When I first joined twitter (Sept 08) I wasn’t really sure what I was letting myself in for! I knew less than ten people on there, wasn’t sure of what the point was and wasn’t really sure of how to use it or behave. I guess in most situations in life you have some pre-expectation of how to behave, or someone teaches you the rules, or you sit back and observe and figure out for yourself. I’m not sure that really works with twitter, I certainly didn’t start to ‘get it’ until I threw myself into it, started following random people and most importantly starting talking to people.
Quite early on I had a discussion with myself about what I’d ‘use’ twitter for (back in the day when I didn’t understand better) and decided that I’d keep it purely for personal use…oh how naive I hear you cry, I know, I know, but at the time I thought I should compartmentalise my life and lots of people had told me the benefits of twitter as a professional tool. I wasn’t sure about that, and I guess I thought if I kept it as my personal account it took the pressure off a little, I could just be me without worrying about people liking me or not and I didn’t have to ‘act’ professional or worry about censoring myself! Anyway I’m off topic here, I sat down to blog about a comment I got yesterday and this is just context.
The context is that I actively decided to just be me on twitter, 100% full on me. So what you see is entirely what you get! I’m all about the honesty, one of my greatest strengths and weaknesses is my honesty…which on occasion (probably too often to be ideal) translates into abruptness.
I wouldn’t say anything on twitter that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face – a good rule of thumb I find and I really do use twitter as a mindless stream of thought. Sometimes I go to tweet something and stop myself because I think it *really* could be of no interest to anyone else, or I think it’s a little too self-indulgent, or occasionally if I’m in a stinking bad mood with life I might not tweet about it because I don’t want to put that at anyone else’s feet; also occasionally I think there are some things I’d rather keep personal to myself. But this rarely happens tho, I guess my default setting is to just share it.
I have taken a similar approach to this blog – it’s not dressed up, it’s not pretty, it’s not measured or too considered or too reflective, it’s just me and my ramblings, warts and all. I do sometimes worry that my posts are a little too self-indulgent and self-interested but on the whole I forgive myself that with the realisation that I’m not forcing anyone to read it and it’s personal not professional etc.
As a child my dad would often be telling me to ‘engage brain before mouth’….I guess my natural tendency is to respond first, reflect after. As I’ve got older I hope/think I’ve got better at stopping first and thinking of what impact my words will have before blurting them out – not that I’m perfect and I’m sure lots of you can cite examples where I’ve given a below par performance in that regard! So I was a little surprised at the comment I got yesterday about one of my tweets. The person commented that the tweet contained a little too much information for their liking 😮 They weren’t bitching or having a go, it was purely a factual statement about the image that the tweet conjured up for them. The tweet was one that I just threw out there, you can read it here.
So I just put that out there, I didn’t give it any real thought, I’d received good news and wanted to share it with the world. I guess I’d not engaged enough to sit down and think about that image or whether it might be too much information for people, I just tweeted it. Ironically I have given lots of thought about whether to blog about my mate’s IVF journey, it’s one of those stories which I feel belongs to her and her husband, it’s not mine to share…and yet I didn’t think twice about tweeting that news. It’s a weird one and one I’m sure I’ll come back and ponder. I’m confident that a lot of people who complain about the mundane and meaningless nature of twitter are really taking umbrage at people like me who rarely stop to think first….and to be honest I have some sympathy with that view.
For now I’m kind of interested in how other people approach twitter/blogging/online communication more generally. Do people stop and consider before tweeting? Or do you not worry about it? I’m fairly sure that there is no right or wrong answer on this and it’ll come down to personal preference but I’d love to hear your views.