March 29th, 2012

Congratulations, Generation X – our social media savvy has successfully taken our verbal communication skills to the next level: we are able to express our complete thoughts and feelings in under 140 characters.

I believe this is a new low, even for our generation. And unfortunately, it would seem that Twitter has recently been taking on the great responsibility of social guidance counselor.

I’m certainly no Mark Zuckerberg in my social media expertise, but I have been around the block once or twice on that crazy Internet, and I do have some thoughts. I wouldn’t consider myself an electronic dinosaur, but I do remember when Hotmail was the leader in email service providers, AskJeeves was the premier search engine and was the best social network.

Now that Twitter is on the scene, we are faced with a whole new world of possibilities in the wide web of social media. And there are definitely rules that I feel would make for a more enjoyable Twitter-verse.

First and foremost, don’t tweet depressing things. I don’t log on to Twitter in order to see the entry stages of your depressing nervous breakdown caused by loneliness. We all have problems, but broadcasting them to the world probably won’t solve anything.

JCU has a tremendous counseling center, so if you’re having serious enough problems, take a walk across Belvoir and see what the professionals can do for you. Because believe it or not, @GirlProbz won’t actually help you solve your girl problems.

On that note, don’t use generic terms, either, like, “I feel so lost,” or, “If only I knew the answer…” or, “Sometimes life is just like that I guess.” What do you accomplish? It just makes all of your followers feel bad for you, and they don’t even know why they are feeling bad. It could be anything from your goldfish Sparky dying to your ex-significant other cheating on you. How can I be there to support you if I don’t even understand what’s upsetting you?

This brings me to my next point: If you use the second person in a tweet, I will assume you are addressing me. For example, if you tweet, “Wishing you would just notice I’m here. #HopelessButHopeful,” I will assume you are referring to me and respond to you. I will probably reply with something like this: “Don’t be hopeless but hopeful, I do notice you’re there.”

And then of course, that leads to #ThatAwkwardMomentWhen I realized that tweet was actually directed at the person you hooked up with at Barroom last week and not me. How was I supposed to know?

Likewise, I don’t really want to hear about how great your boyfriend or girlfriend is. If you truly believe that they are the best thing since sliced bread, then tell them how great they are. The rest of the world probably doesn’t care that much. Naturally, if you have a major announcement, like you’re newly engaged or your bf/gf just got you a brand new Porsche, go ahead and tweet it. But otherwise, keep it to yourself.

The same is true for the frustrating parts of your relationship. If you’re having a fight with that special someone, don’t let the whole Twitter-verse know. As @SassyGayFriend will tell you, that kind of tweet translates to, “Desperate, desperate, I am really desperate.”

So what should Twitter be used for? The journalist in me would love to believe that it should be used as a tool for spreading the truth to the younger generations. Soon enough, The New York Times will switch completely to Twitter and offer “all the news that’s fit to tweet.” But I understand that spreading information is not its only utility.

And if you aren’t planning to use Twitter as a gatekeeper of the news, then use it as a tool to spread happiness and laughter. Don’t be one of those people whose followers always feel bad for; don’t pour out your soul to a little blue bird; in fact, when you’re feeling that #SadTweet moment, I challenge you to put the phone down and go to your friends instead. And once you are all smiles again, go ahead and tweet something that will trend an ever-contagious laughter.

If you agree with me, join my crusade and follow me @BayerEssentials. I’ll even follow you back and retweet you if you hashtag my name (#BrianBayer) and help make me the next worldwide trend.