It’s a small world. Tweet appropriately

30Dec10

I just learned an embarrassing little lesson that I should have known already: Twitter is a small world. It’s fun to serve up “witty” 140-character takedowns of stuff you don’t particularly like, but if you’re not careful, you might very well be slagging someone you know and like without realizing it.

I just did that this morning. I saw a short film on the web that I didn’t particularly like. I actually engaged in a reasoned critique of it with a colleague over email, but on Twitter I just barfed out a venomous little mal mot that wasn’t terribly constructive. About an hour later I received an email from a friend asking me what I thought of his new piece and would I mind giving it some love on Twitter… the same film I had just knee-jerk dismissed. Time to invent a new hashtag! #eggonface

I apologized to him; he hasn’t responded yet, so I don’t know how badly (or if) his feelings were hurt. But I feel pretty ashamed. Hell, I know what it’s like to put a lot of creative energy into something and offer it up to the teeming digi-masses in hopes of pleasing them. There are already enough jerkwads online with nothing better to say about someone’s work than “nice job fag!!1” Why add to it?

This isn’t to say I (or anyone) should water down honest opinions, but it is possible to be constructive and nuanced in 140 characters. It’s not as easy. But it’s surely possible. Or if it isn’t, there’s always your blog… or — ka-razy though this might sound — just keeping your opinion to yourself.

I’ll certainly be considering that as a New Year’s Resolution…



One Response to “It’s a small world. Tweet appropriately”

  1. There has to be literature out there about how the disintermediating effects of digital media make us more likely to be assholes online. I cringe every time I think of the handful of flip emails I’ve sent over the past year that were followed by my having to plaster over whatever goodwill I’d eradicated in the process of sending them.



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