Keys to Being Social: Reciprocation

Side note:  If this were a blogging series, which maybe it should be, I’m starting out of order. Regardless, today I want to talk about the step beyond a thank you: reciprocation.

Giant Sequoias are the largest tree by volume and can grow to be very old – the oldest recorded is 3,500 years. These giants aren’t like the lone cypress; they live in communities of forests. One of the reasons they are able to grow so tall and so wide is because their root systems are interconnected.

Many times, especially on Twitter, people will go through growth spurts. At first, they’re happy for any followers, do somersaults for retweets, and always reply back. Then, as they’ve grown bigger, more often than not, they abandon those growth-producing behaviors because now they are too busy, have too many responses, or some other excuse.

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Are you in a Twitter rut? Stop Digging.

Backhoe HDR“They” say that if you’re in a rut, stop digging.

Are you talking to the same people over and over and over again?

Do you only spend time on Twitter in your “mentions” column?

We all have days where we’re trying to just get by and, believe me, I’m the one who says you can maintain your account in five minutes a day, but that’s not going to help you grow.

Whenever I start to feel like I’m in a rut, I am reminded of this Tweet from Scott Stratten:

If Twitter is about relationships, then it logically follows that relationships take work. That does take time.

Read more Are you in a Twitter rut? Stop Digging.

Twitter is About Trust. Is Your Social Ledger Blank?

Ledger-6 Print fit-to-page or on 12 inch or legal paper
by Mel McCarthy Creative Commons License

A blank slate. Many social psychologists believe that the human starts off with a blank slate. Regardless of your ideology, every relationship does begin with a blank ledger. Let me explain.

Social Media is about many things, one of which is building relationships. How to start that building is often debated.

“Relationships take time. If you try to shortcut social media, you’re shortcutting relationship building.”

~ Scott Stratten from “Mannequin Networking: Why Twitter Automation Is Bad.

Scott is right. Relationships are built over time. Being the logical person that I am, I came to the conclusion that Twitter is about trust and tweeted it on September 25, 2012.

In our digital age it’s easy to either be naive (an oversharer) or paranoid (incomplete profile). It’s true that occasionally you do run into people like Terry Rantula, as Carol Stephen describes in her post, “Social Media: Do You Really Know Your Friends?” But should that be the determining factor in our social media strategy?

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Retweet Styles – It’s like Jeans; there’s a fit for everyone.

Jean City 2004
Sarah Macmillan (c) 2004 – Flickr Creative Commons

Social media experts are known for their opining.  Like it or not, extreme positioning tends to garner both positive and negative attention.

As a dispensary of “unsolicited advice” I’ve made the enemy or two in my day. My thought, however, is this: why not experiment around?

One thing we can count on in social media is that trends, platforms, and accepted notions change over time.

By now, most people know what I think of Twitter’s Retweet Button.

But there is an element of style in the retweet. Style in tweeting is like jeans – there’s a fit for everyone.

1.  Old School RT

This is traditionally done by clicking reply on a tweet, copying the text of the original tweet, and pasting after the user’s name.  Then you put “RT” in the front of the tweet and click send.

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck (as well as their rival third party apps) have buttons that make this much easier.  In Hootsuite, however, you have to change the settings for this retweet style to be activated.

On Twitter mobile this is called “Quote Tweet.”  I still don’t get why they don’t have that option on the web version, but I digress. Read more Retweet Styles – It’s like Jeans; there’s a fit for everyone.

Six Tips to Gain Followers Through Engagement


How do you gain followers?

This is the question I am often asked.

“Do I buy followers?” No. In fact, most of the time people can tell when you have bought followers, as my colleague Carol Stephen describes in her post here. This strategy sort of backfired for former Speaker of the House and Presidential Candidate, Newt Gingrich, too.

Twitter is one of the major spokes in the social media wheel. Social media, people seem to forget, is about being social.

During the question and answer period of the Digital Influence panel at ACEC California’s April Conference, I was asked what the best practice for Twitter is.

My answer:  “The most important thing for you is to be a human being.”

In fact, my social media strategy revolves around being a polite, helpful person.

That seems to do the trick.

How does this work.

1. I avoid Twitter’s Retweet button.

This is controversial and everyone has their own opinions. Read my blog post here.

2. When I do retweet, I add a comment first.

This continues the conversation the original tweeter intended, presumably, when they sent the tweet in the first place. Awkward sentence? Sure. But the point is that Twitter is a conversation. By that logic, every tweet is potentially a conversation starter.

See: Retweet Styles

Read more Six Tips to Gain Followers Through Engagement