Twitter is for yelling. I go on Twitter to yell, be yelled at, and to read slightly different takes and jokes about whatever we’re collectively yelling about that day. It’s not relaxing, but it is cathartic at times. In terms of Twitter-catharsis, nothing feels quite as good as the judiciously executed quote tweet.
Quote tweeting — retweeting someone else’s tweet with your own little take or comment — can be innocuous, hilarious, down-right cruel, or very ill-advised. Unless you’re doing it in a reply guy kind of way, supportive quote tweets are mostly welcome, and there’s usually nothing wrong with quote tweeting a brand, personality, or large outlet and adding your own little joke.
But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about wielding the power of the quote tweet to vanquish your enemies through public embarrassment.
As a woman with a chaotic online presence, I get yelled at sometimes, usually — but not always — by men. I also get condescended to, objectified and vaguely pestered. Not every instance of any of the above deserves a quote tweet. Sometimes ignoring is enough. My rules for quote tweeting, which I sometimes ignore, are but a loose guide to help you determine if you should quote tweet someone, or tweet a screenshot instead (like a coward).
Does this person truly deserve it?
Before you decide to quote tweet, ask yourself if this person is actually being an arsehole. Are they trying to upset and/or dehumanise you (or a friend), or are they being a little inappropriate and awkward? Are they being condescending, or clarifying something in a weird and stilted way? Depending on how many followers you have, you are inviting an online pile-on and encouraging public ridicule. Some people deserve this, but some people do not, so take a moment and consider which kind of person you’re dealing with.
You can tell a high quality woman by rubbing her on your teeth. If your teeth scratch the woman she is of low quality. https://t.co/zKL7Dv8NxE
— Claire Lower (@clairelizzie) August 19, 2019
If I quote tweeted every tweet that slightly annoyed me, I would never get anything done. Most people are, at some point or another, annoying, and a slightly horny comment or weird non sequitur does not warrant a quote tweet. I tend to reserve them for the truly sexist and idiotic, or the president (look at me being redundant). Also, I try not seek out people to publicly ridicule.
If a random person with 12 followers is spouting weird trolly shit to no one, quote tweeting is not only a waste of my time, it’s giving them the attention they crave. But if someone takes the time to @ me, and then uses that opportunity to try and make me feel bad, I’m probably going to quote tweet them.
I realise this might also be giving them the attention they crave, but I never said I was entirely consistent. (In the case of the above quote tweet, the man in question had replied to a friend of mine in a truly unhinged fashion, and I could not let it stand.)
Is it going to bring you unwanted attention?
Certain people are lightning rods with rabid fans, and tagging or quote tweeting them can turn you into the villain of the piece. For example, every time I tweet about Tim Allen, I get called a communist.
Still in awe at the amount of red baiting this Tim Allen tweet inspired pic.twitter.com/OaCyd3Z6iB
— Claire Lower (@clairelizzie) April 28, 2019
I don’t even have to tag him. I just make a joke about how Tim Allen is a narc or not funny and, before you know it, my mentions are full of red hat-wearers telling me to “watch the bachelor.”
Oh my goodness! A VOICE in a cartoon has a different political view than you do. The horror!????What will you do? So hard to be labeled tolerant and then....
— Adrienne????????✝️ (@yoadriennetx) June 10, 2019
This is mostly hilarious, but it’s a good reminder to check the online popularity of the person you are attempting to drag. If they have many more followers than you, perhaps you should take the screenshot route, and put some asterisks in their name for good measure (if you name them).
Fans can get really scary, and angering the wrong fan base can (unfortunately) lead to harassment or (in some extreme cases) doxxing. If you ever feel truly threatened, don’t quote tweet, block and report, and alert the authorities, if appropriate.
Is it going to be funny?
Twitter is a bleak place, which is why I try to add an element of humour to even the most insane tweets and replies I receive. If I cannot make a joke out of it, or if it’s just too boring of an offence, I’ll ignore it, and block and report if necessary.
Darkly humorous content is one thing, but tired, bland, mildly offensive content is just a bummer, and there are enough bummers bumming everyone out as it is.