How to Politely Handle a Negative Tweet

Have you ever seen improper rude tweet about yourself?

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #156


Being the Modern Manners Guy has allowed me the opportunity to meet tons of people I never would have before, and I am incredibly thankful for it.  But no matter how much I enjoy hearing and seeing nice things posted about me, I also know you never know who is waiting on the other side of the Twittersphere to be rude and nasty--in 140 characters or less. 

How to Handle a Negative Tweet

So what happens when you see a negative or improper tweet about you? Well, the worst thing you can do is immediately fire off a rude tweet back. Don’t do that. Instead, follow my three tips on how to deal with receiving a rude or negative tweet.

Twitter Tip #1:  Don’t Panic

I try to be as active as possible on Twitter with daily posts and retweets, and there are times when I see a tweet that disagrees with my opinions or my beliefs. Now, before I go on, please don’t stop sending them if you have in the past. I am firm believer in openly debating opinions and having discussions. Having an ongoing dialogue is a great way to grow as a writer and advice columnist.

You have to be the most egotistical jerk on the planet to believe your opinion is the only one, or let alone fact (Um, Glenn Beck anyone?). If you think this way, you should not be sharing your views at all. If I see someone expressing opinions that disagree with mine on Twitter, I just go with the flow. There is no need to panic. I mean, it’s okay if ERColgate2001 doesn’t agree with me; she has a right to disagree.

And, even if it someone’s opinion goes against your own, it doesn’t make them wrong. True, their approach to disagreeing may have been rather unmannerly, but you have to know that if you open the door for a debate, you have to accept other people’s opinions. And panicking is just the result they wanted. If someone openly tries to argue with you on Twitter, they are hoping they will attract attention and gain followers. They also hope you are freaking out when you see it.  It’s like when an ex walks around town with their new love interest right in front of you, waiting for you to react. Here, like on Twitter, you just need to play it cool. 

Twitter Tip #2:  Don’t Fall Into the Trap 

Along with not panicking comes tip #2--never fall into a trap that has you digging out of an embarrassing hole of rude comments. If someone is trying to bait you into an argument on Twitter, chances are the madder you’ll get the more improper your behavior will become.

Let’s take a look at Charlie Sheen… please, for this article only. Anyone remember how great #winning went over? Funny in the beginning, but now it’s about as big a punch line as “pull my finger.”

So, what do you do to prevent falling into a Twitter trap? Think before you tweet. And either ignore it or attack it with some humor. In the 90s hit movie Roxanne, Steve Martin is harassed by a bully because of his rather large nose.  The bully wants to pick a fight, but Steve takes the high road, responding with a whole slew of witty responses—and the laughter of others makes the bully feel quite low.

So when it comes to Twitter bullies, take a note from fictional Steve Martin characters and respond with a quip. It’s amazing what can be said with 140 characters, or in this case NOT said. However, thanks for the thought and keep em’ coming! when it comes to bullies –in person or online - you need to take a stand. Again, don’t fall into the rude tweeter’s trap by responding angrily and with rude tweets you’ll later regret.

Twitter Tip #3: Disagree Politely

In this day and age, a person’s online reputation is just as important as their in-person reputation.  That means not being rude in your Twitter life (and every other social media site for that matter).  . You can of course be a rabble rouser, but in a polite way.  Tweeting “I totally disagree with MMG on this one,” is fine; tweeting MMG is such a @#$% moron is not. You’re more likely to have a good debate—that followers will actually respect—if you take this tack. And when someone ignores this tip and is rude to you, remember tips 1 and 2: don’t panic or fall into their trap.

It’s never nice to see someone disagree with you, but displaying proper etiquette when seeing a rude tweet is something you’ll thank yourself for later.

Do you have a great story about how you handled poor etiquette or Twitter? Post them on my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page so we can all hear the details. As always, if you have another manners question, I’m look forward to hearing from you so drop me a line at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. As well, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT. And of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips. 

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