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  • Zeb Carlson

Oh, Twitter

Let's be real: When you need a pick-me-up, is Twitter the first place you go for a boost?

With an administration that governs through trolling, we're becoming normalized to this tone on the platform. Blatant racism, negativity, fighting, this the right place for your brand? While not abandoning the platform altogether, is there a way to make it work for you? And is Twitter just getting a bad rap?

While 71% of people are getting their news aggregated from Twitter, it's also the platform where negativity and mean behavior seems to be the most prevalent. Check out these stats from Amnesty:

  • Women are abused on Twitter every 30 seconds.

  • Black women were disproportionately targeted, being 84% more likely than white women to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets. 1 out of every 10 tweets mentioning black women was abusive or problematic, compared to 1 in 15 for white women.

  • 7.1% — 1.1 million total tweets — of tweets sent to the women in the study were problematic or abusive.

  • Black and minority ethnic women were 34% more likely to be mentioned in abusive or problematic tweets than white women.


What's a mission-driven organization to do? Here are a few tips that I share with my clients when creating a strategy for social platforms.

If you can't articulate your thought in 280 characters, then don't publish that tweet.

Having a limitation of characters means you need to be concise: That's GOOD. But with the nuance and complexity of the areas on which we focus, it can be a tricky beast to share a fully realized thought in such a short space and can easily misrepresent your intentions. Maybe a Facebook post, blog post, email, or even a community event is a much better place for this, right?

Who ya sitting next to?

Think about when you are seated by the crabbiest person in the room. Or, if you have a place next to someone who's beliefs are completely opposed to yours. It shines a dark cloud, doesn't it? It's the same on Twitter, and consider how you want to show up in the end-users feed. Do you want your pro-civil rights message showing up next to white nationalism, bullying, or crude comments about POC? You can't play musical chairs on Twitter, folks.


Kindness trolling and virtue signaling are strategies that, while involved, may pay off. Think Patton Oswald, right? If consistent with your voice and tone, disrupting the morose vibes can potentially offer relief for your brand.

And remember, not everyone is participating in the ugliness on Twitter so creating a follow strategy that reinforces your positive energy is a good move. The most prolific tweeters are responsible for 80% of all tweets, including original tweets, retweets, and quote tweets, and we tend to get caught up in the bad, remembering that evil tweet from an enemy. Again, disrupting all this isn't easy, but it may be a bountiful strategy for your brand.

What's your end game?

Why is your brand on Twitter in the first place? What is the purpose of the channel as it links to your comms strategy? Are you using it to break through the ugliness? For event engagement? Take the time to figure out your overall channel strategy; it's time well spent. And if you need a boost, give me a call :)

Here are a few more stats about Twitter:

  • There are approximately 500 million tweets sent every day.

  • 45% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 use Twitter.

  • 9% more people are using Twitter on a daily basis

  • While monthly users decrease, the number of daily users has been increasing consistently since 2016.

Questions or comments? Give me a buzz.




Pew Research Center

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