2009-04-30

Advice To Those Under Attack On Twitter

Last night, something of a fight broke out between two people whose views were at odds. Unfortunately, it escalated to the point where the more reasonable of the two lost his temper and was drawn into acting almost as obnoxiously as the provoker. Although I was not following either of them, a third party asked me to advise on the best way to limit the damage done to the reputation of the provoked party. With a little luck, it would seem that, like most storms, it appears to have passed into history rapidly.

While the incident is fresh in my mind, I thought I'd post the advice I gave to the nice chap whose temper had been temporarily lost, to share it with anyone else who might benefit from it...

In general, I would think of Twitter as a local pub with various bars in it – if some obnoxious creep, like @racistfascist or @rantingbigot, is throwing his/her weight about in the first bar you walk into, turn on your heel, shutting the door behind you (un-follow him/her) and try another bar.

If the creep tries to follow you into the next bar, lock the door (block him/her) and if he/she shouts through the window at you (uses your @name so his/her messages still get through even though you’ve blocked him/her) complain to @twitter publicly and go to Twitter Help to fill in a support request.

Unless you came to Twitter looking for a fight, don’t let people draw you into one – by all means argue for your opinion in a measured way but don’t let people talk you into getting hot under the collar. Life’s too short for going on missions to change people by arguing with them. Set a good example and let them see how much happier your way makes you than their way makes them...

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