I compose this pledge based on using Twitter the last three years and following (and occasionally unfollowing) over 750 people during that time. I’ve observed abundant violations to every line in this pledge. But, don’t let my pledge fool you into thinking I am a Twitter-expert; @chrishorst is a work-in-(slow)-progress.
For those of you who don’t tweet, my apologies, but this post is not for you. If you’re looking for Twitter 101; check out this insightful Michael Hyatt post. Feel free to add a line in the comments if I’ve missed any foundational traits of the Thoughtful Twitterer:
1) I pledge to talk about others more than myself.
Even though I think my own blog, book, church, organization and business are sweeter than the South’s tea; I will recognize the contributions, writing and articles of other people. Even if they are less cool than my own.
2) I pledge to give my source kudos:
I understand that it’s easier to post cool stuff as if I found it myself, but I also know that’s not very thoughtful. Even if I haven’t mastered the Chicago Style Handbook citations, I’ll give my referring friend a shout-out of some sort (e.g., “via @PillsburyDoughboy” or “Thanks @JamesTheGiantPeach”)
3) I pledge to talk with people, not at them:
I understand that Twitter is more like a telephone than a megaphone. I will interact with other people, ask questions about friends’ posts, and, yes, respond when someone talks to me.
4) I pledge to be hopeful:
Even when it feels like the world is one great tragedy, I will fight my inner Debby Downer. I won’t spend my every waking tweet bemoaning the inustices in the world, in my life, in the Church and in our political system. I will be (or at least try to be) a person of hope.
5) I pledge to not secondhand brag:
My mom might hail the brilliance of my work, but that doesn’t mean I should repeat that to all my friends and peers. Likewise, I’ll try to avoid retweeting every nice thing someone says to me or about my work. I believe that reposting someone else complimenting me is no different than me complimenting me.
6) I pledge to not attempt a tweeting battle:
I will surely want to pick fights, as there are plenty of BWC’s (buffoons-with-computers) in my world, but I will show restraint. As much as I’ve tried, I’ve never had a constructive or fruitful fight with anyone on Twitter. In fact, it’s impossible to ever have the final say on anything in 140 (or 280 or 420) characters. Thus, I’ll avoid trying whenever possible.
7) I pledge to understand the @reply:
While it’s certainly tricky, I’ll do my best to use the @reply like a pro. Whenever I start a post like this: @NicholasCage is the bomb!, I know that the only Twitterers who will see that post are me, @NicholasCage, and anyone who follows both @NicholasCage and me. I’ll fight the temptation to start posts with an @ sign unless I am directly talking to Nicholas Cage, for example. If I did talk directly to Nicky Cage on Twitter, however, I would not even bother secondhand bragging. I’d just straight brag …in a breathy, theatrical way that would make The Cage proud.
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