Think Before You Tweet

Brava to Australian journalist Julie Posetti (@julie_posetti) for her excellent blog post (Rules of Engagement for Journalists on Twitter ) on

Frankly, her “Top 20 Takeaway Tips” are suitable as much for non-journalists as reporters.

Isn’t it frustrating to follow the bread crumbs from someone’s seemingly insightful and useful remark to their profile, only to encounter ridiculous, inflammatory or prejudicial statements? As I tweeted moments ago:

If you want Twitter to be regarded as reliable, then we must tweet responsibly, ethically and avoid hysteria-generated misinfo. *daily.*

Personally, I’m someone who enjoys reading comments from a diverse array of people with differing–even conflicting–perspectives. Just because I follow someone doesn’t imply that I endorse their POV. It does mean that I’m curious about what they might say. Yet I am increasingly unfollowing people who show far too little depth of thought, resort to vague over-generalizations, or obviously tweet while angry, drunk, or… whatever. I simply can’t trust people like that for much of anything, except maybe entertainment. Why follow them, you know?

Remember: Everyone’s time is valuable. Provide your followers (or, your readers) something worth contemplating in your tweets–be it a good link, a bit of advice or an engaging glimpse into your corner of the world. If you do this consistently and conscientiously, you’ll build your credibility over time and gradually expand your own circle of influence on the topic(s) of your choice. Then you’ll come to understand more fully the fun of Twitterville.

Go on now, give Possetti’s post a read, please. And then have a think before you tweet.

UPDATE: Posetti, in response to interest generated on this site, Twitter and, has teased out her tips and highlighted them on her personal blog. Please link to, post and tweet about them to help engage others in this important conversation.

Explore More:
• The good folks at ( have created a new online database of SA-area tweeters.

4 Replies to “Think Before You Tweet”

  1. This is one of the frustrating things about Twitter, but I think that the more people you follow with common interests who are using the platform sensibly, the more enriching the experience is, so stick with it!

  2. Thanks for the link. I wish everyone followed 50% of the 20! The most profound one I think is “Be human; be honest; be open; be active.” Authenticity is what humanizes social media. That, and a joke now and then.

  3. slcohan: I agree with the “at least 50% of the 20” sentiment. And the authenticity bit, which is critical.

    Matt Churchill: I can understand the appeal of following people with common interests–and I do that **most** of the time. Those are certainly the people with whom I’m most likely to interact with regularly via RTs and DMs.

    But sometimes in an effort to broaden horizons–and because I’m both a writer and a historian by training, I’ve deliberately followed people VERY different from me. Also, I’m just not sure that sticking to our silos is all that healthy in the end.

    I am, however, clearly upping my expectations with regard to sensible behavior for all parties now as I round out my first year on Twitter.

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