While I was nursing my hangover last Sunday an unexpected notification lit up my iPhone screen – “It’s your Twitter anniversary! You joined 9 years ago today!” I have been on Twitter for 9 years. I actually felt a bit old at that moment, but also grateful that I spent my teenage years on social media and am able to look back. The time has flown by so quickly and I’ve changed so much in those 9 years. Gone are the days when I was obsessed with Rihanna (hence the handle @EmFenty), or the days where I would try to be cool and fit in.
The anniversary got me thinking about Twitter in general and the effect that its had on my life, so today I thought I’d share the 5 lessons I’ve learned throughout my 9 years of Tweeting.
1. Negativity is contagious…
This one is really important to me as I find myself overtaken by ridiculous negative thoughts quite often, but negativity is just as contagious on social media as it is in real life. I find myself unfollowing people these days if I don’t like their content, especially if I disagree with what they’re saying or think their statements are toxic to my mind. I think it’s really important to take notice of the effect that social media posts have on your own thoughts and if it’s negative, consider cutting them. You wouldn’t spend time with someone who you constantly disagreed with or had a bad time with, so why do it on social media?
2. Positivity is also contagious…
Positivity is contagious too. One of the main reasons I love Twitter so much is because it’s totally OK to chat with and support people you don’t know. I’ve seen so many beautiful Tweets from people who have overcame a huge personal challenge and the amount of support they receive from fellow Twitter users is immense. You have no idea how much you can change someone’s day from a simple positive reply. I’ve discovered so many new people on Twitter and have started to read their blog or follow their other channels because of this sort of thing. Twitter is a really great way of connecting with people who have similar interests to you, so if you find an account that makes you laugh, smile or feel good about yourself don’t forget to tap follow!
3. People are more argumentative than you think…
Spend only 10 minutes on Twitter and you’ll soon realise that people love to call each other out and push their own agendas. After my 9 years on Twitter I think I’ve just become immune to this sort of thing and I ignore it. Most of the time people like to shout over each other and have the last word, and this links into the whole contagious negativity thing too.
Most people have their own idea or cause that they’re fighting for and that’s amazing. When you’ve finally found a place to express your views and thoughts freely with like minded people there can’t be a downside, right? Most of the time that’s true, but I can’t pretend I haven’t noticed or been embarrassed by the “militant vegans” who just go too far with their “activism.”
4. Not everything you read is true, even it’s from someone with influence…
This sounds kind of obvious right? But when someone you respect, or someone who has a huge influence on Twitter says something, it’s easy to automatically assume that what they’re saying is right. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Just because it’s right for them doesn’t mean it’s right for you. People with a large following can seem really clued up, but that doesn’t make what they’re preaching right. When I was in uni I used to fall for this, and now I look back and think that some actually didn’t know as much as they were letting on, so do your research.
5. You can’t please everyone, so post what you want…
Again, another obvious one, but one that seems much clearer when you think about it from a Twitter perspective. With the activists, the trolls and the complainers, Twitter users need to get used to outspoken people. No doubt we already are, but I just wanted to reiterate this because you should never not say something or post something just because you’re scared of what people will say. Of course, your content shouldn’t be mean or inappropriate, that goes without saying, but don’t hold back from being yourself online.
I always think of Ricky Gervais’ Humantiy stand up (watch it – it’s on Netflix) where he talks about people who get offended and attack people on Twitter unnecessarily, and to sum it up – if you don’t like it then it’s not for you. Ignore it.
After my 9 years of Twitter and social media usage in general, my biggest bit of advice to you is to be authentic. Don’t do something cause you think it’s cool or cause it’ll get likes and follows if it goes against who you are and, as always, think before you post!
What about you? Have you learned anything from your time on Twitter? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter itself.
You may have noticed a new link on my blog navigation bar – social media. Every post I do about social media will pop up in there from now on!