Twitter is an amazing tool. If you’re a regular tweeter, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it, as it provided you with an easy way to chat to friends, keep up on the news, and get collectively angry with millions of strangers. Brilliant – but it’s that last attribute that is slightly less fun when you’re not part of the mob, and are instead incurring their wrath. So here’s the Top 5 things you should NEVER talk about on Twitter.
The way Twitter is structured – with short messages, en masse – has meant that rather than just being a replacement for texting or instant messaging, it has changed the nature of how we communicate and the speed at which things can happen. Like never before, it has managed to mobile groups of people involved in a cause. And I’m not just talking about the Arab Spring. In this country, it is perhaps largely responsible for the burgeoning ‘fourth wave’ of feminism.
As with all intellectual movements, as ideas are thrashed about, it can become a volatile mixture. Whilst I imagine most right-thinking people would identify as a feminist, Twitter does a good job at exposing the various complexities associated with the term.
For example, and to hugely simplify, there’s a huge diversity of views under the “feminist” label – everything from a basic “thinking women should receive equal treatment” or that Page 3 isn’t a very good idea, to the more, umm… militant side of things. After spending a few weeks on Twitter you’ll surely find yourself discovering new words and concepts like “intersectionality”, “checking your privilege” and “cis gender”.
Unfortunately, whilst Twitter is great for discovering new ideas, it’s not terribly brilliant at discussing complex ones – and certain sections of the Twitter Feminists seem particularly keen on piling on any perceived infraction against their particular strand of feminist dogma. Of course – most people are fine, but due to the way Twitter is structured, the loudest and angriest participants get the most attention – and like moths to a flame, we can’t help but be drawn in.
It’s not just feminism – any contentious subject will bring out the wolves. Atheism and religion, Israel/Palestine, and other weighty topics will soon have you wondering if talking about these things on Twitter are more trouble than they’re worth.
Twitter is viewed by some people in the media as the saviour of live TV. In a fragmented media landscape, where all sorts of different devices and services are competing for our eyeballs, no longer do we have to all watch the same thing at the same time. The power of Twitter though has made live TV important again – now watching the X-Factor, Question Time or Sherlock as it goes out has become a communal experience, where joking and commenting on it with friends is important. Watching a repeat on catch-up just isn’t the same.
But what of media we can’t all watch at the same time – like films, or a Netflix boxset? Surely there’s no greater sin in the 21st century than tweeting about the end of Breaking Bad or the new Star Trek film before everyone has seen it?
Maybe I’m still annoyed about my friend revealing that (spoiler alert!) Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan on the opening night of Star Trek Into Darkness, before I’d seen it.
3) George Osborne (If you are George Osborne)
Poor old Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Just because he’s waging war on the poor out of dogmatic loyalty to a failed ideology, he can’t even tweet without the masses of Twitter having a right old go.
Take a look at the tweet he sent out yesterday – relatively innocuous… but I guess having that face pop up on your timeline is going to make anyone want to start shouting abuse.
So if you’re George Osborne… might be better not to tweet.
2) James Blunt
Whiny singer James Blunt has become something of a phenomenon on Twitter – taking on his critics directly. So if you have any derogatory opinions about the man – perhaps better keep them to yourself. (Besides, show some respect – the man, umm, possibly stopped WWIII).
1) THOSE AWFUL SPIDER THINGS
For god’s sake, stop sharing possibly the world’s worst Vine. I’ve seen this pop up endlessly on my timeline, and once is bad enough. So please, do not talk about this on Twitter. Ever.
Warning: NOT SAFE FOR LIFE
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