Twitter is a tough place for an oversensitive coward such as myself and it has broken many of my kind. How have I avoided self destruction so far? Mostly luck, but I also realized I have unintentionally developed a set of unspoken rules for myself that prevent some of the most common spirals. Are they for you? I don’t know, I’m not your boss.
Here they are.
1. You don’t need to get in the last word
You really don’t. For people who say “Oh, I know that, when someone’s wasting my time I just say ‘bye troll’”… buddy, “bye troll” is a last word. You don’t need it.
2. Mute is your friend
Obviously not getting in the last word is easier said than done. I’m human too, I get it, people misunderstanding my point or making easy-to-debunk arguments nags at me and it’s hard to let go if I keep seeing them. Solution: stop seeing them. Mute.
Why mute vs block? Nobody needs to know you muted them. They feel like they got in the last word and you’re probably thinking about it and they’ll leave you alone. If they see you block them, they’ll consider it unfinished business and might come back with another account going on about due process and hearing out other views and who needs that.
3. Do due diligence on retweets
Sometimes I forget to check but I really try to avoid amplifying a piece of shit racist or professional troll even if they made one funny joke or by some miracle shared an actual fact. It’s usually pretty easy to find another source for the fact.
4. Be willfully ignorant about follower count
The UI really makes it hard to ignore follower count but I try to avert my eyes and all that. Also like anyone else, I get excited when someone famous follows me and it’s hard not to notice, but I try not to go to their profile again more than necessary because that’s where I would see if they unfollowed me and then brood pointlessly about it.
5. Don’t argue with someone else’s replies
I find that my life is much improved by not stumbling upon a stranger arguing with another stranger and starting shit with one or both of them. I won’t necessarily judge if you do, maybe there’s cases where this would help someone. I’ll never find out!
6. Don’t stick your nose into other people’s business
Sometimes people talk about life events and problems that I don’t have any experience or expertise in but it seems to me, as an outsider, that they should have done this or that. I tell my husband exactly what this person should do and then I tell the person nothing.
7. Don’t pretend to be something you don’t like, for followers
You will be stuck pretending to be that for the rest of your online life, or else lose those followers, which you will find harder and harder to let go of the longer you keep them.
8. Don’t sic people on people
Sometimes I screenshot bad people saying bad things and I black out the name and people say “they don’t deserve to be protected.” Buddy I am not protecting them, I am protecting me. If you go start shit with them it will come back to me and we’ve established that I’m a coward.
Sometimes people do a crime or something real bad the public should know about, and then names help. I don’t think I ever screenshot that stuff, just stuff that would make people yell at other people until they’re all tired.
9. One round of arguing max
I don’t really do arguments. I never start them and if someone replies disagreeing with me I’ll reply only if it seems like it’s in good faith and they might find something I say useful. If they reply with more arguments, I’ll just let it slide and let them have the last word (see above). If they’re really trying to pick a fight, mute.