t recommend your friends.
5.Tweeteurs may not care much for spelin, but failure to hat-tip informants is considered theft. So don’t steal other people’s URLs, credit to the source.
6.For layfolk, the perfect ratio of followers to following is 2.8:1.
7.The overuse – or general usage in fact – of hashtags and asterisks to signify wry, non-verbal communication is a girl-only thing.
8.Don’t be a Twanker.
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