A lot of Tweets or a bit of a Twit?
I had been a frequent user of Twitter for a long time. I had used my present Twitter account for the last seven years and had a different account prior to then too. I wanted to review my Twitter usage over that time span and see what I found from my audit.
It started a few months ago when I decided to take control of all my social media data. I analysed the data that I had given to Facebook and realised that I wanted to manage my data in a different way. You can read about it here.
Now I wanted to review my Twitter usage going back seven years. This was going to be interesting for me as I use Twitter in a completely different way to how I use Facebook and other social media platforms.
What content did I publish?
Seven years is a long time and I had tweeted over 23,000 times in that period. Wow! Let’s have a look at the kind of things that I had used Twitter for:
- Conversations with friends
- Observations on things going on in life
- Music that I was listening to at the time
- Photographs of things I found amusing or entertaining
- Posts about my running and progress
- Christmas Tree Of The Day
- Motivational phrases and quotes
- Quickfire posts about not much in particular
- Retweets of posts that I thought were funny, entertaining, concerning, news-worthy, shocking or other emotions
Nothing outrageous fortunately!
It was some of these areas that led me to review if things posted back then could or would be taken the wrong way now. Hopefully you won’t be surprised that there wasn’t anything that was totally outrageous or that would jeopardise any future career prospects, but there were conversations with friends that while the content was tame and quite bland, they would have been private messages or group chats now rather than timeline conversations or groups of published posts.
It was interesting to see some of the pointless posts that me and no doubt countless others have put on Twitter over the years. I have given my views on goals being scored in football or rugby matches I am watching. I have live tweeted cup draws which are available elsewhere so I am not sure what value I was adding other than showing off how fast I could type! I have retweeted posts that didn’t have any further comments so in isolation you don’t know whether I am saying I agree with something, disagree, or find something amusing or entertaining.
The key there being ‘in isolation’. Context is vital for so much that we write. Taking posts or comments out of context in isolation can lead to things being taken out of all proportion and emotive people can escalate their feelings and thoughts quite often then misunderstanding the wider picture.
We see this all the time nowadays. A comment or sound-bite is misinterpreted as the reader or listener hasn’t heard the context or background to what the wider picture was. I think there is so much risk to publishing anything nowadays due to this wave of offense taking from people not aware of the whole picture or the context that a phrase or sentence was used.
Social media audits are recommended
I believe it is useful to have an audit periodically of what we have published on social media and see whether we are happy with what is out there. Life goes so fast and sometimes we don’t take time to take stock and review where we are at, and to give our approval to carry on as before or to change our track.
I decided to review my Twitter history – tweets, conversations, retweets and media uploaded to the platform. There was a lot that still made me laugh and was entertained reading it now. I have come up with some very funny things over the years, even if I say so myself! Hehe!!
Identity changes over time
This was the opportunity to review who I am now compared to who I was five, six, seven years ago. There were people I was conversing with back then that I don’t talk to now, have grown apart from, or just don’t see as much. There were conversations about topics that I am not so into now as I was back then. There was nothing that I was thinking was outrageous as I say, but there was a definite recognition that I am a different person now to who I was back then.
We all change over time. We all have different priorities in our lives at times. We all move forwards and life is very much different in 2018 than it was in 2011. That isn’t to say that what was going on back then was wrong, or was something to be ashamed of. Published posts are a snapshot in time as to who you were, what you were thinking, what you aspired to, what you wanted to do at that time, and that isn’t necessarily going to remain throughout your life.
A fresh start
I decided to delete my tweet history and start afresh with who I am now. I have kept many of my values and beliefs the same, but there are definitely changes in who I am and what I think about things in life. There are topics or areas of life that I would be quite happy to talk openly about in the past, but now am a little more guarded when talking of due to being of a different mindset now and probably more thoughtful about the construction of thoughts and how I put them across on my social media channels.
What do you want to use Twitter for?
This was an opportunity to redefine what I wanted to use Twitter for. It was a chance to make changes as to what I keep published and how it represents me as a person. Our personal identity comes from what we say, what we do, and how we behave. Social media is one example of how this lives out. There are people we all know who think there are no consequences to what they say online, but how we think about them is partly affected by how they represent themselves online.
I would definitely recommend anyone to have a social media audit periodically and to see if they are living their life online as they would want to be seen. There are probably some shocks or some changes that most people would want to make.
Are you happy with how your online identity comes across to others?