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14 Situations When You Shouldn’t Tweet

This morning started like every morning usually does, with me taking Sasha outside for her morning walk before heading to the office. I use the time that I walk her in the morning to gather my thoughts for the day, check and process email, jump into Twitter for a minute or two and read Playbook.

Sasha runs down the steps and outside with reckless disregard to my personal safety and therefore it can make it interesting to attempt to do all of those things while still trying to hold onto her leash and keep my shoulder nicely in its socket. As has happened before, I was busy writing a tweet while trying to walk down the steps. With a 60 lb dog charging ahead, I missed a step and stumbled a bit. Still determined to finish the tweet, I continued trying to type with one hand as we walked outside and ran into some scaffolding that’s set up for a little work that’s being done around my complex.

This series of events got me thinking of all of the times when tweeting, updating your Facebook status, texting, sending an email or just about anything else with a smartphone is probably not a smart idea. I then, of course, took to Twitter and Facebook, while still walking Sasha, and asked:

“You shouldn’t tweet or update your Facebook status when _________ [fill in the blank]”

The following are a combination of my own ideas, possibly based on some of my previous experiences (ahem!) and what some others who responded thought. Some are serious while many of them are meant to make you smile:

14 Situations When You Shouldn’t Tweet

  1. Driving
  2. Walking your dog
  3. “You’re having a sleepless night” – Kathy Sperl-Bell
  4. Walking up a flight of stairs
  5. “You are hurt, upset or angry. Once it is published it is too late to take it back and will hurt someone else.” – Julie Arnold
  6. Having a face to face conversation with someone else
  7. “You have taken prescription drugs that have a ‘do not operate heavy machinery warning’. The internet is as heavy as it gets.” – Brian Simpson
  8. Trying to seduce your significant other (and whatever else might happen after that!)
  9. When you’re having your wedding photos taken (woops!)
  10. Going down a flight of stairs
  11. Swimming
  12. “Someone needs your help. Put down the phone and help out!” – Chris Rauschnot
  13. “You’re 12 beers into a bender” – Don Martelli
  14. “You feel like you can rip someone’s face off.” – Patti Tacardo-Fousek

What would you add to this list?

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Photo Credit: thinkgeekmonkeys

  • Lucretia M Pruitt

    LOVE that list. I’m going to add “when you are sitting at a table with someone. Dammit. Experience that, don’t tweet about experiencing it instead.”
    Not as dangerous as walking down the steps – but you may totally regret the opportunity once it’s gone.

  • Mitch Devine

    I love that you included your photo with #9! Priceless! I’d also add dinner as another inappropriate time, whether at at restaurant or home. Great list!

  • Marcie Barnes

    Hm, the only thing I can think of is when you’re working on a deadline, you know like a paper for school or an important work deadline. But I’m not writing very eloquently right now :-) Great post!

  • BarbChamberlain

    When you’re in a meeting with people who follow you on Twitter and will therefore know you weren’t paying attention. Also applies to Facebook.


  • Raul Colon


    Your example happens more often than it should. I was hired to help a small business with getting them started on twitter, facebook, and linkedin. The owner really wanted to get into social media but during one of the meetings where one of her employees was showing her how Twitter worked she saw tweets of her employees during the time she was holding a key strategic meeting. The tweets contained diverse comments such as “when is this meeting going to finish’, “the room is too cold”, and a few others.

  • Raul Colon

    This is are a few great tips I think i need to stop doing that when I walk my Labrador “JuanGa”. Now I am not sure how you can tweet swimming.

    But another one should be to really think of excessive tweeting while doing work for a client since some clients might think you are not really focused on the job at hand.

  • Don Martelli

    Thanks for including me buddy! Great and funny list.

  • stacyknows

    Guilty of #”s 1,2,3,6,8,12 and 14 oh and don’t forget while sykping

  • Shawn Farner

    Seriously! Like, if you’re out on a date with your girlfriend/boyfriend and you can’t keep your phone in your pocket, you need to figure out why.

    Nothing kills a conversation more than a phone being whipped out every other minute.

  • Pamela

    While riding a motorcycle. Seems common sense, right? I’ve seen it. Perhaps “While riding a motorcycle and drinking” should also be added.

  • Toni Rae Brotons

    One place I do not bring my Droid is the gym. Do you REALLY need to type away in spin class? Once I saw a gal on a conference call during a strength training class. Crazy. Even so, I was out with a friend today and kept whipping out the Droid, so I’m not perfect. Great post, Justin!

