10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned from Toxic Twitter.
Maybe you’ve experienced ‘Toxic Twitter.’ Maybe you haven’t. Up until recently, I hadn’t known what everyone was going on about. That is until I decided to leave the comfort of my scrolling through feeds, and decided to let the world know about an opinion I had.
I am not going to get into the details here. Because quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. But to give you a little context, I will tell you this.
I agreed with a particular person’s tweet. I responded with my own life experiences. A band of users who didn’t agree with me or the author of the tweet decided to let us know how they feel — in great detail. Words were said, personal character attacks were made. Overall, a pretty average day as far as social media goes.
As I stood in my living room, reading the replies. I was surprised. How was it possible for one person to openly say these insults to another stranger?
A Storm is Brewing
I started to compile my reply. I wanted to make the other person understand my point of view a little better — it failed. It made it worse. The person on the other end of this string of data somewhere on the opposite end of the planet got even more fired up.
When this happened, I was on the brink of declaring war. The situation felt sorely misunderstood and their tweet left a small but sharp sting, right in my mid-section.
I felt hurt, misunderstood, and wronged. This needed to be corrected.
As I was about to hit the reply button, a thought popped into my head. Is it worth engaging with this person? What do you hope to gain? An apology? From someone who openly and intentionally through hurtful comments, hoping for a reaction? No chance. Toxic Twitter is real.
10 Tips on Dealing with Toxic Twitter
I deleted my reply and decided to let everything sink in and think about the situation. After much thought, I went against my humanistic nature and decided not to reply to this person. I even took it one step further and deleted my initial response to the original thread.
On the surface, it would appear that I lost this online battle. I didn’t. And here’s why. Below are my 10 life-changing lessons that I learned from dealing with toxic twitter.
1) Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just like I chose to have my say about the matter. Anyone is allowed to add their opinion to the conversation. Even if it is (viciously) in disagreement with your thoughts.
2) People don’t always follow the same rules. This is a hard fact to come to terms with. But in the example above, both I and this Twitter user were right — in our own eyes. This leads me to my next point.
3) Don’t engage with someone maliciously. Imagine that we were having a conversation and you share an opinion with me. Instead of talking it through, I immediately respond by jabbing you in the nose. You would feel, well, hurt. Probably in more ways than one.
But if you look at point number two, remember that in our own eyes, we are both ‘correct’. The only difference here is that I am not playing by your moral rules.
If someone is openly malicious, there is an extremely small chance that you can reason with them, or come to some sort of resolution. Trolls are not playing by your moral code. They threw that job to get a reaction. They want to hurt and tear down. Engaging with someone who has an agenda like this is impossible. You won’t win, because you are probably not willing to stoop down to that level to win. This is a good thing by the way. Otherwise, there would be anarchy.
4) If a troll’s mission is to tear down and destroy, there is only one way to come out on top. Let this situation make you better. I decided to delete my tweet and walk away. Not because I was weak, but because I decided not to let this situation define me. I wanted to grow from it. If a troll hopes to destroy a part of you, and you develop and improve because of the situation — who wins? You do. Because you achieved the exact opposite of what they were hoping for.
Make the world a better place.
5) Do the opposite. I read an article about a person who made it their mission to engage with aggressive online users. They went out to show them who’s boss. Set them straight. The more they engaged the more enraged they become. Unfortunately what ended up happening was the exact opposite of what they initially intended. They started to become a troll and would seek out ‘stupid’ people on social media and start verbally abusing them.
It turns out, two wrongs don’t make a right. I went out to my Twitter feed and started to reply to people. I focused on leaving genuine, positive, and inspiring replies on other people’s tweets. Do the opposite of what a troll would do — make Twitter a better place instead.
6) Two sides to a tale. There are always two sides to a tale. We will never know what another person has been through. Perhaps, they feel justified in their behavior. Maybe, something tragic happened to them that lead them down this path of pain and aggression. Does this give a free pass to do what they want regardless of anyone else but themselves — certainly not? But it always helps to try and put yourself in the shoes of the other person, even just for a moment.
7) Walking away was freeing. The quicker I could walk away from the start of this conflict, the better. While a storm was brewing on my phone. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. Putting my phone down, walking outside, and moving on with my life was truly the better option.
8) Choose words wisely. Looking back, I could have probably worded my tweet better. Changing a word or two can change your tone of voice and still deliver the message effectively.
9) Engage with people who make you happy. Life’s too short. If you’re going to spend it on social media then engage with people who are worth your time and bring value to your life.
10) Live more in the real world. Not toxic Twitter.