Mind your Manners : Twitter Snitch Tagging

I am not an avid Twitter user. I have an account, I consume tweets sometimes and I even interact with some of Blognation there now and again. I wouldn’t classify myself as a regular user or even that interested in the platform – let alone take the time to blog about it. Except for an article I read this morning which rubbed me the wrong way. And normally I don’t mind being rubbed.

The article is here, go ahead, and enjoy the read.

I actually thought it was satire at first.I thought I was reading the Beaverton, or The Onion, but no.  If you don’t want to read it here is the basics of it – and I have never even heard of the term “Snitch Tagging”.

The general notion of Snitch Tagging is that when people are talking about you, in a public forum, they should be able to do so privately. And the act of “snitch tagging” is when a third party who reads you referencing or talking about somebody “tags” them in the thread so they are aware.

For example.

  • @ihaspc tweets – “I am a WAY BETTER Blogger than Bhagpuss. I can’t believe people read his stuff”.
  • @memyselfandI tweets – “@Bhagpuss”

And somehow, many people have a huge problem with this. It is akin to “I want to publically shame/criticise/make fun of/reference these people in a global, OPEN forum, but I don’t want them to know it is me!”

That is such bullshit.

First off I never say anything about someone I wouldn’t say to their face. That is just good manners. And if I have a problem with something someone said or did, I should approach them about it. If I am not comfortable with that, then i should just just keep my mouth twitter shut.  At bare minimum, if I want to talk about someone and them not know about it – I can do that in private, direct messages to my friends. (I still don’t do that). Or, just say it, and who cares. But don’t get mad at people for letting subject matter people know how you are sharing your non-private thoughts in a global, public forum about them.

Is this old school thinking? Where and how do people think it is fair and fine to talk about people – in a completely open, global forum, and be upset that someone else made the person aware?

In fact, I believe it should be the opposite – that Twitter should automatically notify someone when their handle / organisation is referenced.

In the article, the reason they use is that less people are sharing less information. BUT – if you are sharing a personal opinion, you should be able to defend or stand by it. If you are sharing facts, you have nothing to worry about. The only people that have anything to worry about when sharing information about someone or an organisation is if they are trying to slander them or use it for their personal benefit. Or hide behind their computer screen.

I can’t see any reason why this is an issue – is this an age / demographic thing? Am I missing something that is actually important here? Or am I just taking crazy pills?


8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Maybe it -is- a demographic thing: young ‘uns growing up in an age where everyone is online and connected, and everything is shared and publicly broadcast…

    … except Twitter is apparently so good an echo chamber that they think they’re only tweeting their friends or people who agree with them…

    …because there’s too much noise, leading them to assume that no one else will bother to read “private” conversations among the tagged, which are in truth posted publicly and open to all comers.

    So, if I gather this correctly, the sequence of events is thus: If the not-tagged person discovers the slander themselves, blame them for being nosy narcissists snooping on a private conversation. If a third person tags the previously-not-tagged person, blame them for being spoilsport snitches. Person obviously free from blame – the original source of the publicly posted slander posing as a “private” conversation.

    This reminds me why I don’t use Twitter yet again. 🙂

    1. You nailed it. They expect privacy in a public forum, without having to actually use the private functions that are available. And anyone who uses any of the public functions as intended are wrong

  2. Wow, I don’t use twitter, but by reading the article I feel like making an account just to ‘snitch tag’ people all day long.

    And no, you’re not taking crazy pills. It’s a combination of people delusional enough to think they can have a private conversation on Twitter(!) of all places (using their real credentials too!), and the lack of a backbone to stand by their opinions when they get caught trash-talking.

    1. Weird! Your comments went straight to spam which I don’t check very often. Sorry about that – hope it’s fixed now!

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. And yeah, a Twitter Snitch group sounds like the right course of action 🙂

  3. I’ve not seen this happen before really, but I am not surprised. We can’t have nice things because everyone has access to them, including the trolls.

    On a side note, why do I gotta be the snitch in your example??

    (I don’t mind, just had to poke the bear).

    1. The snitch is the hero in my example! People SHOULD let people know, it’s the right thing to do.

      So, I let you be the hero =)

      (I also don’t have many friends who use twitter so you get to be the example as well.) =) =)

  4. I haven’t heard of such a thing.
    Of course, I don’t really belong to the bullying side of Twitter. There are a lot of angry people out there, and the Internet has given them a place to say the worst, most vile things while remaining hidden. It makes weak people feel strong.

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