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The Sweet Temptation Of The Subtweet

You’ve been wronged. You want to scream it from the mountaintops. You want the world to know. You need to Tweet what happened.

Someone emails you that they think your idea is dumb. A person misunderstands a compliment as an attack. Plans get cancelled and you are given no explanation why.

Tweet about it,” Twitter tells you. “Vent.

It’s a sweet, sweet, shitty temptation, the subtweet, an act defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “a post that refers to a particular user without directly mentioning them, typically as a form of furtive mockery or criticism.” It’s a covert callout, a callow criticism. It’s an empty calorie of a statement, something only gratifying for you but for no one else as people who encounter what you say will likely tilt their head at it, wondering what you’re referring to.

But the temptation stays at the fingertips. It would be so good to burn them. So good. But you can’t. People aren’t morons and people – Even strangers. – check your Twitter to see if they got subtweeted because that’s what you do when a stranger does something weird to you: check the other person’s Twitter to see if they gave a backhanded anti-compliment to you. It’s like a digital Valentine’s Day card, a tiny poem from a secret admirer announced in public, but everything about it is the opposite: it seethes, writhing with discontent, and never reveals who the note is intended for while very clearly positions the announcer.

Bite your tongue,” you tell yourself. “Or call them out. You can’t have this both ways: silence or full blast.” You do neither.

What is the point? It’s a moment of weakness, a petty point dulled to not-much-of-anything. Write down the message on a small sheet of paper and swallow it. Why does the world need to see this? Why does the world need to see anything? The temptation of the subtweet is that you will be rewarded for a sly observation. The reality is that a bunch of people text or email you “hey was that tweet about me” to which you respond “hahahaha no i was just annoyed at work” and they don’t believe you and you end up with a set of miffed friends.

It’s not worth it. We’ve all been wronged. Turn the other cheek. Put down the stone outside of the glass house. Log off, you moron.

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