Consideration number one: maybe your opinion not worth posting online. Consider this, teenagers are capable of being mean to one another—give them a keyboard and this can take place online. The phenomenon of online banter goes by many names: trolling, flame-baiting, flame wars, and subtweeting. Although I do admire those who stand up for their beliefs and friends, let’s face it, jumping into an argument on twitter is not always worth it. Throughout a few years teaching, I’ve had numerous students whose feelings have gotten hurt over pointless arguments online. Sometimes it takes a bigger person ignore antagonistic tweets and realize that there will always be people that want to pick at your flaws. Don’t let them get a rise out of you, and you will end a flame war before it starts.
Consideration number two: Sometimes it takes more than 140 characters to express your opinion. Recently a colleague of mine was explaining his opinion on a topic online about a meeting where we ran out of time. This is a great way to continue the conversation, but after a couple tweets of the opposing opinion surfaced, there was a long debate in a public forum about matters that don’t concern the public. Furthermore, the debate, although it was a good discussion, would be so much smoother in a format where people can type more than 140 characters and fully explain your opinion. Twitter is a great means to spread simple news, share links and resources. If you have a long opinion piece, I suggest writing a blog (like this one) or some other format and tweeting a headline with a link to get your message out there.
In closing, there is a place and a time for all things: many ways to express your opinions, and other things that are best to ignore. This is a call for discretion: if you want to share your opinion, do it in a manner than promotes discussion instead of trolling or pouring more gasoline on a fire. Your opinion has value, uniqueness is invaluable, and there are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to share it. And occasionally, your ideas, like feces, belong in the toilet instead of online. Please think before posting, “would I care to read this?” And have the maturity to take feedback from others with a grain of salt. Happy tweeting.