Hobby Positivity on Twitter

Someone mentioned that they were trying to be more positive on twitter, and someone else asked me how I seem so unrelentingly positive on Twitter, so I thought I’d pop together my unspoken rules of Twitter Hobby Etiquette for fun positive interactions.  I certainly make mistakes from time to time, but generally my upbeat tone seems to resonate with the hobby field.  So what’s my secret?

Well, one obvious one is to make sure your twitter client is set to “Latest Tweets” or equivalent.  If you rely on Twitter’s default, you’ll see hundreds of tweets from people liking posts or from people you don’t follow, and that can really move you away from seeing little models and seeing, well, practically anything.  That can sour your mood before you even begin!

Another technically related tip is to use the “Retweet with Comment” option sparingly, if at all.  Any time you do this, it looks like a focussed deliberate, thought out response, and any hint of negativity looks like a deliberate attack, not a discussion.  I’ve done it a few times accidentally, or trying to be funny, and if you misjudge, it’ll look vicious.  Try to think twice, or use it to highlight very positive things, rather than using this often.

Most of the tips aren’t really related to features, though, but a general approach, and it all goes back to a piece of advice I learnt when I started work for interacting with people – praise in public, criticise in private.  

Essentially, for social media, tweet whatever the heck you like on your own timeline as standalone tweets.  If you didn’t like a new model, feel free to post up you didn’t like it if you want.  Don’t feel constrained in what you want to express in your own tweets.  However, don’t crap over other people’s fun.  Don’t reply to someone who loves something  to say “I hated that”.  Let’s think for a minute on what the possible outcome can be.

  • They are convinced by you, and lose something fun from their lives.
  • They ignore you, and will respect your tweets less in future.
  • You have a blazing public row, and end up never interacting again with another fun hobbyist

The only possible beneficial outcome is basically if they argue with you and convince you to like it, as then you both have something fun in your life.  But I’ve never in ten years on twitter seen this outcome.  Oddly, saying why you liked something to someone who doesn’t is a far more positive experience, generally.  You aren’t trying to take fun away.

On the flip side, genuinely praising people by saying why you like something instead of just mashing the like button has much more of an impact too.

Now, there is obviously a middle ground.  When people ask for advice or genuine criticism, that’s different than just crapping on something they adore. Offer genuine advice, but try to mention positives rather than just negatives.  If they want to know how they can improve in terms of painting, try to mention the bits you think are strong already as well as possible improvements.  

Finally, one thing that often happens in tweets is that we have a limited space to express our concepts.  Sadly, one of the areas we tend to remove in order to focus on the main concept are often the key words we’d use when talking to people, which take the edge off what we say.  We can lose the oil that lubricates the wheel of social interaction.  Saying “I absolutely love the models, and I wish I’d have better luck with them on the field, but they’ve always been crap for me” is far less confrontational and negative than just “They’ve always been crap”.  Sometimes it’s worth spreading out over a few tweets and keeping those  perspectives there.

Oh, and some of us will be friends either in real life or have interacted regularly online for years.  In those cases, the general guidelines go out of the window, just like you can talk with mates in a different way than a stranger in a GW store.  Don’t assume that because you see a teasing interaction that your tweets will be seen in the same light!  That’s probably the most solid advice I’d generally give – think of talking to strangers in your local GW as a guideline.  If you wouldn‘t say it to them if you overheard them talking, don’t tweet it to someone.

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