Why smart people post dumb tweets

Each of us has a kind of inner measuring stick that tells us when we’re doing something foolish or out-of-character. But there is a problem we overlook.

Comic Emo Philips explains it succinctly:

“I used to think that the human brain was the most fascinating part of the body. Then I realized, well, look what’s telling me that.”

What do you do when the thing you use to measure your behavior gets out of whack?

I started meditating several decades ago. One of the first things I learned—from experience—is that your brain works differently at different times. (You don’t have to meditate to learn this life lesson.)

Social media is full of examples of people posting things that make them look dumb, and hurt their personal and work relationships. Plenty of people have even been fired for tweets and facebook posts that they would surely have reconsidered posting had they been in a better state of mind.

Simple solution: Develop your own “rant-o-meter”

In almost every case I’ve seen (that didn’t involve drugs or alcohol) the tweet that someone later wished they could take back was a rant of some kind.

In talking with people, I find that they experience a kind of accelerated compulsion, a feeling of “respond now!” when they are about to say or so something stupid.

How to protect yourself, from yourself, in three easy steps:

  1. Post something stupid on social media without realizing how dumb it is.
  2. Think back to how you felt before posting it.
  3. Repeat.

Over time, you’ll start to notice before you are about to post something stupid, by noticing how you feel.

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