I’ve been thinking about whether I’m congruent—that is, the same person on twitter that I am in 4D (“meatspace”). I know that I use more colorful language in person than I do in twitter. (I’m about 68% in the “it’s just a word” camp, and 29% in the “why scare people, though?” camp. And 3% in the camp that’s sadly sometimes too mad to care, in the moment.) Plus, with closest friends, I’m also kinda… bawdry.

But while I occasionally tweet sadness, I don’t typically tweet in moments when I’m … well, being an ass. And I don’t tweet the kind of things I’ll say in a room full of adults. I can’t tell if this means I’m phony, or just choosing not to burden a bunch of people with my craziness. No, actually, I do know. It’s that I don’t want to be spreading pain via twitter. That’s not why I’m here.

Twitter debates, ftl.

Sometimes I find myself in one by accident, but I don’t intentionally get into debates on twitter. There are a few reasons.

  • It’s hard to understand nuances in 140 characters. Conversations can go in all sorts of directions over a single word, and miscommunication can be hard to correct.
  • I’m here to help people experience joy, and twitter debates can easily create a lot of pain.
  • Connection is more important to me than being right.

Doesn’t mean I don’t talk about things. Twitter helps me notice life’s richness, the gratitude I feel, the curiosity, even the sadness. So I let myself feel these things, and share them, and converse with other people.

So what, instead?

I’m thinking about this, partly because I’m tweeting a company account, and been thinking about what that means. I already know it means to show up as a real person and engage. But what do I want to talk about?


Or, to cut to it, what would I want to retweet? I’m thinking

  • events I or my friends are excited about
  • interesting questions & discussions that contribute to a body of knowledge
  • stuff that doesn’t depend on somebody being right and somebody else being wrong
  • funny things that aren’t funny at someone’s expense
  • stuff that strikes me as encouraging, but not preachy.

What’s your take on this? How transparent are you on Twitter? What kinds of tweets do you like reading?

One Comment on “Why I don’t debate on twitter”

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  1. Jesse says:

    Good post Angela. I think about this stuff a lot too, and for me, Twitter (and Facebook, blogging, etc.) is sort of a good “accountability” – to use a very religious sounding word. But really, if I don’t want it online, where it is etched into all history, I shouldn’t say it! (or tweet it)

    Sometimes I can take myself too seriously though (I know, really? Can you imagine? 😉 And so I try not to over analyze everything I do online, and just let it be a natural reflection of who I am at that moment.

    I especially agree with the “encouraging but not preachy.” There were some bloggers I followed on Twitter that seemed to just be “yelling” at me through 140 characters every day….it didn’t feel personal or genuine, it felt preachy. I stopped following them pretty quickly….

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