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I am a prolific user of Twitter, as many reading this will no doubt know. I enjoy the social interaction, I learn a great deal from it, and I have found it much easier, as a blind person, to use Twitter than Facebook. Unfortunately for me, most of my sighted counterparts prefer Facebook to Twitter, so I do try maintaining at least a utilitarian presence there.

On Twitter, a popular practice is to either quote or retweet the tweets of someone else. This is done either to help distribute information, or perhaps to show agreement or disagreement with what someone else has said.

It's the retweeting of opinions that I want to address in this blog entry. Both a positive and a negative aspect of Twitter is the ability to respond to something very quickly. We see a tweet, decide we agree with it, and retweet it, all in the span of ten seconds or less.

The positive aspects of this practice are fairly evident: it allows for a close to real-time sharing of opinions and ideas. However, the negative aspect of quick retweeting is also very present, and needs to be considered.

People are reactionary. I read something, my gut response it to react to what I have just read according to how it makes me feel. Does it pique my interest: Do I hope someone else will be interested too? Does it make me feel happy: Is it a positive message? Does it make me feel satisfied: Does it support a point I have been trying to make? Does it make me feel vindictively satisfied: Will it put someone "in their place" or get back at someone"? Does it make me feel angry: Do I want to lash out in response? These are probably the core reactions that prompt retweets, but doubtless there are more.

Some people have a nasty habit of retweeting something that sounds good to them, but they really haven't throught through what has been said. I think all retweeters, myself included, do this from time to time, but I'm talking about those who see something, think "Yeah, yeah," and hit the retweet button reflexively. Often, when I question such a tweeter, they'll say "Oh, I don't feel that way, I was just retweeting." To me this is a fairly flimsy method of damage control.

Retweeting can be a means of disagreeing with the person whom you retweet. You do this with a tweet before or after the retweet expanding on your own position on the matter. A quoted tweet is even better, you can attach your comment right to it.

But if you send a tweet out there without a position, you are telling the world that the views expressed in what you are retweeting are also your own. this is powerful.A retweeted opinion is still an opinion, so if you sign on to an opinion by retweeting it, you had better be willing to be taken to task for that opinion just as if it had been something you wrote. If you preach love, love, love, love, love, then retweet your joy over the misfortunes of someone else, for any reason, be prepared to answer to a seeming double standard. How do you lovingly say "I wish so and so were dead", or "I'm glad so and so got hurt", etc.? You can't. but I see this sequence of events played out constantly. What people of every political and religious stripe need to realize is that it's easy to love those with whom you agree; where the "love, love, love, love, love" preaching gets put to the test is with your response to someone with whom you disagree, or to someone whom you dislike, or to someone who dislikes or even hates you. If you are unwilling to love everyone, your "love, love, love, love, love" preaching is pretty empty and meaningless.

The above protracted example is one I often see with retweets on Twitter. People need to take ownership of their retweets in the same way they do of their tweets, if they want any credibility. By all means, take issue with someone by retweeting them, but make sure it's clear that that is what you are doing. Perception is reality on Twitter nine times out of ten. Rightly or wrongly, you will be judged by readers according to how they interpet your words or the words you retweet. So thinking about not only your intent, but how your words are likely to be received, becomes paramount.

You, and I mean you, are worthy of your opinions, of your thoughts. You, and I mean you, have something to bring to the table. Bring it. And make sure we all get the meaning you intended.
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dogriver: (Default)
Bruce Toews

August 2017

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