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No Trumping on Twitter

Donald Trump

This week was the week we missed out on 140-character long nuggets of wisdom from President Trump briefly – 11 minutes to be more precise – when US President Donald Trump’s @realdonaldtrump Twitter account was deactivated by a Twitter employee who was leaving the company on Thursday before it was fully restored.

Trump has been a gift that keeps on spewing nonsense, providing a steady supply of slap stick comedy for us social wall flowers, often hiding in the shadows to stalk celebrities, politicians, famous cats and JK Rowling’s savage tweets, most of the aimed at Mr President himself recently. His ‘presidential’ tenure aside, at the end of his four years, the Tweeteer-in-Chief will have gifted us tirades, insults, social media feuds and #covfefe.

But occasionally, there are those – heartless trolls or mindless morons with verbal diarrhoea who just make you wish an irate former Twitter employee would just delete their account.

In the world of the new millennium newsagent turned office cooler, it is only a matter a tiny typo or a carelessly constructed tweet that can take you from Twitter ace to social media persona non grata. How do you avoid turning into Trump in the space of 140 characters? Read on…

You do not have to honour every invitation
Just like there is no way you can attend the many red-carpet events Lagos is home to in an average weekend (because, time, budget and all other demands for your attention, and for us ladies, the troublesome expectation that you should not be papped in the same outfit twice), do not feel obliged to honour every invitation on Twitter. There will be trolls who will come at you completely from left field or ill-educated folk with misinformed opinions or fake news, fight the urge to get tapping the perfect 140-character retort. The chances are these people are there not to debate as adult individuals but to vex others. When you find yourself responding to the Siren call of a Twitter troll – even if it may be the President of the US, take a deep breath, and remember all the other beautiful and meaningful things you can do with your time. Unless you are JK Rowling of course and can crush the competition in one fell tweet.

Vet your tweets
At the risk of sounding like a helicopter parent advising their children on the eve of a job application, please vet your tweets. Not just the one you’re about to shoot off at the click of a button but also those you may have tweeted a decade ago when the social platform was at its infancy, and so were many of us, most presumably. You do not have to be spurting extreme, bigoted propaganda; any views aired on social media which may be construed as sensitive, or even a typo or grammatical error which makes you look a dunce struggling with the English language, may come back to haunt you in years to come. Hence re-read, redact and then hit that button. If ever you are in doubt what is acceptable and what is pushing the boundaries, call a friend!

Do not spam!
Please do not be one of those who find perverse pleasure in spamming others. Don’t butt into random conversations without an invitation to offer your tuppence-worth, or worse, to promote a product. Fastest way to getting blocked!

Tweet others the way you would like to be tweeted
If you use Twitter for the purpose of passing random judgements on public figures, companies or celebrities, keep it clean and civilised. As many trolls who publicly abused British crooner James Blunt, and got their public humiliation with acidic replies from the singer, discovered, it is never a good idea to attack someone so publicly and expect it not to stick. If you want to complain about a brand or service on Twitter, controlled criticism is the best policy.

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