Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Thoughts: Are you what you tweet?

Random question, I know, but it is a thought that I've had for a while now. When Facebook changed its interface and introduced the timeline – I was able to check out my Facebook presence from the day I signed up! 

It was rather creepy looking at my life on display like that – from falling in love, heart-break, lonely days, angry times and drunken status updates. All I know is I deleted a lot of posts and have since limited how much of myself I put on Facebook [a year break from the social network platform also helped].

Anyway back to “Are you what you tweet”. Twitter is a bit of different ball game – with 140 characters – it has proved to be an easier platform to share snippets of thought. I'm way too lazy to check out my tweets from when I started [I'm at 17 000 plus tweets].  But I can tell you now that I've started playing it very safe on the network.

Most recent stats report that there are 5.5 Million active South African users. Of that 5.5 Million about 800 follow me. Some people who follow me have more than 2000 followers. If any of them Retweet me on any given day – that means my “thought” reached more than 800 people. Some of those people that read my tweets will probably never know me; their only interaction with Tokiso will be with @TokisoM.

With all that in mind, who is TokisoM to these people, does it matter? Should it matter? In a traditional context when I'm interacting with people, there are limits in terms of what I discuss depending who I discuss it with. How I interact with my friends, is very different to how I interact with my brother and how I interact with my boss.

On twitter – unless your account is locked – anybody can follow you. So how does one balance the content that it is a real presentation of you? I don’t know. I follow a wide variety of people, some who openly speak about intimate issues, others who challenge our current state of affairs and others who share their life as it happens.

I don’t know where I fit in but I know I've limited the sharing of my life as it happens. Why? I'm uncomfortable with the idea that someone I’ll never meet could start up a conversation about the happenings in my life over tea with a friend.

I know I've done it with a friend. And with this increase in followers – the less intimate details people know about me the more I'm comfortable.

Am I what I tweet? Well yes! I tweet the things I wouldn't mind chatting to my boss, mother, brother and a stranger at a conference about. That’s how I govern my tweets. Do I care what people think about me? Yes!

I've sat with inspirational game-changers who after a meeting said “What’s your twitter handle or can I add you on my Facebook?” And I enjoy just dishing it out to them knowing that all my ugly is kept in a journal or discussed with a friend over a very cold Gin and Tonic.

One might argue that does that mean one shouldn't be their authentic self on social media? Well, I think if we are going to not have boundaries of sorts on social media, we should not have them everywhere else. Speak to clients, friends, family, your boss and colleagues the exact same way.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you your tweets...

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