@last, a Guide to CNY Tweetiquette

So Chinese New Year approaches and the city grinds to a halt (though it’s really only the taxis that halt and our teeth that do the grinding). With all this time on our hands, and family members we’d previously forgotten coming round to toast the New Year and drive us insane (hi Gran!), the temptation to stay in touch with the outside world via Twitter will be hard to resist. (Hey, you even have to wait two weeks for the next issue of I-S.)But if we’ve learnt anything of late (besides that a girl on crutches can still be sexy—thanks Crystal Castles!), it’s how much trouble an untimely tweet can land you in. Only this week, the US Army issued soldiers with a new handbook on social media—a guide to tweeting for the troops; warning against mentioning rank, location, deployment dates and other sensitive information. But it’s of little use in our current predicament. No, what’s needed is a Holiday Handbook; some rules for our time away from the office.Rule 1: You do not talk about tweeting. If your family find out you’re badmouthing them behind their back, you can forget about dinner.Rule 2: Keep an international audience in mind. To people who don’t know any better, “I’m just about to toss the fish” sounds like a particularly nasty euphemism.Rule 3: Look at the bigger picture. If you’re a government official, or even a humble restaurant reviewer, even a domestic audience might get the wrong idea if you announce, “Just got given an envelope stuffed with money!”Rule 4: Tradition doesn’t translate. Telling the world that you’re sweeping the floor, avoiding washing your hair and eating oranges that you hope will turn to gold makes it sound like you’re living in a bad fairytale. And playing the role of Cinderella.Rule 5: Use hashtags wisely. #CNY just won’t cut it; unless you want to complain about the traffic in Central New York or discuss cross-border trade in Chinese Yuan. If you really want people to know you’re celebrating in Singapore, try #reasonsorganizedfireworksboreme or #partieswithchinesepopstarsyouveneverheardof. That ought to do it.