You know the scenario. You get home late from a night on the town – well its rooftops – and you’ve had a bit too much milk to drink.
Your paw to brain reaction may not be as clever as it should be, and then you let rip with a tweet you come to regret the next morning when you awake with the mother of all moggie hangovers.
In my case, I once publicly accused an ex of going feral, hanging out with any old tom on the streets each night, only to find I’d mistaken her for another. If I could, I’d have had kittens at the embarrassment.
It pays to be careful. That’s why at ThinkWall we create a built-in blacklist of words developed in partnership with whoever has booked us for their event. These are then blocked from appearing. We can even allow every tweet to be read before it goes live on your ThinkWall.
For some extra reassurance, here are my top 10 tips for tweeting – whether on one of our ThinkWalls or just for your own enjoyment…
1) Think first, type later. It seems sensible, but so often you’ll shoot from the lip and then before you know it, you’ve embarrassed yourself, your colleagues and your boss wants to have a word the next morning in his/her office. Well one letter and a two numbers really – like P and 45.
2) Would you say it to your mum? If you wouldn’t say the same thing to the woman who gave birth to you, then maybe it’s not a good idea to put it on a public forum through a tweet. Remember, it may appear in a Google search and that could prove difficult around the Christmas dinner table.
3) Consider your social footprint. Or pawprint in my case. Would you want your timeline repeated back to you at a job interview? What if you suddenly become Prime Minister? These days whatever we say online can come back to haunt us. Just look at Piers Morgan’s comments moaning about Arsenal’s initial rough patch this season.
4) Choose your Twitter name wisely. Again, it might seem fun at the time of signing up to dub yourself with a rude moniker, or a nickname that’s an in-joke between you and your friends. But this is not Facebook. Everything on Twitter is public. Unless you secret your timeline behind that little padlock icon. And what’s the point of that.
5) Slow down on the Selfies. We know what you look like. You’ve got a picture in your profile - unless you’ve replaced it with one of those silly avatars or cartoons. We don’t need to see you in your bedroom, in the pub, or even worse, in the buff. This isn’t Snapchat.
6) Never plan for a RT. You’ve had a thought. A good thought. Well so you think. You’ve hit upon 140 characters that are sure to get you retweeted to the world and all the love and acclaim that follows. Well, it doesn’t work. And then you’ll be utterly disappointed and forced to check your @ replies every five seconds in the vain hope your tweet has been noticed by a like-minded user.
7) Don’t try and force 140 characters. Sometimes, what you want to say may be short and sweet. But you’ll feel the pressure to use every bit of space Twitter allows. It’s a false economy. You’re just ruining your snappy point. Less is more, far more often than you think.
8) Be positive. And if you can’t be positive, be funny. And if you can’t be funny, then don’t try to be. In fact, if you can’t be positive or funny, then maybe Twitter isn’t for you. Negativity has its place, but just using this as a platform to be grumpy and moan won’t increase your following. Well, it’ll attract other moaners and then you’ll end up moaning about their moans filling your timeline. The cheek of it!
9) Remember Twitter works in real-time. Which means by the time you RT that bit of breaking news that happened yesterday, we’ve already seen it. The same goes for that joke. Yes, you know the one. The one we’ve already seen everyone retweet, paraphrase or claim as their own. Honestly, you really think we thought you’d come up with that?
10) You don’t have nine lives. Even I don’t have nine lives when it comes to tweeting. One mistake and it’ll be there in the ether to ruin my reputation and have tails turned in my direction by all who know me. So stay safe out there. And if you can’t stay safe, then log out of your Twitter account until you can.