Angry Tweets

Curses - The Anti-Social MediaI had to stop myself from tweeting an angry tweet last week.

I was driving home from work, and I was behind a bus. The street I was on has bus lanes at many of the stops, and the buses pull into these when they stop. It’s a win-win situation. Traffic keeps moving, and public transportation is valuable.

But I got caught behind the one bus driver that refused to stop in the bus lanes. At 6 pm on a weekday when you just want to get home, it’s enough to gouge your eyes out.

In my rage, I had to stop myself from tweeting this:

“Seriously city of Raleigh bus!? You can’t stop in the clearly marked bus lane during rush hour? Way to make my drive home hell.”

Ugh. I feel dirty even typing it out like that. Like that would have done anything to make public transportation better in Raleigh. Even worse, what value does that have for my followers?

If anything, some poor bus drivers may have gotten chewed out, or maybe a passive aggressive memo reminding bus drivers to use the lanes would have been issued. Maybe some people would have unfollowed me because I’m an angry jerk. Either way, by the time I would have tweeted, I was already comfortably at home, and my mild annoyance was waning.

Would customer service had even made a difference?  As someone who helps businesses use social networks, I see the value in tweets like that. But what’s the tipping point to take action? One angry tweet from a slightly influential user? One tweet from any user? Or a large amount of feedback from many users of different influence? What even counts as many users? 10? 20? 100?

There is value in online customer service. But should the places we use to connect with other people for fun be that place? Since when did it become appropriate to vent online anyways?

Do you tweet angry tweets? What do you do when you see them from other users? Do you think they make a difference, or are they just venting in to the void?

And any angry tweets about this post will be catalogued for future feedback.

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19 Responses to “Angry Tweets”

  1. Morgan August 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Twitter was made so that you could talk about anything and everything within 140 characters. Sure, it has a little different purpose these days, but people still use it as a platform to talk, vent, discuss, whatever. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with venting about something on Twitter.

    You never know who’s listening. I know it seems improbable that one tweet can ‘change the world’, but you really never know. That one tweet could have at least brought the attention to someone.

    • Jay August 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      So true. But isn’t it more effective I wrote a whole blog post about how much I hate that bus?

  2. Camilo Olea August 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to read an Angry Social Media Nerd telling me not to tweet angry tweets. I will never come back to this site and obviously, this will make your business fail. Because I’m important like that.

    No, seriously, I love to vent on Twitter. Of course, I have a “private”, closed account to do so. In my other accounts I basically vomit unicorns and rainbows every day.

    I’d say it is therapeutic. Sometimes I get really funny and sarcastic replies to my rants, which make me laugh very much.

    • C Hipke August 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

      See, I did that too. 2 personal twitter accounts = twice the headache to me. Besides, I am not always, as an actual person, vomiting unicorns and rainbows. So I gave up on it on social media.

      Am I COMPLETELY myself on Twitter? Probably not. I like to think I’m Professional Me, which, probably won’t tweet complete Queen of Rage, Nastiness, and Doom, but also won’t (I deeply hope) tweet unicorn and rainbow vomit. I use sarcasm. I crack jokes. I share great things and the occasional mild annoyance, but I generally keep the anger and completely cutting evilness that occasionally roils in my brain close to the social media vest. Generally. Because, overall, it is a waste. Of my time, your time, the Library of Congress’s time…

      • Camilo Olea August 26, 2011 at 10:21 am #

        Maybe its not so much of a hedache to me because I’ve always been an internet freak. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve handled multiple email accounts. Now I handle multiple social media accounts. Maybe I’m just crazy, I dont know.

        But I agree, even on my “public, nice” profiles, I’m not COMPLETELY myself. In my “private” profiles I’m more like myself but still, dont say everything I think. There are some thoughts of mine that would probably “scare” people or whatever.

        And yeah, I use sarcasm a lot and enjoy doing so. Saludos!

    • Jay August 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Hey - I’m angry at the system and the stupid users. You do what you want, I’ll just tell you if you’re doing it wrong.

  3. Shelley Pringle August 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    I haven’t sent an angry tweet…yet. In general, I think it’s OK to vent online (Twitter or elsewhere) as long as you’ve tried to solve your problem through other channels first. There are some companies that just don’t get customer service. It’s so frustrating to deal with them on seemingly simple things. If they’re not going to pay attention when you call, write or email, they deserve to be criticized publicly. It can definitely make a difference. One of my colleagues was waiting (for days!) for the furnace repair man to show up. He never came when he was supposed to and her kids were freezing without heat (I live in Toronto). So she tweeted about it. And guess what? Her furnace was fixed pretty quickly.

    • Jay August 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

      How the hell have you not seen an angry tweet? I’ll send one just for you.

  4. Niall Harbison August 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    It’s funny how it is the first place to turn these days. I always give out about stuff on Twitter and even about people (footballers etc) without ever thinking that those people could actually be reading it. It’s the anonomitity of the whole thing I suppose that makes it so easy to give out

    • Jay August 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      It’s all anonymous until you put your name to it in any way.

  5. Joe Clay August 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    I’ve tweeted about a lot of stupid things than annoy me online. People probably think I’m really angry. Some things piss me off, but I’m not really an angry person. I often tweet funny or happy things. I just hate it when people do stupid things (often purposely) or treat people unfairly, or unjustly.

    Honestly, I often tweet about things that you can tell are messed up because someone took a short cut in their job that a first year graduate wouldn’t do and they’re charging you a lot of money for the privilege of using said shortcut.

    Or sometimes I tweet about consumer injustices. Sometimes I tweet about stupid things that happen in politics.

    I’ve gotten a few responses to tweets from companies, and all of it was positive and solved the problem, and I made sure to tweet about how they fixed the issue.

    As for those on my feed, I haven’t really lost anyone, and no one has complained. I keep it back if I can, but otherwise I let it rip. I’m not going to change who I am to suit my followers. Most of them reply back that the same things annoy them, so perhaps I’ve attracted like-minded followers.

    For the most part it’s venting, no doubt. I think it’s healthier than just keeping the anger to myself. My wife sometimes asks me why I keep telling her about the idiot that just ran me off on the road or whatever and I explain that I just want to tell my story—to know that at least one person heard about it.

    I’m sorry to give such a lengthy response, but I feel passionate about this issue. The thing I hate the most in the world is letting an asshole continue to be an asshole. I no longer take crap from people if I can avoid it, and sometimes twitter is the only way that I can at least call them out on it. Even if they never know, at least someone else does. Hopefully that explains my position well enough.

    • Camilo Olea August 26, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      Yeah, what he said. +1

    • Jay August 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

      Passionate about anger. Isn’t hat called rage in some circles?

      I know how you feel though, I’m just worried about the balance between keeping my appearances and keeping the world in check.

      • Joe Clay August 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

        I’m not passionate about anger, lol. I’m passionate about the issue of expressing it online. I would say that rage is uncontrollable anger.

  6. Joe Clay August 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    I should also mention that often, when I’m angry about something a piece of software does, if there’s a way to suggest an alternative to how something works, I do that instead. I even do that with Adobe, even though their problems often can seem to be attributed to laziness, since that is how they are perceived as a company by most.

    • Jay August 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      I hate lazy software. It drives me nuts.

  7. Michael Said August 28, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    I am usually very mindful of what I post anywhere on the Internet, you never know when it will come back and bite you on the a$$$

    • Jay August 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

      I hate when things bite me in the a$$$, but it hurts more when they bite my ass.

    • Joe Clay August 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

      This is also true. I post accordingly, and I never try to be an asshole about it. Or an a$$$hole for that matter.