Twitter-ese – That’s CRAZY talk.


June 28, 2011 by Rhi

There’s not many of my real life friends on twitter, and amongst those who are, few of them use the site for the same reason I do. I often tell them about debates I’ve had online, but many of them express disbelief that actual grownups could call other people names from a computer screen. It does all seem a little silly sometimes, but it’s only from watching debates from a neutral standpoint that you can appreciate the hilarity of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object – even on the most high brow of subjects.

I had become a little disillusioned with twitter recently. Now that I’ve got rid of my stalker (or at least, my stalker and hangers on no longer darken my doorstep by tweeting me after every perceived slight), it’s much quieter. I’ve had some really interesting debates on there, with some very clever people. But I’ve realised that, in recent times, my conversations have been with people who are capable of reasoned debate. By reasoned debate, I mean they don’t take the existence of someone with an opposing view as a personal insult.

So to try and encourage my friends who are yet to dip their toe into twitter’s murky green sludge, I decided to have a little trundle through some hashtags relating to recent events, and see what has been said. This has enabled to me to produce a fun guide to the people to avoid when debating stuff on twitter. Those whose language skills often run out before their ire does. Basically, this is how the crazies talk. Here’s the rundown of my top “Look Out, They’re Bonkers” lines.

#1 – They Say:

“@xyz is quite clearly mistaken. See my blog here: @bob, @guardian. @bbc, @theworldandhisfeckingwife”

They Mean:

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, and I want to increase the hits on my blog. Because I have self worth issues, and knowing people read my warblings makes me feel more intelligent.

I’m not talking about someone flagging up a new blog post, or even responding to the writings of someone else. This is someone writing something, and then tweeting it to randomly connected twitter users, in the vain hope someone will take notice of them. Even though they’re just a pocket politico with a chip on both shoulders.

#2 – They Say:

“@abc. Have you SEEN what @lmnop has been saying? Don’t know where to start! LOL!”

They Mean:

I’m getting my arse handed to me on a plate, please come help.

This is basically the twitter equivalent of a tag out.

#3 – They Say:

“@wxyz – you clearly misunderstand me. It’s more nuanced that.”

They Mean:

I’ve painted myself into a corner, and I’m trying to make you think I haven’t said what I actually did say, by passing the buck of comprehension onto the reader, rather than taking responsibility for my own lack of clear English. Plus nuanced makes me sound dead smart.

This is also linked to the twitter adage “Tweet in haste, regret for the next 24 hours as much cleverer people line up to tear apart your argument”.

#4 – They Say

“Am very fed up of ad hominem attacks here. Engage with my argument, people?”

They Mean:

I haven’t yet worked out that the reason people often argue with me is because I express abhorrent views.

My own experience is that people who litter their ripostes with the phrase “ad homs”, don’t actually understand the proper meaning of the phrase. Know that, and you’ve got them by the short and curlies.

#5 – They Say:

“My *** has nothing to do with this.”

They Mean:

Hey buddy – only I get to choose whether I can use my personal circumstances to further my point or elicit sympathy from bystanders when I can’t think of anything else to say.

Subjects which induce the rage include children (or lack of them), personal income, private education, or anything which highlights the real reason why someone is taking a particular angle on a subject. 

#6 – They Say:

“LOL @ Honey Sundial/ Hari/@pennyred in the Grauniad today. Such poor writing. Don’t know why people keep commissioning them, tbh”

They Mean:

*fume* I can’t understand why the Guardian don’t ask me to write for them. I’m clever. I’m dead clever.

This one pisses me off A LOT. If you’re going to debate with someone, you have to approach with a level of mutual respect. If you’re going to take the piss out of someone’s fucking NAME before you even BEGIN to engage with his/her opinions – that’s playground stuff, kids. Play nice, and try to show some intellect. If you haven’t got anything better than a name pun to kick off with, I’m going to assume you have the brain of a 10 year old.

#7 – They Say:

“Read my newest piece of comment here –”

They Mean:

I’m a real serious writer, look. People listen to what I’ve got to say. YOU SHOULD LISTEN! LISTEN DAMN YOU! I’M RIGHT!

There are lots and lots of websites out there. A lot of them take stuff from anyone. By all means, you should be extremely proud of your achievement. But, there’s not often a lot of editorial involved – beyond the basic “is this going to get us sued?” Seeing it in writing outside your own blog, does not automatically put you above others. A little humility goes a long way when you want people to actually listen to what you’re saying.

