Roseanne is cancelled. The rebooted TV show is cancelled. The reruns of the original show are cancelled. Roseanne Barr is, as the kids say, cancelled. And it’s all because of a single racist tweet (and, arguably, Barr’s long history of racist and problematic behaviour). Not even a hugely popular TV show could save her from this self-destruction.
Twitter has been around for more than a decade, and yet people are still regularly committing basic mistakes without thinking about the consequences. It doesn’t take much to go viral, and you definitely don’t have to be famous to have a tweet blow up in your face (though that helps, obviously). You might be a publicist flying to Africa or a kid about to start a job at a pizza place. If you use your social media to be publicly problematic, the Twitter machine will come for you. And they will demand your head — or at least your job. Anyone who thinks it’s all dogs and kitties so pure we don’t deserve them is living on another planet. There’s a side of Twitter that will eat you alive. And by this point, in 2018, you really, really should know how to avoid it.
Yet the Roseanne brouhaha tells us: We’re in urgent need of a refresher course in Twitter etiquette. Why should you listen to me? I’m not an expert. And that’s not my imposter syndrome speaking, I’m actually not an expert on this stuff. But I am someone with a teeny tiny Twitter following, a sense of humour, and a desire to make sure you’re not fucking it up online. Today, I haven’t prepared a lecture of well-researched talking points about how to navigate this sometimes hellish social media platform. But if you’re looking for a beginner’s guide on how to tweet and keep earning a living, then these tips are for you.
Are they obvious? Yes. Should you know better? Yes. Is it insane that we keep having this conversation? Yes. But here we are. So read on for five things you must do to make sure you’re never, ever fired because of something you share on Twitter.