If there was one feeling that came out of the #EUinfluencer 2019 event, it was a general consensus that tweeting should be done in a generous and civil spirit.
In a discussion about populism and social media, top transport influencer and number 4 overall #EUinfluencer Jon Worth, explained key elements of good tweeting:
“Some of the values inherent in social media from the very start still work. Know your stuff, be accurate, be consistent, if you make mistakes, admit them, follow your topic. By being fair and honest, you can still reach a considerable audience.”
‘Know your stuff, be accurate, be consistent, be honest, and you can still do a great service as a social media user’ – @jonworth speaking at the #EUinfluencer conference, at @FondEURACTIV premises. #SocialMedia pic.twitter.com/NL5NYvOThu— Gian-Paolo Accardo🇪🇺 (@gpaccardo) September 10, 2019
According to Jennifer Baker, top technology influencer, those values – accuracy, decency, transparency – sound an awful lot like traditional ethical journalism values.
Our legacy influencer Ryan Heath joined us via a video from Washington DC and said: “If I got any advice at all about how you use these mediums and how you have these conversations is do it in a spirit of generosity. I know that not everyone does that on Twitter but I think that’s important.
Twitter is such a great way for connecting people and for connecting ideas and to do that you need to be honest, you need to be a little bit available and it’s a way for you to get in touch with people you might not normally dare to talk to.”
Twitter itself says you cannot “engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.”
But we all know inappropriate behavior is all too frequent on Twitter and is adopted even by politicians as a way to reach their constituents.
Twitter is THE platform for the EU bubble, yet Twitter globally is also an environment where short-term gain, trolling and bad language seem to be the norm rather than the exception.
How can we work together towards positive change?
Is it by hiding replies, a feature Twitter is rolling out?
Joanne Sweeney said:
“Wow this is a big move for Twitter.
- great to hide trolling abuse
- different approach to muting accounts
- will it fall back in favour with people who left because of trolls?
- silence the bots
- dare I say it, silence free speech?
In any case an interesting test”
Instead of hiding comments after the fact perhaps we should take action towards a more positive environment?
Philip Weiss, ZN CEO says, the community needs to be more proactive to improve conversations on twitter. “How about getting leading #EUinfluencer(s) to agree on key values? We could start in the EU.”
This is why we introduce the #EUtweetCODE.
Below its key principles:
📍Be polite, civil, honest
Couple of quick tips:
- Say thank you
- Don’t lie
- Apologize when you have done something wrong or when you have hurt someone
- Be humble
- Reply to questions
- Like replies to your posts
- Use emoji to clarify your tone of voice
- No swear words
- No personal attacks
📍Agree to disagree agreeably
Disagreeing is absolutely fine. A shouting match is not.
- Ask questions
- Try to understand where others are coming from
- Give constructive feedback
- No shouting (don’t write an entire tweet in capitals)
- Don’t make your disagreement personal, focus on the issues at hand. No one appreciates a personal attack.
- Watch your tone
- Be open to new facts and getting out of your bubble
📍Check your facts (twice)
Never check fake news and be aware this can happen to anyone
How do you identify fake news?
- Look closely at the URL
- Watch out for outrageous headlines
- Research the story
- Check the author and the source
- Take a close look at the images
- Check the date. Is this story even new?
- Is it a joke?
- Check the evidence
- Ask the experts
- And most importantly: Keep an open mind and check your biases
📍Support a tweeter getting trolled
- Share facts
- RT the positive side of the conversation
- Set the record straight
- Tag an expert
- Report content that is harmful and breaks Twitter’s rules
📍Set the record to combat fake news
- Make sure to jump into conversations and share your knowledge
- Share facts and articles from reputable sources
📍Tag an expert
- Tagging an expert is often the best way to improve the conversation and to change its dynamics
- Tag authors, influencers, academics
📍Don’t insult, troll, harass
Of course no one likes to think that they troll. But have you ever been passionate enough about a subject to want to harass others who disagree with you? And did it have any effect? Exactly. Just. Don’t.
- Don’t post offensive, divisive or argumentative remarks that will lead to nothing
- Don’t harass people, instead just mute them so you are not tempted to respond to their (offensive) posts
- Never insult anyone, no matter how horrible they themselves behave
- Don’t provoke others to displaying emotional responses, focus on the issue instead
- Ask questions
📍Share the love, seek support and connection
It is called social media for a reason. Don’t just push out your tweets and expect people to follow and RT you. Engage. Tag. Share the love.
- Build connections. Tag people, retweet their articles and work. Talk to them about what they’re posting
- Follow back. Unless they’re bots or post in a language you don’t understand, there is no reason to behave all snobby
- Find interesting people to follow and engage with them
- Prioritize positive posts
- Aim to uplift others
📍Don’t be afraid to mute or block trolls and other nasties.
- It is an unfortunate fact that not everyone will adhere to this #EUtweetCODE. Some people unfortunately display very negative behavior on social media. Sometimes it is best to block or mute them, so you can focus on the positive conversations and are not tempted to waste your time on pointless negativity. But first report content that is harmful and breaks Twitter’s rules.
More on blocking people by Andrew Stroehlein:
Now blocking on Twitter:— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) September 23, 2019
🔷 Deniers of fact who offer no evidence (or laughable links) to support claims;
🔷 Jerks who say nasty things about good people for attention;
🔷 Anonymous liars;
🔷 Propagandists for mass murderers;
🔷 Nazi sealions
Remco Timmermans says: “Sticking to the #EUTweetCODE is a great recipe for becoming a social media influencer. Wish everyone on Twitter behaved like this.”