I spend a lot of time on Twitter. And let me tell you folks: it’s a great place to expend a few thousand of the finite number of hours any of us has on this lonely little blue sphere. From the subversive politics of the most recent Marvel flick to the relative merits of the latest celebrity commencement address, to the sheer offensiveness of the latest offensive thing, it’s truly a place where important debates are happening!
Unfortunately, many of these conversations are not as productive as they could be. This is because many of you still do not understand how to best make use of this new digital domain. As a grizzled veteran, I’d like to offer a few tips which will help you make every interaction as constructive as possible.
- Whether you’re out to initiate an argument or just joining an existing one, make your entry or lede as hostile and abrupt as possible. There is no time for equivocation, nuance, or becoming educated about a thread or all sides of an issue before jumping in.
- All conversations on Twitter should be understood as open, unrestricted warfare. Your goal should be nothing less than the total defeat and decimation of anyone who challenges or questions your position.
- When responding to your opponent’s tweets, do not answer directly. Instead, use the Quote feature to add your own comment as an addendum to whatever it is they have said. Think of it like you’re talking about someone right in front of you as if they aren’t actually in the room, just like you’d do with a friend, partner, family member, or co-worker. Where possible, lead with a rhetorical question written in ALL CAPS that calls out your opponent’s last tweet. “SERIOUSLY?!”, “WTF?!”, “IS THIS A JOKE?!”, “HAVE WE REACHED PEAK HYPOCRISY?!” are all effective in this regard. In doing so, you are not being passive aggressive: you are being dominant.
- A good way to throw a prospective challenger off of their proverbial toes is to be as hyperbolic as you can be right out of the gate. DO escalate the thread as quickly as possible and DO NOT back down, regardless of how your titular nemesis responds. Be sure to tell them how wrong they are and look for any misuse of language and/or spelling errors which you can call out in a carefully orchestrated fit of histrionics designed to instantly rally anyone observing the scene to your cause.
- Assume from the outset that your opponent has only the worst intentions in engaging you. A person would not be disagreeing with your latest Hot Take unless they harboured a sinister agenda designed to obstruct progress or were born with some essential piece of their soul missing.
- If you find yourself on the defensive, feel free to undermine your interlocutor’s sincerity or intellectual credibility by any means necessary. Do this by quickly skimming their Twitter feed and look for anything which may help you impugn their motives or virtue. Absolutely nothing is off limits.
- All attempts at conciliation should be regarded as signs of weakness. In the event that your opponent concedes a point you’ve introduced, in whole or in part, use this as an opportunity to strike with as powerful and incendiary a broadside as you can muster.
- If, following said broadside, your opponent still refuses to stand up again and fight, segue as abruptly as possible into a debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Never feel guilty about hurt feelings. Your interlocutor’s injured sense of self worth is but the first birth pang of the new civilization.
- Remember that the only valid mode of argumentation is individual anecdote. If you feel something strongly, that means it must be true. Anyone saying otherwise is trying to undermine your right to free speech.
- The best resources for bolstering your argument will always be whatever your talking head of choice has most recently said about the issue at hand. Nothing is required to establish validity, beyond their sheer self-righteousness which you should feel free to ride like a majestic creature of the sea rides the surf.
- Make copious use of unverified blog posts and websites, mined from the deepest crevices of the internet which you can excavate. This will demonstrate that you are not victim of establishment thinking.
- Having followed the above, and inevitably triumphed, give your opponent a few days to cool off. Having done this, wait for the opportune moment to remind them of the conversation and your astounding victory in the battle of wits that was. If they happen to follow you, try doing this by subtweeting regularly until they are provoked into taking the bait.
- Repeat steps 1-13 as needed.