You can’t cover up your personality flaws all of the time. One time you can, though, is when you’re using Twitter. Do not let this incredible opportunity pass you by.

Maybe you’ve experienced this: You follow someone on Twitter whom you previously knew only from reality and, soon, your Twitter feed is inundated with their free-flowing opinions, their should-be-shared-with-a-friend thoughts, their dumb jokes that you hate but wouldn’t mind too much if only they appeared less frequently, and their abundant replies to other too-frequent tweeters—damning evidence suggesting that this person might not, as you’d previously believed, be OK.

“Uh-oh. As it turns out, this person is not OK,” you think, muting them or now following them only out of a fun kind of dislike.

As a result, your opinion of this friend or acquaintance is changed irrevocably, simply because she found Twitter’s empty tweet box too enticing; simply because he found Twitter’s “likes” and “favs” rewarding, but fleetingly. You know all of his opinions about the latest controversy, presented in seventeen installments—eek. You know all of her critiques of some article about whatever and how she believes the faults in this article highlight a larger problem among etc., etc.—ahhh. He offers advice, as if anyone wants it or is even listening—that’s why we have blogs. She is at a bar, and you know which drink she ordered, and you know how she feels about the bar and the neighborhood in which the bar is located, and you know how she feels about bars in general, and oh now someone else is talking to her at the bar, and—just cut it out!!!!!

For you, maybe this saved you some time—now you don’t have to figure out that this person is unpleasant over a series of costly dinners or cocktails or standing-near-hims at a party. For the tweeter, however, this wholly avoidable error of psyche-transparency has cost him a more favorable opinion among his peers; a little secret the tweeter could have kept under wraps for months or maybe forever—that he is emotionally, hmm, fragile—has been set free, unnecessarily.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There is an easy way to stop this from happening to you—yes, you, the too-frequent tweeter whose at least meager in-person social skills had until that point belied a vast well of desperation. To entice you further I’ll tell you that you don’t even have to do anything. You just have to not do one thing: tweet so much.

“Do I have to not tweet at all?” you’re wondering, as if you haven’t listened to a single thing I’ve said. No, you don’t have to not tweet at all. Please—tweet sometimes. Twitter can be fun and informative and every now and again it’s good for a joke. Tweet every single day if you want (once). Just—

Don’t tweet so much. You can do it—it’s easy, just don’t.

Illustration by Jim Cooke. Contact the author at