By Noah Kaufman
Updated March 28, 2014
Credit: © iStockphoto

You just got a new Twitter follower. At first you think that handle of seemingly random letters and numbers must be a bot, but after a phone call home you discover it’s much worse. It’s your mother. Here are some things to remember when dealing with this invasion of your very public privacy.

Do not assume it’s a passing phase.

That’s what you said about Facebook three years ago and look how that turned out. She’s here to stay and she’s only going to get better at this.

Don’t block her.

You can’t. At this point, the only people she follows are you and someone she thinks is Rod Stewart. She’s going to notice and she’s going to be pissed.

You’re going to have to stop tweeting pictures.

Photos of you or taken by you are mom's favorite things to look at online. If you don’t want to spend 60 minutes a day @replying to her about how you don’t think a picture of you working out is “inappropriately risqué,” it’s best to just stick to text for a while.

Get her to follow at least 900 people.

The more clogged her feed is, the better. Your tweets will get completely camouflaged by listicles, power quotes from Oprah and live updates from the AP.

Send her direct messages.

If you can get her in the rhythm of communicating with you this way instead of in a normal feed, there is a lower chance that something about your father’s uncomfortable rash will make its way into the public sphere.

Do not explain hashtags.

No matter how much she asks. As soon as she understands how they work, it’s going to be a #tbt of embarrassing pictures of you all over the Internet.

Make a new account.

It will take a little more legwork up front, but if you want to continue to have the hilarious and edgy presence you used to, you may need to start over. You will, of course, need to keep posting with your original handle, too, or she may start to get suspicious. But don’t think of all that extra work as a pain in the ass—think of it as an opportunity to lead an exciting double life in 140 characters or less.

Now join me in a prayer that she never hears about Snapchat.