My Twitter Etiquette

You’ll see lots of complaints on Twitter about how other people behave on Twitter … often from people that behave in exactly the way they are complaining about.

We change our views, and adapt our behaviours to our changing views, so sometimes it’s not inconsistent to have a Twitter record where you behave like an ass for a while, and then don’t. And of course we all have bad days, and days when some idiot just won’t see sense (because our sense is sense and theirs is nonsense – obviously).

Anyway, apparent anomolies like that aside, this is how I try to act on Twitter.


I block ads that are irritating.

I occasionally block someone who is being a pest, not making a point. I generally unblock them some time later (Sshhhh! Don’t tell them in case they notice). But my general rule is not to block, as it’s easy to construe it to be a means of avoiding genuine and valid criticism.

But, I have few followers, so it’s no big deal. So I understand why popular accounts block those that are a pain in the ass – when you have many followers and long response threads, you don’t need some regular opponent on your back making the same point you’ve responded to a thousand times.

And, it’s up to the account holder who they tolerate.

But for some, blocking is a means of stifling debate and avoiding valid criticism. And SOME are down right hypocritical when they block others but whine about being blocked themselves (@NiceMangos). Of course it depends on the context.

But surely the lowest of opinions is deserved for those that ‘hit and run’, tweet and block. You know the type: you’ve responded to their tweets in a reasonable exchange, and they are not making a good job of it … then suddenly a burst of invective, a few snide tweets to you, but clearly aimed at playing to their crowd … and BLOCK! A tweet arrives, so you try to repond, but twitter isn’t working? A bug? Phone needs a reboot? What’s gone wro…. ah, they blocked me. Nice work, cowards of twitter (@NiceMangos).

Untag on Request

Sometimes you get into a thread of exchanges and one of the earlier tweeters doesn’t want their stream filled with this ongoing conversation. They ask you to leave them out, to untag them. This is asy to do, and is a reasonabler request:

  • Start your next reply
  • Click/touch the names you’re about to reply to
  • It will give you a list
  • Remove anyone not wanting to continue

Or, you could be an arse and insist they mute you:


Deleting Tweets

We all make mistakes. Typo errors are common, and if the tweet is still readable, I’ll leave it. But I’ll occasionally delete tweets and repost, to make a meaning clear.

I don’t delete inconvenient tweets – ones that show me in a bad light. They stand, along with any criticism of them.

Some people do delete inconvenient tweets, and they become well known for doing that. They aren’t really trusted.

I will delete tweets of mine that are factually wrong – though they may go on living until someone points them out to me. Not having a great following I’ve not irritated enough people to cause someone to trawl through my tweets looking for errors

It’s a legitimate thing to do, by the way, to trawl someone’s tweets, if you suspect some incosistency, especially if they are giving someone else shit for some historic behaviour.

Of course that’s why some dishonest people delete old tweets, so that they can’t be used against them, not because they have changed their views – those tweets just magically disappear (@lsarsour). A clue to this sort of dishonesty can be backed up by similar behaviour on their Facebook account – they delete comment threads that are inconvenient and challenging to their views (@NiceMangos again).

I will delete tweets of mine that are factually wrong about some person, to avoid that tweet being retweeted and consequently continue to spread misrepresentations. My rule then is as follows:

  • Screenshot the offending tweet.
  • Post the screenshot with a retraction, making sure it’s in the thread of the original tweet so that nearby tweets referencing the original pick it up.
  • Delete the original.

Sounds like a bit of effort, but not if you don’t misrepresent people that often. It’s the least you can do for someone you have misrepresented … even your opponents. Especially your opponents, if you want to maintain any credibility.

There’s not much you can do if someone spreads a screenshot of your original tweet in order to continue the misrepresentation. The best you can do is correct it when you see it.


I try to avoid being abusive in a way that’s not relevant to the subject matter. But I have no problem being sarcastic, or being hyperbolic in what should be seen as a mischievous humourous jibe.

Of course some people take offence too easily, and that’s their problem, not mine. This is especially so of those that want to protect their ideology from fair criticism by using the offence card – mosly the religious, obviously.

I try not to be cruel – at least not to the genuinely troubled. An exception is to the intellgently stupid. There are some people that clearly have a high-ish level of intellectual capacity, that show signs of being able to reason, are articulate enough to be able to understand plain speaking, but who make the dumbest claims that aren’t backed up by evidence.

Sorry, but the intelligent religious people turn out to be the biggest culprits. If you want to spout your BS, and use it as a moral weapon, then you’re fair game, the rhetorical gloves are off.

As it happens, as a pragmatic choice, I do tend to tone down the sarcasm, because, being such delicate souls, not liking their religion ridiculed, conversations don’t last long if the sarcasm is merely lookwarm.

My biggest regret is when I’ve been engaged in a long thread with someone and the mutual abuse dial has been turned up and I realise I might be dealing with a troubled mind. It’s hard to apologise for mutual trolling someone with a genuine problem, especially as I’m not competent to diagnose mental problems. So the best I can do is just leave the conversation quietly until they go away. Sorry if I’ve been mean to someone struggling with problems I’m not fully aware of.