I admit it: I’m a social media addict. I poke around on Facebook to see what my friends are up to, I scroll through Instagram generously bestowing hearts, but the bulk of my social media attention goes to Twitter, where I’ve met new friends (for real), interacted with celebrities and people who create the shows or books or podcasts I love, and learned fun facts about everything from lizards to nebulae. It’s fun, right?
Well… mostly. Twitter is just as full of smart, thoughtful wordsmiths as it is inarticulate, angry lunatics, and they’ll pop out of nowhere to offer their commentary whether you like it or not. As someone who spends far too much time on this ridiculous but addictive platform, I’ve divided the worst of Twitter into types so you can spot them easily and avoid them. (And yes, I said AVOID… because engaging with them is pointless. They’re not interested in an exchange of ideas, trust me.)
These people must be combing Twitter looking for ways to show off their knowledge, ready to pounce the SECOND they see something they know more about than you do. It’s usually a very small detail that upsets them, and their replies ooze contempt.
The party poopers
These are the people who see you write “I loved that last episode of The Handmaid’s Tale!” and have to tell you that you’re wrong, and it’s terrible. While this is ten times worse if you’re a Star Wars or Star Trek fan, it’s out there no matter what. If you liked an actor’s performance or a book or the weather outside, there is someone other there who wants you to know that you are wrong for liking it.
It’s not enough for strangers to hate the things you love, there are some who have to find something to blame you for. It’s not just that your opinion is wrong, but the way you expressed it is incorrect as well.
You chose the wrong language, supported the wrong cause, missed the important point. You can’t like WandaVision if you don’t follow the Marvel universe. If you haven’t read the original book, seen the original movie, or read the comic books, you have no right to appreciate whatever it is you THINK you like.
My philosophy on Twitter is that it’s not the best place to get too personal. On Facebook, only my friends are following me, and on Instagram, it’s about the photos, not the text. I love Twitter for the social commentary, but when I follow someone because they posted a witty retort to some celebrity scandal and I suddenly get barraged by long threads about their digestive struggles complete with every medical detail, combined with all the intimate details of a failed personal relationship, I worry. I also, occasionally, mute.
The relentless repliers
A good Twitter exchange can provide a great little break from work or even a zing of energy in the right moment. But when your notifications refuse to rest because someone doesn’t know how to end a conversation, it creates a conundrum: How can you get out of this without insulting your new Twitter friend?
You thought you’d wrapped things up hours ago, but every concluding reply is met with a friendly comment inviting further conversation on a topic you have nothing left to contribute to. My advice here is the same one I use when this happens with texts: Use an emoji. It’s the definitive conversation closer.