#8 – They Say

“Go away, I’m bored with you now. I’ve got no time for flamers. You are trolling my feed just looking for things to complain about”

They Mean:

I have absolutely nothing to offer in terms of being able to rebuff your argument. Stop being mean to me, you nasty person, you.

Many MANY tweeters who bite off more than they can chew eventually accuse people of being flamers. For the record, a flamer is not someone who merely takes you to task for expressing a poorly realised opinion. That’s called debate. Or sometimes whipping your ass. Just saying…

This is by no means an exhaustive list; I’m sure there’s plenty that people can think of to add. Any of these phrases flag up a massive AVOID button over that user when I’m watching hashtags. There’s a real joy in debating an interesting issue with someone who obviously knows their stuff. Debating with someone who takes your disagreement as a personal insult, amusing though it may be for a short time, will inevitably end with them watching your feed with eagle eyes, and popping up at the most inopportune moments to scream at you for hours. They often bring “friends” with them, to fill your mentions feed with apoplectic jibberish and use your refusal to give a shit as evidence of weakness. They are, in short, a Qwerty short of a keyboard.

Twitter is the place where I go to have fun, talk to people, and read some exceptionally clever people explaining things that I’m too slow to pick up – and also to call people out when I think they’re in the wrong. Avoid the people who speak twitter-ese, and you’ll have much more fun.


3 thoughts on “Twitter-ese – That’s CRAZY talk.

  1. spekti says:

    Ah Miss Bint, some very funny and interesting examples there.

    However I feel you are too broad in your reasoning.

    I think that to judge any of the comments as ‘secret meaning which shows up twitterer’s ignorance’, you need to be able to put it in context.

    If we take ‘Go away flamers!’ to mean ‘I have no good reply’ then what do we do when there are actual flamers around? Of course you can ignore people (the best way) but if a comment in which you declare your decision to no longer participate in an argument is read as ‘I have run out of arguments’, then people who ARE being obnoxious and vile think they have won. I mean, how long would you continue an argument about plate tectonics with a Flat-Earther? If you choose to say ‘Please, don’t argue any more, you are too ignorant’ they will dance around going ‘Haha! Told you! You can’t argue, I’m right and you’re wrong!’.

    Also, I think it is true in many cases that twitter/facebook/chatrooms is GENUINELY not the proper forum for a subject, and in that case it is fair to say ‘it is more nuanced’, or even link to your blog where you explain everything you believe in detail. Why should people have to continue a back and forth 140 character argument about their opinions on, for example, public healthcare, if they wrote a considered essay about it last week that they can conveniently link to?

  2. Ah Jim, you think too much!

    As you’re probably aware, REAL flamers are actually quite funny. And quite easy to shoot down without resorting to name calling. I always think that to accuse someone of flaming is a little disingenuous – flaming is quite obvious and rarely needs pointing out. But I’ve see several occasions where someone tweets some outrageous comment, eg “The Earth is flat.”, and when twitter picks them up on it, they’ll bleat that they are “being flamed”, as though the rest of us have nothing else to do but to sit watching their feed/hashtags, and waiting for them to speak.

    And the golden rule is, never pay any attention to other people’s attacks! It’s a name on a pooter screen, and no one important. If someone is being a knob, you don’t have to tell them. Just, y’know – don’t let it bother you. Never call a flamer a flamer – it always looks like you’re losing the argument, because you’re resorting to name calling. If someone is SO stupid, you can’t even have a reasonable debate with them, it’ll be obvious to anyone else who’s reading the exchange. Stop talking to them, and BLOCK.

    As for the nuanced, I’ve seen it used often (to the extent that I can’t bear to use the word myself), to represent someone making a broad, sweeping statement – only to try to alter the meaning at a later date. Used in it’s proper context, it will be perfectly clear – but it’s such a weasly word, unless used in the correct context. And yes, I did say that linking to your blog is perfectly normal. However, spamming the world and his wife directly with a link to your 5,000 word blog post on the dangers of eating cheese at bedtime, always looks a little desperate to me. If it’s good, it’ll be picked up through people RT’ing it. In any case, no one HAS to carry on debating in 140 characters or less, but people often do. I’d rather talk to someone, rather than be fobbed off with the blog post. That to me says “I’m too important to talk to you, read the book and then we’ll talk”. It’s cheating!

  3. Anonymous says:

    completely agree – especially the ad hom bit, and she certainly doesn’t know what it means. And yes her views are abhorrent.

Tell me what you're thinking...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: