By Graham "GSM" Matthews
I stopped using Twitter in late 2013 for a few months because it was no longer fun, and I noticed several people using it the wrong way. I seem to be seeing more stupidity on Twitter as of late, and thus thought it was only appropriate to offer a few tips and helpful advice when it comes to using it and social media in general.
First and foremost, DON'T ACT LIKE AN IDIOT! One of the primary uses of Twitter, other than for professional gain, is to have fun. I've said this time and time again but if you're not having fun doing something, then don't do it (unless it's something incredibly important). Have all the fun you want, but not at others' expense. As long as you're not harming anyone else, great. I've starting thinking about it this way in the last few years: Would I want an employer/family member to see this? If not, then don't post it. Doesn't matter if you use your real identity or not on social media. Just don't do it.
I assume most of you reading this are adults (by that I mean 18 or older), or at least close to it. It's smart to start thinking professionally. Calling someone else out that you go to school/work with isn't going to fly as an adult. You're not 12-years-old anymore. Scrutinizing others (publicly, mind you) is absolutely childish, and if you're not doing it, stay away from it!
The mute/block button on Twitter is your friend. If I could thank the people in charge of Twitter for creating the mute button, I would. It's a thing of beauty. It instantly allows you to silence anyone acting like an idiot. People will take the time to write you something or respond to something of yours for no apparent reason. Do not waste your time reading it. Little do they know that they're wasting their own time writing it.
I came to a conclusion just the other day: Those that don't get enough drama from their personal lives will go to social media looking for some. There are people out there who just CRAVE drama and attention. As you get older, you'll see most of that drama start to go away, but even adults I see that use Twitter that either don't have jobs/hate what they do/don't do anything productive take it to Twitter to find drama. It's truly sad, but you must avoid it at all costs. You'll likely never ever meet anyone you talk to over social media in real life, so seriously: screw what the Internet thinks, or what anyone thinks for that matter.
Personally, I got my fill of drama during high school, hence why I despised my four years there as much as I did. So, I'm good. There are a number of “school tools” at college as well, but it's a much different environment, thankfully where people aren't as stupid when using social media. The occasional picture of a passed out friend will surface online, but at least no one is taking about one another (for the most part). Always remember: Whatever goes up on the Internet stays on the Internet, so think before you post. It's a simple thing to say that gets said a lot, but it's true. Posting the wrong thing can ruin reputations, whether it be personally, professionally or both.
I made a bold statement about two years ago saying Facebook is better than Twitter. Everyone will have their own opinion of that, but I still believe that through and through. Facebook was the home of idiots at one time, but after Twitter become popular, they all left to go there. You'll find a fool here and there on Facebook, but not nearly as many as you'll find on Twitter. I don't use Instagram, Snapchat, etc. so I can't speak for those platforms.
Perhaps I'll try to tone down my use of Twitter going forward, or at least until I start to see the stupidity of others die down a bit. It'll always be prevalent (everywhere), of course, but Twitter goes through phases – I'll just wait until this particular phase passes through. Nevertheless, as I've expressed in past blog posts, social media is a very powerful tool. It's capable of amazing things when used properly, but used the wrong way, it creates chaos. Don't use it as a platform to vent your negative feelings about others; that's what real life interaction is for. Instead, help contribute to the world by spreading a little positivity. It goes a long way. If that's not your thing, just stay off social media. You'll be doing the whole world a huge favor.
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