Almost all of us have a comment policy on our blogs and any good blogger with decent content does not tolerate abusive language and ill mannered commentators on their blogs. So it can be assumed that there does exist a blog etiquette which every good blogger follows. What about etiquette on the recent social media phenomenon,otherwise known as Twitter? Unless you have been living under a rock, all of you must be aware of Twitter. Whether you are using it or not is a different issue. I had joined Twitter on 20th Feb 2008 but I became really active just few months back. Since then, I have observed few things about this social media as compared to a macro blogging platform like WordPress or Blogger. And these observations have forced me to raise a few questions about it.
Quoting Jina Dcruz’s opinion “I’m tired of tweets on twitter etiquette.Makes me feel like learning table manners for an elite restaurant when I want to be in a dhaba”. It is true that Twitter is a sort of informal, casual, outright and speak whatever however you want type of micro blogging platform. Its basically- anything goes. But does that mean there should be no etiquette at all? In a recent report, scientists have warned that Twitter can harm moral values. Here is an excerpt:-
Today’s fast-paced media could be making us indifferent to human suffering and should allow time for us to reflect, according to researchers. They found that emotions linked to moral sense are slow to respond to news and events and have failed to keep up with the modern world. In the time it takes to fully reflect on a story of anguish and suffering, the news bulletin has already moved on or the next Twitter update is already being read.
Here is an excerpt from an article “Social netiquette: When poking isn’t polite” :-
“There has been a major cultural shift in the way we communicate and document our social lives in recent years, but we have not been taught digital or online manners,” says Jo Bryant, an advisor for U.K.-based etiquette authority Debrett’s.
This article has listed some dos and don’ts for netiquette like don’t talk about poop in public, don’t be creepy and so on. Although Twitter is just not about what the other person had for breakfast, still there is a thing called too much information. So that is one thing that Twitter users should keep in mind.
Further, stuff like typos in tweets don’t matter but what about the use of expletives in one’s tweets? Users say good morning and good night daily, they thank other users when their tweets are re-tweeted (means re -posted) but then they go on to write sentences full of b*****d or f*** etc. I really find it disturbing when a 10th standard student tweets that “I am gonna kill the bloody idiotic maths teacher of our school. Bloody ass”. I understand that not every teacher is good but still it seems offensive to talk about someone that way. There are many such users who express in such a way most of the times and they have quite a number of followers too. Does this not show deterioration of etiquette in the present day users of social mediums? And maybe this deterioration is not restricted to only their online lives but is also present in their real life behaviour.
Of course one may argue that all you need to do is unfollow that person. But does that justify the absence of discretion in a social media user? The arguments “I will tweet what I want” similar to the lines of ” I will blog what I want “; are they good enough to justify it? There exists a fine line between one’s right to write what he pleases and to take care of his readers’ taste/feelings. I guess this is an age old debate that whether one should be careful with words and presentation or should just say whatever comes to his mind.
There was an incident of an user pointing out to another user that he should not re-tweet stuff which are filled with expletives. The result? Both had an argument and stopped following each other. Such incidents also result in the user being called “moral police”, “kiddo” etc. So, one more thing that I feel about Twitter is the desire and the pressure on users to be “cool” to have followers. Most of the users are not Zen like and they do care about number of followers and stuff. So would one wanting to be cool and popular feel the pressure to accept use of expletives repeatedly, offensive sentences, and to keep quiet no matter what others tweet. Am I right? Do you feel such a pressure when you interact with other users on Twitter?
I have just expressed the questions and the personal opinions that have been floating in my head since few days. I think I have not been able to find answers to them yet.
Related posts :-
Why Twitter Killed The Blogging Star by Bombay Addict
Annoying Habits in Social Media by Kristy Bolsinger
Etiquette in the Age of Social Media by Chris Brogan