To thine own self be true
My own personal rule for Twitter. I heard someone sounding almost apologetic this morning because they appeared to think showing emotion on Twitter was a bad thing. As it happened, they'd feel passionately and fiercely about something, they made some good points, and they didn't come across to me as being emo or depressed or indeed anything else.
They came across as human. A person with feelings and emotions, just like everyone else. Now, this person tweets under their own name and I appreciate that maybe that's a different ball game. I have the luxury of mostly being able to walk into any room and not owning up to my Twitter account - I look nothing like my icon and there must be a lot of Louise K
's in the world. However, most of the people I work with and some of my more tolerant of local government geeking friends still follow me.
I'm quite a fiery person. I'm quite an enthusiastic person. I'm quite er....animated when talking to people and have been known to sending things flying by accident. I don't do half measures in real life - why on earth should I do them online? The things which make me a good person to be around (most of the time) in real life, when I am standing in front of you arguing the hell about something completely random are the things which make me me.
Which is where I come to Diane Abbott. Because I called her on a tweet of hers. But I did it with no expectations of response, nor to censure. I don't expect to have to step on eggshells around anyone, never mind MP's. I expect to be able to call someone on being an idiot, careless or thoughtless, them to apologise if they feel they've genuinely done something wrong and then for us all to move on.
People make mistakes. People are always going to make mistakes. I make them, I own up to them, I apologise. I expect other people to do the same. And I am glad Diane Abbott explained about context and I am glad she was given the opportunity of redress and was not asked to stand down as one request made. I believe that you have the courage of your convictions and state your mind - but I also believe it is not a climbdown to explain context and nor is it a climbdown when someone has genuinely misinterpreted your tone of voice.
To thine own self be true. Say what you mean, love, hate and dream of clearly and succintly. That's what Twitter is for, that's what Twitter absolutely rocks at. Expect to be judged, expect to be laughed at occasionally, but understand this: if you are not true to yourself, you will spend all your time apologising and none learning, sharing, shaping or changing.
So that's my number one Twitter tip for 2012.