  • Suzanne Vara


    Great list. I have to add go with when in the bathroom – showering or sitting on the throne.

  • yvette ramirez

    Worse: twittering during a potential break up moment. doesn’t help :

  • Rachel Levy

    How about “on the toilet”, which I admitedly do. Proof here: (i know, TMI!) :-)

  • Christina Pappas

    This is so funny! Just last night I was trying to setup my laptop, juggle a cup of tea and get situated on the couch when sent out a tweet that said something like ‘818303’. Shame on me for having Tweetdeck open and ready to send any key I happened to sit on! Tried to recover in ‘real time’ by suggesting those were my lucky numbers and maybe I should go out and play the lottery.

  • Trelawney

    This is a great list! :) I’d like to add watching a movie to the list. I think a lot of people think that the phone isn’t a distraction if you aren’t talking on it. But, the screen always glows.

  • justinlevy

    Yes, yes, TMI, but I think most of us are guilty of that one 😉

  • justinlevy

    I have definitely tweeted before during a meeting and then realized that someone else might see it. But, on the flip side, I’ve seen people tweet something funny during a meeting just to see if anyone else is listening :)

  • justinlevy

    Absolutely! It makes it even worse when it is someone who doesn’t live their lives online and you constantly are checking your phone. I agree, put down the phone and enjoy *that* experience.

  • justinlevy

    Ouch. Yeah, I wouldn’t think that would be a great time to be tweeting.

  • justinlevy

    I agree, unless the work that you’re doing for that client involves being active on Twitter, Facebook or other channels.

  • justinlevy

    It always drives me crazy when you’re at the movie theatre and someone who’s sitting in a lower section pulls out their phone and all of you can focus on is that glare. One time I watched a guy take out a Sony PSP and begin playing baseball.

  • justinlevy

    Haha! Yep, I’ve been guilty of similar multi-tasking situations. It’s amazing that I haven’t shorted out more electronics. :)

  • justinlevy

    The funny part was that I didn’t even realize that I had been caught until
    my wife and I were looking through our photos after the wedding. I had a
    bruise on my arm for a couple weeks after! :)

  • justinlevy

    Absolutely. When you have work to do, it’s time to close out all other
    distractions. I actually have a post coming up on that this week :)

  • justinlevy

    It was a fun post to write and the comments have been even better! :)

  • justinlevy

    Haha! Yep, being on Skype and trying to use Twitter and Facebook may cause
    some issues. It’s always great when you’re on a conference call, in a
    meeting or on Skype and realize that you forgot to mute your speakers first

  • justinlevy

    Ouch. I hadn’t thought of that one before. That might result in some pain :)

  • Raul Colon

    I agree! I should have pointed that out.

  • justinlevy

    At a gym that I used to go to they would actually walk around and tell
    people to get off of their phones. I use my phone for music and videos for
    working out but I don’t check email or answer the phone unless it’s an
    emergency. Good addition to the list!

  • Barb Chamberlain

    I commute by bike much of the year and have seen people texting one-handed while steering the bike with the other hand. I don’t know whether they’re tweeting, but I definitely want to yell “Shut up and ride!”

    On tweeting during meetings, which I mentioned earlier, it can be a great and useful back channel. Problem is if you have ADOST (Attention Deficit Oh Shiny Thing!) like me, you’re not just tweeting about the meeting. You’re also RTing on totally unrelated topics, responding to @ messages and the like, then jumping over to Facebook to do the same.

    On the other hand, there are about four of us on the same board who are connected via Facebook. When one of them couldn’t get onto a conference call she sent a Facebook message, which at least one of us saw so we could let other board members know she was trying. So it can be useful (although there’s a confession there about where attention was focused).


  • Ari Herzog

    Umm, if you lived in an area where dogs aren’t required to be leashed then you wouldn’t have missed any step and this entire blog post would never have been written. Which begs the question if there are any circumstances that are no-nos, or merely reactions to different views of the status quo.

  • Patt Fousek

    Hey Justin. I totally forgot that I had made a comment on your FB update until Caitlin, my co-worker, started laughing and asked if I felt like ripping someone’s head off. :-)

    PS. I can’t believe you can actually write a twitter update while walking your dog. That’s a unique skill to have.

  • Chrisnugent

    In an interview

  • HU2 Group

    While waiting for a job interview, AND your location is turned ON! 

  • BlueyeCreative

    Love the list, Justin! Definitely got a few laughs out of it.