So, did you feel annoyed at any point today? The chances are you did. Listening to the news, travelling to work. It certainly seems like there’s a lot of anger about these days.

And nowhere is that more apparent than Twitter, where we are quick to judge and quick to criticise. A rant now and again is one thing. but relentless, insulting and abusive comments are another. We see too many journalists and public figures being forced off Twitter by ‘professional’ trolls who thrive on the anonymity networking sites afford. If you’re angry and your solution is to scream in someone’s face, it’s never going to end well.

I’m a big fan of Twitter, the levelling, democratic platform it provides. But the limited word capacity means opinions are less nuanced and often appear one dimensional. And then there is tone which is a whole different subject. I’m sad to see Twitter used as a weapon; the judge, jury and executioner in the world’s largest court. Disagreement needs a listening ear, understanding, time to cool off and discuss the (often) complex issues. Twitter is a place to build relationships, not break them.

It’s a reminder of not just how to ‘talk’ to people online but how and where to convey your message. If you use the right medium your voice will be heard, and more importantly you can inspire change. Consider WCRS and MHP who launched the ‘Missing Type’ campaign for the NHS Blood and Transplant service, urging people to come forward and give blood. This played perfectly to Twitter’s strengths, and big brands from Waterstones to Odeon dropped the ‘A’ ‘B and ‘O’ from their profile. The Twitter community did what it does best and reacted in a very positive and peer-led show of support, ultimately leading to 30,000 new donors. The principle is simple if a little more difficult to execute. Communicate a positive message and you are much more likely to achieve success…Breathe, rewind, take a moment.

Lorraine Bridges
Director, Bare PR