The 10 Worst Quotes Circulating Twitter

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Quotes are the latest fad on Twitter. Few of us can resist the urge to add a witty sentence every couple of tweets. It seems that, whatever it is we feel the need to say in less than 140 characters, somebody has already said it before -so why not quote them?

It sounds like a good idea, and in principle it should be -quotes can be deeply inspiring and uplifting. The problem is that the number of quotes being tweeted or re-tweeted has become so large, that we’re in serious danger of becoming numb to their message. We’re on the verge of a quote-overdose.

It’s time we developed some simple rules of quotetiquette, and I’m going get the ball running proposing the first three DON’Ts:

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DON’T write quotes in your automatic tweets. You may have found the sentence exhilarating when you first read it but, trust me, the effect fades after the first couple of repetitions. Let’s just say that when I read for the sixth time in 90 minutes that “only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity”, I was able to clearly picture what Einstein had in mind when he wrote the sentence: he foresaw a day in the future when people would use Twitter to set up automatic feeds repeating sentences out of context. Like automatic parrots -isn’t that genius?

DON’T overdo it with the pushy quotes. You know which ones I mean, the reach-for-success-failure-doesn’t-exist-and-if-you-fail-you-haven’t-been-thinking-positively-so-you-deserve-it type of quote. They’re supposed to be inspiring, but can become a bit scary sometimes. This morning I made the mistake of opening Twitter before I’d taken my coffee. The first thing I read said: “make today your masterpiece”. Ok, so no pressure there. I had to fight hard not to go back to bed and cover my head with the sheets.

DON’T write quotes that lose their meaning taken out of context -remember, your readers won’t know where you took it from, and may understand something very different from what you intended to say.


The following is my list of the 10 worst offenders:

  1. “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win”

    Again, no pressure there…

  2. “The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail”

    Meaning: if you’re not rich and successful, it’s your fault.

  3. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”

    Not only it’s your fault, it’s a sign that you’re stupid.

  4. “Success if the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”

    In my experience, though, when you’re explaining to your boss that despite your apologies the last five times you’ve again spilled coffee over the photocopy machine, keeping the enthusiasm may become a little tricky.

  5. “It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny”

    Wouldn’t it be ironic to find out that this person was involved -God forbid- in a plane crash?

  6. “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.”

    The jury is still out as to whether these are the words of a personal-growth guru or of Bernard Madoff.

  7. “The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”

    That’s why capitalism invented bank bailouts!

  8. “Do one thing every day that scares you”

    And why not start by jumping off a bridge?

  9. “Human behavior may not be totally predictable, but it’s usually reasonably easy to predict”

    We don’t know for sure who wrote this sentence, but you can clearly detect the words of an economist. Before the banks stopped lending.

  10. “The only true gift is a portion of yourself”

    Gore!

TALKBACK

  • Do you think there should be more or less quotes on Twitter?

  • Have you found other quotes that sound strange out of context?

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