When it comes to what I share with my audience, I try to be extremely thoughtful. I’d rather Tweet a good article than a hot take, and I like to promote local news — pieces written by a local reporter or a smaller, nonprofit organization. It’s not that I don’t love the big outlets like The New York Times or The Atlantic, but if I can improve the discourse by amplifying the work of The Texas Tribune or The 19th, I’ll keep my eye on that. Twitter is very egalitarian; no one person is better than another. You can have a teenager somewhere who Tweets a thought on something, and suddenly everyone has seen it.
One thing I’ve learned though, especially recently, is that I don’t have to have a “take” on everything, and if there’s a question about the information or what’s happening, don’t touch it. If something doesn’t look real or seems unverified, trust your instincts and don’t elevate that content. I’m careful to only Tweet or Retweet things from reputable outlets, especially breaking news or medical information.
People under use open Direct Messages. Everyone should have open Direct Messages, so you can just write to people — that’s one of the best things about Twitter. In the real world, you probably don’t feel like you can just walk up and talk to someone you admire, but you can in messages. I get sources, stories, and just people wanting to talk in my Direct Messages all the time. It’s fascinating. I do a podcast at The Daily Beast that requires me to book around seven guests a week, and Twitter is great because almost everybody I can potentially book is on it.
However, I do prioritize being pretty liberal with blocking. If someone clearly doesn’t exist in the same universe as me or is always just commenting to dunk on me, block. If they’re saying hateful things in my Direct Messages, block. That’s how I try to protect my emotional state and be careful.