Friday, January 29, 2010

My take on Twitter

A couple of posts ago I wrote about “My Take on Happiness” and today I will delve into my thoughts on twitter and how I believe it can have a direct impact on our daily lives – both on a personal as well as professional level, if we understand that what works well in twitter can also work very well when applied to our daily life. Without trying to be presumptuous I have decided to call this "Twife: twitter applied to your daily life!"

Twitter’s success is built around the concept of having an open & constant conversation between a mix of influential & anonymous people and therefore “somehow” designed to bridge social divides. The idea of transparency is its defining emblem.

Twitter can definitely teach us a lot about desirable behaviour in human beings and one can easily tell by the reactions of our tweeps (twitter friends), and by how much they decide to “help” us, join our cause or simply recommend us or retweet us based on the value of our tweets, as well as our good “tweehaviour” (did I just make that up? – this is how i call our behaviour in twitter or adherence to “twitterquete”).

So what works well in Twitter that if applied can also help us improve our daily lives?

1 – Be grateful and show it: no place better than twitter (or social media in general for that matter) to test the power of gratitude. Example: a few days back I was trying to get followers to my blog, inviting friends to follow me and thanking everyone that would kindly oblige. Then suddenly 2 things happened: I received a follow from a friend of a person I had just thanked, and right away another follow from a friend I had not invited yet (Esther); when I thanked her she said she found out about my blog when she notice I was thanking a common acquaintance for following me. Two important lessons to be learnt from this: a – those you thank will be happy to do more for you and recommend others to follow you, and b – those who see you thanking others will likely want to follow you or do something for you. It’s life’s law and the driving force behind evolution as society: reciprocity and collaboration

2 – Tweet value (as my tweep @pramitjnathan says): most people don’t care what you had for breakfast, so don’t bother filling their timeline with that, but if what you tweet is something they will find valuable, either because it helps them improve their lives or because it helps them find something they might have been looking for or simply because it’s funny, then very likely they will feel appreciative for your tweet and want to recommend, retweet or mention you so that others can also benefit from your valuable tweets.

3 – Do to others as you would have others do to you: and do it first and do it often. This will work like magic. In a Course in Miracles (a book I read) it says, and I quote: “teach what you want to learn” and “give what you want to receive”. I try to live by these 2 maxims more than anything else. If you want to elicit a favourable reaction or action from your tweeps or anybody in life, be the first to engage in said favourable action. Recommend people, credit their work, help them, share with them, praise them, thank them, etc... and do all this altruistically and from a place of honesty, generosity, enthusiasm, good vibes and transparency.

4 – Share and collaborate with people’s work and initiatives: be it their thoughts (tweets or blogs), their work, their links, their retweets or suggestions. You see, people participate in social media because they want to be taken into account; people want to belong, they want to be missed and they want to be appreciated, even those you might think they don’t need any of that. Anybody that takes even the smallest trouble to tweet 140 characters or to blog about something, is because they want someone to take the time to read it and hopefully appreciate it and share it; guaranteed (I know I do)! And the only way they will know someone took the trouble to read it and appreciated it, is if that someone comments, thanks shares or retweets it. Do this for others and others will do it for you. Twitter works under the law of abundance: the more you share the more you receive in the form of retweets, mentions, recommendations, follows and the like.


- In twitter, like in life, “altruism” is the name of the game; the more you do for others the more others will do for you. In point #6 of their excellent post on "Society’s New Values", Alf Castellano & Edu William highlight the importance of support among peers, collaboration and co-creation as a key traits of the New Model. I think this is indeed KEY, and social media is here to show us the way, as long as we are willing to listen and learn from it

- Valuable tweets (whether because you put some thought into them, or because you read a good article and decided to tweet it, or because you read someone else’s tweet or blog or related links and decided you wanted to share it) go a long way and it returns value back to you.

- Acts of appreciation elicit reciprocity and collaboration towards you, and sharing creates abundance: the more you give the more you will receive

One last thing: Don’t be afraid to ask for help (or recommendations, retweets, re-shares and the like); you’d be surprised how well many people feel when given the opportunity to help others. Just keep your “tweehaviour” agreeable to others (just like you would do in life); be transparent and honest and state what you need clearly. Keep it simple, don’t spam, don’t turn it into a bullhorn of new deals; don’t harass people. Rather give everybody breathing room and treat them with respect as you would like to be treated. And in the end always ask yourself before acting or tweeting: am I adding value, how can I serve or help others with my actions or tweets?

Don’t you think these principles can apply just as well to your daily life?

Cheers and your comments are most welcome!

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