by Lori Deschene
I reluctantly joined Twitter a year ago. Perhaps you can relate to some of my initial excuses for holding out:
I thought Twitter was about telling people what I was doing—and it felt like a better idea to save those details for time we spent together in person.
I didn’t like the idea of narrating my life via technology. What if I started talking about it more than experiencing it?
I was protective of my anonymity. The interwebs is a massive place, and people aren’t always kind; did I really want to open my daily ramblings to critique?
Then something inside me clicked: Twitter is about sharing small pieces of information with large amounts of people. That’s a powerful opportunity, particularly for someone who provides more detailed information elsewhere on the web, and wants to build an audience.
I was one of those people. I was planning to launch my blog about realistic positive thinking, SeeingGood.com a few months down the road. Since there are millions of blogs on the Internet, I knew gaining readers would take time and effort.
In the past year, I’ve made many meaningful connections on Twitter, and introduced quite a few people to my writing, both on my blog and other sites. If that’s a goal of yours, as well—and perhaps you feel frustrated with the process—these tips may help you stay positive and make progress:
See Twitter as both a path to a destination and a destination itself.
Your online presence isn’t just what you write on your blog. It’s what you put out there everywhere you are. If your goal as a writer is to help people with fitness, do that as much as you can on Twitter. Share links from relevant sources. Tweet tips. Follow people interested in fitness and ask how you can help them.
The more the time you put into actually being the person you want to be, the better your chances of getting there. Twitter doesn’t have to be narrating your life; it can be a real part of why you live it.
Believe in Twitter karma.
I fully believe that when you put good, positive energy out there, it comes back to you—twofold, actually. First, it makes you feel good to help other people. And secondly, those people appreciate your kindness, and naturally want to support you in return.
Every day I ask my Twitter followers: “How can I help or support you today?” I then include the hashtag #payitforward. I genuinely mean that I want to help—and I show that by following through. I read their posts; tweet their links; and offer advice. I feel like we’re all helping each other. That positive perspective goes a long way when I started feeling discouraged because of minor setbacks.
Be positive, but be authentic.
I follow uplifting people because I love seeing feel-good links and quotes on my stream. But I also enjoy following real people. People who ask for help nicely when they need it. People who aren’t all-business. People who aren’t afraid to open themselves up and be vulnerable if they need support.
I went from the girl who wanted anonymity to a girl who has willingly tweeted, “Today was tough, but I can get through it. Thank you for being a friend.” You may not be as open with your emotions as I am, but you can still communicate honestly and let people into your world a little. Twitter relationships can be real relationships—and real relationships involve people that enjoy supporting each other.
In a fast-paced, information-overloaded world, it’s not always easy to feel heard. But sometimes all it takes is the willingness to reach out authentically and positively to one person. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can make a difference by being there for people with a smile.