Stop the subtweeting


Jessica Streich


It seems simple enough. In 140 characters or less, you can release your deepest resentments towards someone without having to deal with the consequences of face-to-face confrontation. Commonly referred to as subtweeting, this social media sensation is sweeping the teenage nation. However, this method of coping with teenage angst is far from a solution, and in the end creates more problems than it resolves.

More specifically, subtweeting is the action of tweeting personal opinions about individuals, groups, events or situations, while not making specific or exact references. Arguing or bickering amongst friends (while should be done out of the public eye) does still occur on social media like twitter, but the emergence of this new subtly powerful way of unleashing insults has grown dangerously popular.

In avoiding the harshness of tweet-to-tweet combat and the agony of direct twitter wars, subtweeting has evolved into an even deadlier war. Capable of unobvious amounts of destruction, subtweeting is the fuel to a fire that grows bigger with every retweet and favorite. The internet world creates a more complex level to teenage communication and relationships, as most of what is said now is done through the keyboards of laptops and phones. Essentially, subtweets are the whispered rumors of the corrupt world we have created.

For example, teens often tweet contemptuous remarks like “you are so annoying” or “I thought you would be a better friend than that.” It all boils down into figuring out who the “you” in the tweet references. This indirectness and lack of accountability promote passive-aggressive behavior, and creates a plethora of unnecessary drama.

Also, those with lower self-confidence might assume these harsh tweets are about them. Not only does subtweeting amplify insecurities and break trust within friendships, it also encourages people to let go of feelings through a diary-like process on twitter. While subtweeting can range from casually offensive to feistily aggressive, this digital trend inevitably affects (at least to some degree) everyone that has chosen to follow this subtweeter.

However, not all subtweeting is negative. The occasional “aw you are so cute” or “can’t stop thinking about you” (spurring from the more compassionately inclined) seems innocent enough. But the action still supports a notion that perpetually destroys the foundation for communication humanity needs to grow into better individuals– honest confrontation. Subtweeting about other’s flaws rather than being upfront about them, only reveals your own personal weaknesses and lack of courage to deal with your problems.

Judging people is understandably unavoidable, but you are in control of what you do and don’t put out to the world. The desire to indulge in subtweeting is reasonable, but find the strength to conquer these cowardly temptations. Keep in mind the responsibility teens have to be conscious of their internet identity, and the current situation of subtweeting indicates how teens may have abused the freedoms of social media. Twitter is primarily meant to serve as a medium for communication, mechanism for expression and source for information, but definitely not as a platform for social conflicts.

So, no matter how badly you feel the need to vent, take a minute and remember the big picture. In reality, no one wants to (or really deserves to) be burdened with your indirect negativity, despite how cleverly constructed or relatable your judgement may be.