Twitter is overly emotional. Whenever you really feel emotional, like being really pissed off or bored, that is when the urge to tweet about it is the strongest. But is this online record how we really feel?
People use twitter in a variety of different ways, be it as a source of news, a way to reach out or keep in touch or maybe event a way to broadcast every minute of your life. Many people see different uses for it and it’s power as a way to rapidly spread news and information is unprecedented. A few of its characteristics lead to polarized ideas.The limit to 140 characters is a very interesting way of forcing you to cut to the chase and forces you to be very direct with your tweets.
However, because of this limit in length, often the context or full details of the message are left out. Opinions are distilled to the simplest core of their sentiment making them either positive or negative – often taking the comment out of context and polarizing it to an extreme. A lot of the time the grey area is removed. In situations where one person tweets an opinion, more often than not it is responded to by the other side and due to the limit of words it becomes a very direct and often very personal battle. I have seen this happen recently with #GeekRetreat and around the #SiliconCape #CellC event #4 #advertising.
After the initial flare of opinions the issue then moves to blogs or emails. Normally this time is spent with people filling in all the context that they couldn’t get to in the tweet and explaining how they really feel. This is often different to the stance that they were forced to take from the tweet. Unfortunately, the lines have already been drawn by the tweets and much of the posts are aimed trying to take a less hostile stance.
I find this an interesting phenomenon and try to use some anger management tricks – like taking 10 deep breaths – before sending out something that I might regret later. Even still, plenty of my gripes and mistakes sneak through. This normally leads to a mad scurry to find the delete button…
Have you ever sent a tweet that you regretted? I guess the lesson is to not speak before you think, but rather to think first. Breathe. Then tweet.