8

I'm 20 and moved to Germany two years ago, moving out with 18 is rather uncommon in my country (Netherlands). About one year ago my mother became more and more clingy (my assumption is that she didn't think I was serious about moving out and would come back, but after one year noticed it was serious).

She has been managing the social media for my dad's company for years now, which mainly consists of Twitter. She has also been using it for posting personal landscape photos for a while and really takes pride and joy out of seeing how many times people have seen her photos. As she is a stay at home mom, she is most of the time on social media besides grocery shopping and walking the dog, this was already the case when I still lived at home.

For the past two years she has been trying to get me to use Twitter too for my freelance work, which is not a bad idea since getting exposure is very important for me to get work. However,I use other social media websites and I have always tried to avoid Twitter because of my mom's pushing. Because of a magazine accidently featuring my (empty) Twitter account instead of my other social media a few weeks ago, I started using Twitter after all, to at least make use of the featuring.

Now my mom replies, retweets and texts me within minutes after every single tweet I post, for example with "helpful advice" about how to use Twitter. Because I don't want to hurt her feelings, I only say that I don't want to use it so much and that I just use it on a low fire, but she doesn't listen. I also don't want to be mean and say things like "I don't care about Twitter and retweets mean nothing to me." because she takes so much pride and joy from it herself and she's a loving person.

The problem is that I already talked about this in a serious manner with her, multiple times, she then seems to get it for a few days and afterwards falls back into her clingy talking about Twitter.

How can I permanently communicate to her that I don’t want to use Twitter a lot and also don’t want regular advice on how to use it without hurting her feelings?

5

Parents nearly all give advice to their kids whether they want it or not. But as you have reluctantly begun using Twitter for your work, your best line of reasoning would be that it is rather unprofessional to have your mom visibly interfering with that.

Her retweeting your posts is not really doing any harm. It is debatable whether or not it is helping promote your account, but personally I would ignore this - it is just a way of her showing how proud she is of you.

If she is texting you directly either via SMS or direct messaging through Twitter, again this is not harming your public-facing business persona so you could just politely ignore it, although I appreciate your goal is to confront her and ask the messages to stop.

If she is replying to your tweets, then this is something you should address. It just doesn't look professional. Her retweets go into her timeline for her followers to see, and sure, your followers can see who has retweeted you but that isn't a big deal. Your followers - your potential customers or clients - can see that your mom is chatting with you on Twitter.

If this is the case, you could say:

Mom, I would appreciate it if you don't reply to my Twitter posts. I don't think it looks so professional to have a reply from my mom attached to every tweet.

Otherwise, if you just want to confront her about the constant direct messages, one simple approach might be to say:

Mom, I appreciate you want to pass on your experience with Twitter, but a lot of it doesn't apply to me. I'd rather just find my own way.

Or, an alternate approach which you may prefer would be to show her how much you know about Twitter, and using more detail explain that her strategies are not for you.

I don't want to put words in your mouth that don't apply, but here is an argument that I have had myself:

"If you do [x] you'll get more followers"
or
"If you do [x] then more people will see your tweet"

"But I don't want followers just for the sake of it - I want quality followers who are actually searching for and are interested in the things I am tweeting about.

  • 1
    Eventhough the others were also really useful (thank you all for your time!) this one really stands out to me because of the "I'd rather just find my own way." part. It's really simple maybe, but I never thought of that approach, thank you :) – Noctiluca May 11 '18 at 17:11
  • @Noctiluca: That's the right answer. But I'll start the conversation by saying you appreciate the efforts she is making in trying to help you optimize your Twitter experience. From her point of view, all she is doing is passing on her experience of SNS, and helping her child. Learning that she is not doing it right, or believing you don't appreciate her caring for you, may hurt her. – Taladris May 12 '18 at 9:05
4

First of all, be flat out, be firm, but don’t be rude.

Before you start your conversation, it is most important that you set your boundaries for what you will say. Say nothing that goes against her beliefs, but stand by yours.

Make a benefit out of why it may be better not to have a Twitter right now

Mention how you have enough on your plate, and maybe you’re too busy for a Twitter. Tell her about the time that just having a Twitter almost caused a catastrophe because you didn’t have anything on the Twitter, but you think it’d be better if you just didn’t have one so you could make sure nothing like that would happen again.

Make a point about what you already do.

You already use different forms of social media, so explain why those are better for your line of work. You get more accomplished when you post on X rather than Twitter. Maybe throw in why Twitter is a good idea for your father’s company.

Like a persuasive essay, make your final point

It is important to make sure she knows the reasons why you think Twitter is not a good idea for you, and leave it there to hang for a second.

Unlike a persuasive essay, people talk back.

When your mother gives you any reason she thinks you should use Twitter, give her the reason why you disagree with that reason.

DON’T GO COLD TURKEY

Like a medication, make sure to wear off slowly. Remind her every week or so (in whatever way you can) that you don’t want to use Twitter. Continue this for a bit, then slowly say it less and less until you feel confident she won’t bother you about Twitter, then say it a few more times (not at the same time, of course). Make sure it’s really drilled into her head.

Keep a good posture

Now it’s your mom your talking to, and if your talking to her in person, I’m sure you won’t be uncomfortable. However, make sure you keep a steady pose (loose though! Just not shaky) and a constant voice. Avoid umms and uhs, as those are signs of uncertainty or lack of complete knowledge of the topic sentence. Use good diction, and last of all , DON’T BE RUDE.

Good luck.

3

It seems you and your mom are having two different conversations about Twitter.

Her conversation seems to be

"I need to explain all of the features and benefits of Twitter so Noctiluca will see the value in it and use it more so we can interact on it together."

Your conversation appears to be:

"I need to explain why I don't want to use Twitter so my mom will stop bothering me about it."

So perhaps you can reframe your conversation to be more in line with hers:

I need to explain to my mom that I understand the features and benefits of Twitter, but that regardless of the perceived value I will not change my Twitter habits.

I think my main suggestion is that you do not need to convince her that you don't like it or don't want it. You simply need her to understand that you won't. She may continue to ask why or try to sell you on it, but the only responses needed are

I understand, but I'm just not going to do that.

I understand, but I'm not concerned about that.

The resulting conversation might become a broken record at first, but that can be helpful if she understands no new response is coming.


As an aside, it may be that your mom simply misses you and just wants to connect. Consider offering her some communication alternatives. I call my mom most days on my commute home and it has really calmed her need to insert herself into other parts of my life.

2

I also don't want to be mean and say things like "I don't care about Twitter and retweets mean nothing to me."

Do you think your mom would be offended if you say that?
Perhaps this is not mean to her but just honest. Accept she likes to share her life in the internet, but this doesn't mean you have to do the same.

What I miss in your question, for what purpose should you use those media? What does she expect to be there? What is her motivation?

Does she simply want to participate on your life? Then could it help to share some parts of your life with your family on 1-on-1 media like WhatsApp? Stuff posted there is not visible to the whole world (your argument: why should the whole world see what you do all day, it's not their business) and your mom still can be part of your life.

  • as far as I understood it, OP‘s mom has success with using Twitter to get exposure for her company and thus assumes that OP will also have success with that, but OP seems to use different social media for that already – OpticalResonator May 11 '18 at 8:20

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