I'm just as guilty as anybody else of scrolling through Twitter in bed before finally falling asleep at some insanely late hour. And something like 80% of the time, I'm not reading the news. I'm scrolling through people's bad takes, jokes, and rambling threads.
Something tells me Michelle Obama spends a lot less time getting outraged at strangers on Twitter, but she recently gave some valuable advice when it comes to social media in a talk at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago.
Her tip? Stop tweeting everything the moment it pops into your head, because "most of your first initial thoughts are not worthy of the light of day," The Hill reported. Yes, it sounds harsh, and yes, we've all done it — but the former first lady said it's time to rethink the constant stream of posts in favor of a mental break.
"You don’t tweet every thought," Obama said in a conversation with poet Elizabeth Alexander. "And I’m not talking about anybody in particular. I’m talking about us all, because everybody does that."
Well, she might be talking about somebody in particular. Donald Trump has often come under fire for the language he uses on Twitter, such as his recent statement about the Halloween attacks in New York City, his threats at North Korea, his thoughts about NFL players' peaceful protests, and insults at the mayor of San Juan after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. While some dismiss his words as bluster, many have remarked that words have consequences in his position — and contrast his statements with those of his predecessors, who have traditionally acted more conciliatory and uniting in times of tragedy. (And continue to: Barack Obama's tweet after the Charlottesville violence is the most-liked in history.)
"You're careful with your words," Obama said of the attitude she had during her tenure as first lady. "You're careful with how you debate. And I think when you're the first lady or the president, the commander in chief, and you have that voice, and that power, and that platform, I think what comes with that is the responsibility to know that every word you utter has consequences."
She added: "You can’t just slash and burn up folks just because you think you're right. You have to treat people as if they are precious, all of them, even the people you don’t agree with."
I'm taking that quote and pinning it to the top of my mental feed.