The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Using Twitter correctly: listening to your inner publicist

The big three social networks can be neatly divided by function. Facebook would be the one we use to show off what we’re doing and connect with friends from high school. Instagram is where you post pictures from your childhood and recent meals. And Twitter is where you spout off your fleeting thoughts and passing emotions. It’s the last one that can also be the most socially deadly.

In recent years, as Twitter has grown, it has become a more and more integral part of the typical young adult’s life. We follow our favorite celebrities, comedians, joke accounts and our friends to see what they’re thinking and dealing with. And as a user, often times people feel required to tweet about a split second thought before they miss the thought or emotion. That’s where people get into trouble. While Twitter allows for a small statement of your current status as a human, it can lead to much larger unintended consequences.

Celebrities are often our immediate go-to example when we discuss social faux pas, mainly because it is so incredibly public when they screw up. The largest Twitter based scandal in recent months has been Amanda Bynes. Once an incredibly famous youth star, her painfully public breakdown has taken place almost entirely on Twitter. She would post comments on her nose job, obsession with plastic surgery and current dramatic diet, which stirred a lot of Twitter based fights. Twitter allowed her to post every thought and idea she had, which in turn made her publicly become a terrible role model for the children who used to watch her shows and movies. While her run-ins with the law did not help, her ability to spew off arrogant thoughts shamed her more than her criminal record could have. She developed an entirely new, and terrible, public image for herself as a crazy person, which has dashed her hopes for any future work, and she may never get back to her previous popularity.

For most college students this example seems a bit outlandish, because if you were famous, you would listen to your freaking publicist instead of going publicly crazy. But there is one part of Twitter that everyone is guilty of dipping into, and that is the subtweet. A subtweet, or subliminal tweet, is the use of Twitter to describe a particular issue or person without using their name. If you’re in a fight with your friend and you can’t help but type an obscure comment about it; it’s okay, we’ve all done it. Often times, we use this as a way to inconspicuously contact them, be it an ex or a best friend. But when you feel this urge, it’s time to stop and think. Why can’t you say this to their face, or even in a text? If you can’t say it to them, maybe you shouldn’t tweet it.

Another issue with Twitter is that everything goes all the way out into Internet land and never comes back. I personally don’t know how to use the Internet well enough to get something back; I can’t even delete a tag properly on Facebook. So when a tweet goes out, and you think back and instantly regret it, it’s essentially too late. As Anthony Weiner learned in 2011 when he accidently tweeted a scandalous picture of himself to his mistress, deleting a tweet doesn’t mean it went away. A reporter was about to retweet the picture instantly, and it was out there forever. Eventually he lost his job for it, and if a U.S. representative can’t get enough people to make it go away, you can’t either.

Twitter is meant to post funny pictures and tweet awkward things that happen to you around campus or in life. Instead of treating Twitter like a high school bathroom wall, treat it with the respect of a yearbook you want to keep forever. It can be really easy to alienate yourself after a rough time with a bad tweet, or embarrass yourself by airing some personal dirty laundry. While the same can be done on other services, the immediacy and quickness of the 140-character post can mean much more. Always have a friend proofread; nothing is more embarrassing than a spelling or grammatical error.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Using Twitter correctly: listening to your inner publicist