The social media blur

A few weeks ago, as I sat watching my husband varnish the doors of the house that we do infact own, I sent out a tweet complaining I needed some space. Space from what? Well 140 characters didn’t let me explain that, but to me, just anonymously telling the twitterverse that I needed space, was enough. A few people responded, we exchanged tweets… I may have made a joke (ok, I definitely made a joke, stab.. whatever!) and that was that. Well, that wasn’t that.

What ensued was quite the fight between Mark and I. (ok, exchange of words. Over dramatise. Thats what I do). His reasoning – you don’t know who is listening on twitter. My answer – my followers see my tweets, and what do they care? Noone else is reading what I’m saying – or are they?

You see twitter for me is my place of opinions and thoughts. Random antics, photos of the bizarre, the beautiful, to gloat, to find information… Facebook, on the other hand, is where I play nice. Post acceptable photos and say accetable things. Twitter is anonymous. Facebook is not. Sometimes its nice to keep it all a little seperate.

At the first ‘twitterati-party-type-thing’, I met a few of the people I follow on twitter. Bloggers, foodies, wine-lovers alike. They became real people with real names, real jobs (well – some of them!). I became a regular at restaurants, chatted to chefs, bumped into people at festivals, I read others opinions on their blogs and on twitter and shared my own. I’ve learnt about new places, restaurants, wines and even mountains to climb (literally). I can speak about my passions to people who are as passionate. With every interaction and consequent twitterati-party, the line between anonyminity and reality is, as expected, starting to blur. However, it’s still distant from the facebook world of school-friends (even school-enemies – why do they even add you?), parents and those who haven’t got their head around google+ (although this was before google+ anyway).

Working in online, I guess it can only be expected that colleagues were going to follow me. (Although, I’m really not a fan of the silent follower – INTERACT damnit!). I didn’t mind them, they’re obviously interested. It was only when one person, caught me on a rough day at work and referred to something about my weekend, something only the twitterverse should’ve known – I realised these are real people reading my tweets (hell, they may even be reading my blog!) But even still, I continue to put my life out there for my followers to read what interests them and skim over what doesn’t. (Besides, don’t 71% of tweets go unread anyway?)

Regardless of that stat, the point is: there are (real) people listening. And, contrary to what I might think, caring about what I’m saying. Twitter is anonymous, but its not THAT anonymous.

A piece of advice @CapeTown_Girl said to me (well, not to me directly, there was a group of us.) If a celebrity drunkenly falls out of a car knickerless and her photo is published for the world to see – she looks like a tosser. Just because you’re doing the same thing from behind a blackberry or laptop, doesn’t mean you won’t look like a tosser too. (Ok, she managed to construct the thought slightly better than I just did, but read it slowly again and you’ll see what I mean). In reality, what you say on twitter or on your blog – will be heard. You will be held accountable for it.

It still annoys me that some people just listen. Some people at least follow you silently (but at least you’re notified they’re there), but others are clearly just watching what you’re saying through a feed, a list, or one of the other functions on tweetdeck. But learning the hard way (and not just being busted by Mark – he forgave me for that!) – I realise that the only place for some thoughts are just in your head. I’m not a fan of thinking before I tweet.

But the world isn’t anonymous. And Google remembers.

Some other great tips (and yes, complete plagiarism here) are:

11. Don’t be tempted by the speed of Twitter. Take a breath before each tweet and ask, “If I was a follower, would I want to read this?” If not, delete it.

16. Unless you are 14 years old, don’t make your account private. No strangers will want to request to follow you. (KH: no one should have to keep their profile private.  If it’s not nice. Don’t say it)

20. Just because you are getting slammed doesn’t mean you should blame Twitter. Learn to absorb the hate and get a thicker skin, it’s useful in life.

43. Have a friend who bashes the fact that you’re on Twitter? Log them in for a week & show them how it works. In no other walk of life have people bashed something so fervently that they haven’t tried.

44. Friend didn’t adhere to Tip 43? People who don’t use Twitter don’t get it. They’ll mock you, but it’s their loss. Keep doing your thing.

63. Just because this isn’t face-to-face communication doesn’t mean you should disrespect people. There are real humans behind the computers.

69. Unless replying to a specific Tweet, don’t start your entry with an @mention because only those who follow that person / brand will see it (unless that is your intention) – KH: although apparently if people want to, they can still see what you’re saying!!

74. Get hate-tweets? It probably means you’re doing something right. Chances are the hater has less than 200 followers anyway.

88. Stay away from song lyrics, even if it describes your mood perfectly.  (KH: Ouch! Made this mistake a few times)

97. Don’t tweet during important life occasions. Savor the moment; Twitter will be there for you when it’s all done (KH: I guess the same goes for facebook)

100. Spend time with people you know in real life because who are you going to talk to when Twitter gets over capacity?  (KH: again, think this applies to the FB)