We’ve had a lot of horrible news this week, and inevitably that means a lot of tragedy tweeting. You know the sort of thing: a terror attack or a natural disaster happens, and everybody hops on the internet to share their reactions and emote ad nauseam. There’s not much point railing against this. Twitter is here to stay. But please — just so we don’t all go mad — can we lay down some basic DO NOT rules for tweeting in the wake of an appalling major news story? Below are the first eight that spring to mind, but please do add more…
1. Do not take to Twitter to say: ‘There aren’t words … Just pray4victims’. If you don’t have words to say, then shut up. If you want to pray, just pray. Don’t bloody well tell everyone else to. It’s obnoxious.
2. Equally, do not Tweet ‘It’s too soon to voice opinion on this tragedy’ – that’s fatuous, especially if you then try to voice an opinion on this tragedy.
3. Never EVER tweet exactly what you are seeing on a TV news channel with the words ‘BREAKING’. It’s moronic. Also, don’t spell it BREKAING just to convey the great urgency of your revelation.
4. Do not use Twitter to try to connect yourself to tragic events that have nothing to do with you, in the hope that someone will share your pain . Having an aunt who lives near Woolwich does not mean you are a victim. Having once drunk in a bar in Boston does not mean you are part of the city.
5. Do not tweet the words ‘WE ARE ALL [INSERT NAME OF SUFFERING GROUP] NOW’ – or make any other declaration of weird solidarity with the victims. It’s their tragedy not yours.
6. Do not search for a long and meaningful piece that is vaguely linked to the disaster and post a link to it saying ‘SEMINAL PIECE’ or ‘MUST READ’.
7. Do not make any grandiose statements along the lines of ‘Together we are STRONGER’ or ‘WE STAND UNITED’. It might make you feel better, but you just sound like a tit.
8. Do not ‘retweet’ any of the above offences. It makes you look even more preposterous.