No, fear not loathers of metaphor! That particular foible has been ground into dust and spread to the four winds (though, again, not literally of course). No, what this chap wants to use to illustrate the topic of this post is something much more enjoyable and accessible than a metaphor: a relative.
My Uncle Wilfred (not to be referred to as 'Wilf' if you ever meet him - a pet peeve) is just the sort of jolly chap that makes a perfect uncle. He is soft-spoken, gentle, very observant and an infinite source of sound advice when called upon. If one is feeling rather low and despondent he always seems to have a bag of mint imperials and a clean handkerchief on his person (and always at just the right moment). He is, in short, as likable a chap as a chap can be.
As with any mere mortal, however, Uncle Wilfred does have his flaws. He will, left unattended, drink his tea from the saucer. He has an irrational dislike of double-decker buses. And he does have an exceedingly odd manner when speaking on the telephone.
It is this last flaw I wish to speak to you about. You see, Uncle Wilfred approaches the blower each time in the same manner that an Eskimo would approach an electric ice-maker - that is to say, with complete befuddlement. Although an ancient chap by most standards, Uncle Wilfred is by no means so advanced in years that the humble telephone could be described by him as 'newfangled.' And yet, Uncle Wilfred always handles the device gingerly and full of uncertainty, as if it might bite him if he makes a wrong move. Most irritatingly, he has never grasped the fact that a steady, clear voice at moderate volume is sufficient. No, Uncle Wilfred always speaks on the telephone as if he is atop an Alpine peak in a howling gale while trying to converse with a chap several miles distant.
For example, I rang Uncle Wilfred up just the other day to arrange a spot of lunch together. To say the phone call was traumatic would not be an understatement:
"What ho, Uncle Wilfred!" I began, innocently.
"WHAT!!!!!" (Perhaps I failed to mention previously that Uncle Wilfred also suddenly becomes inexplicably deaf once he picks up the telephone receiver).
After taking a moment to recover my senses, I suggested we might meet up at a chophouse I frequent.
"CHOPSTICKS!! MY GOOD MAN, WHY THE DEVIL WOULD YOU CALL ME ON THIS CONTRAPTION TO TALK ABOUT CHOPSTICKS!!!!"
At this point I rang off and sent my valet Perkins over to his flat with a note. This had the desired effect (and was no doubt a quicker and less painful method of communication). We proceeded to share an exceedingly pleasant hour putting away most of a fifth of scotch and some well-cooked mutton. At no point did Uncle Wilfred raise his voice, or fail to properly hear mine. He was, so to speak, a restored man.
Now then, chaps, we are approaching the sharp end so pay attention. The more industrious of you may wish to take notes.
If you ask virtually anyone for advice about ones social media presence (or brand, if we must) one is always told that the best strategy is to 'be oneself.' This is, for the most part, a rather sound strategy (especially if not being oneself means being someone else, which is hardly cricket, is it?).
I would venture to say, however, that this 'be oneself' strategy is as incomplete as the nose of an Egyptian Sphinx (this, by the way, is a simile, not a metaphor, so one is on much firmer ground here). The danger is that a chap my interpret 'being oneself' to mean that anything goes as long as one 'acts naturally.' As my Uncle Wilfred has demonstrated above, it is possible, completely naturally, to be an extremely different sort of chap when communicating via technology. Something about the telephone renders my dear uncle into an odious brute. It would be wrong, however, to say that in any way Uncle Wilfred was not being himself.
The same phenomenon can be seen to occur regularly on Twitter. Chaps who are as much a good egg as the next chap in everyday life can suddenly become pushy, arrogant, and sometimes rude. It is an unfortunate, and (regrettably) a very common phenomenon (observe the way otherwise gentle chaps and chapettes suddenly become aggressive when they sit behind the wheel of a motorcar).
What I'm getting at here, chaps (and here's the most important bit), is that one must not think that any behaviour is acceptable or advantageous merely because it comes naturally. Before tweeting one must pause, sit down, and exercise the old noodle for a few moments. Be oneself, without doubt, but think carefully about what part of oneself one is putting on display. After all, we are all aware that we behave in different manners depending on the social situation we find ourselves in. These manners are all 'natural.' Twitter is just another social situation. Choose your manner with care.
Here it is in a nutshell chaps (not literally, of course): be yourself, but be the best part of yourself. Share, interact, engage, be courteous and also be patient. Whatever your goals on Twitter are, these traits should be your foundation and your guide.
Now, I would expand further on this matter but my valet, Perkins, has issued a gentle cough that indicates he advises me strongly to retire for the evening. I believe, in fact, that he is holding forth a mug of cocoa as well, and, frankly, one cannot resist. Until next time!