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How Twitter Posts Sometimes Spark Controversy and Misunderstanding

How Twitter Posts Sometimes Spark Controversy and Misunderstanding
on April, 30 2014

Image credit: Hashtags by DjAvrilPerry90 under Public Domain.

We have already seen a lot of people who have been under public scrutiny and criticism simply because they posted an inappropriate tweet. Some others even reached the point of settling their issues legally. Those who have said something against their employers were fired or reprimanded. Though in most instances, the tweets were deliberately made to criticize or ridicule, it is not applicable in all cases. Some people even wonder why their post was highly criticized.

Factors Affecting the Interpretation of Twitter Posts

Twitter limits the posts to only 140 characters. Some people try to replace long words with something shorter even if the actual meaning could be jeopardized. There are also those who want to explain something more, but are forced to just post the first few words even if they are open to different explanations. This limitation obstructs people from explaining themselves well especially in cases where 140 characters are not enough.

• As a result of the character limit, some people are forced to use abbreviations or shortcuts just to fit in everything they say. In many cases, these abbreviations have various meanings. In fact, in some countries, these abbreviations might be something bad or impolite. Worse, if the bad meaning of the abbreviation fits in the actual meaning of the post, then it becomes controversial.

• A lot of people post something in Twitter when they are at the height of their emotions. When they are angry or furious, they just type whatever it is that they think of. They don’t even bother to explain. They also don’t care even if they swear. For people who are expected to set good examples or are paid to be role models, this could spell disaster. Hence, celebrities or sports stars are so vulnerable to breach of contract just because of a single Twitter post.

• Some people who may not post something controversial make use of hashtags that may spark controversy. Hashtags are used to express more words or themes related to the post that cannot be expressed due to the character limit. Sometimes, the 140 character post does not say anything controversial or lead to any clue, but the hashtags say it all.

How to Avoid Being Misinterpreted in Twitter

There are a lot of ways to ensure that you won’t be under fire just because of one Twitter post. Here are some tips to consider:

• When you are at the peak of your emotions, stay out of Twitter or any social media in general. This will just make you say something irresponsible that you may regret in the end.

• Be careful with every word you say. If you are unsure, don’t post it. If your post can be misinterpreted or will be vulnerable to several meanings, then don’t post it yet.

• If you think the 140-character post won’t explain your thoughts, then write a blog instead. This will allow you to write as much as you want.

• Be optimistic. Transform your anger into something good. Instead of being bitter, quote something positive.

• Always think of the people around you who will be affected because of your being irresponsible of your words. If you don’t care about what other people will think about you, then at least, care about the people you love.

These days, social media allow us to just say whatever we want. However, anything that we say always comes with responsibility. Otherwise, we might suffer the consequences of our actions.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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