Handling Developer Twitter like Rappers
Lee Robinson / April 01, 2022
4 min read • ––– views
I've realized there are many parallels between developers arguing on Twitter and rappers starting beef and writing diss tracks. This post is a lighthearted analogy to talk about what works and what doesn't when using Twitter as an advocate.
Let's dive into our case study: Drizzy Drake.
Drake is an incredibly popular musician. He used to be on Degrassi for those who are older than 25. He "started from the bottom" and now is here, quite literally becoming one of the biggest artists in the world.
In his rise to fame, he's had a lot of haters. People who say he's terrible at singing and should stick to rapping. People who say he's a terrible rapper. And everything else in between. But he's remained strong. As our queen Nicki said:
Shout out to my haters, sorry that you couldn't faze me. – Nicki Minaj (Moment 4 Life)
Since Drake is on top of the rap game, naturally other rappers want to take him down. They come after him and start drama ("rap beef") and create buzz in the media. This allows them to leech off of Drake's popularity and influence to give them free promo.
But it only works if Drake plays the game.
You'll see many rappers talking about "no free promo". Why? Because it's not worth it to answer these up-and-coming rappers and give them air time, putting eyes on their music. What can developers and those in DevRel learn from this?
Lesson #1: Don't let people use you to draw eyes to their content. You don't always need to respond.
When do you respond, though?
Once upon a time, rapper Meek Mill started a rap beef with Drake. He said that Drake didn't write his own raps. Drake didn't take this claim lightly, as it's equivalent to saying your software product is selling snake oil. So, Drake decided it was time to fire back.
He dropped a diss track, which led Meek Mill to keep subtweeting him.
Drake didn't even wait for Meek Mill to respond with an actual song, which is what typically happens in these types of beef. Instead, he dropped another song called Back 2 Back.
Trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers – Drake (Back 2 Back)
Side note: "Is that a world tour or your girl's tour?" was a lethal diss because Meek Mill was dating Nicki Minaj at the time. He was "bodied" as the kids say.
Needless to say, Drake won the beef. So much so that Back 2 Back was literally nominated for a Grammy. He basically destroyed Meek Mills rap career for a while. It was brutal.
Lesson #2: It makes sense to reply when information is clearly incorrect and your audience would benefit from setting the record straight.
However, one big difference is rappers are aggressive with the insults, burns, and shots being fired. That's not the approach I'd recommend for everyone else, of course. Instead, stay positive and stick to the facts.
Pusha T exposed to the world that Drake had a kid. His diss track towards Drake was called The Story of Adidon.
How did Drake handle it? He admitted he was wrong.
I wasn't hiding my kid from the world / I was hiding the world from my kid. – Drake (Scorpion)
Okay, but what does that mean for developer twitter?
Lesson #3: It's okay to admit when you're wrong. Own up to it. Everyone makes mistakes, and if your say something on Twitter that's wrong, have the humility to own it and correct yourself.
I enjoyed writing this, hopefully you found it helpful. There's not as much content out there for Developer Advocates, or those in DevRel, who are typically in these type of situations. However, I'd say this applies to really all developers discussing nuanced topics on Twitter.
- Don't let people use you to draw eyes to their content. You don't always need to respond.
- It makes sense to reply when information is clearly incorrect and your audience would benefit from setting the record straight.
- It's okay to admit when you're wrong. Own up to it. Everyone makes mistakes, and if your say something on Twitter that's wrong, have the humility to own it and correct yourself.
Subscribe to the newsletter
Get emails from me about web development, tech, and early access to new articles.
- subscribers – View all issues