Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~Philippians 2:3-4, NIV
by Toni Birdsong
I saw a tweet this week that inspired this post. It said: “I’m disappointed my Twitter following isn’t growing. My resolution is to work on this in 2011.” I had watched this person. He was a Christian tweeter who had been on Twitter for nearly two years and still didn’t have a clue about community or engagement. I wanted to take him out for coffee and kindly help him out . . . but he wasn’t following me back so I couldn’t send him a Direct Message. Go figure.
So, my friend (and others like you), here’s why people may not enjoy engaging with you on Twitter and tips on how to turn that around:
- You don’t notice other people. It’s all about “my new post,” “my beliefs,” “my thoughts.” Tip: Listen to others, respond to their ideas, post on their blogs. In short: Get over yourself.
- You digitally strut. That’s right. You either strut your position, title, or your all-around awesomeness. Tip: Dial back the “me,” focus on the “we.” (We are the body of Christ).
- You write in all caps or go crazy with your symbols. It’s hard enough to catch streaming text. This makes you appear sloppy and angry (caps = yelling). Tip: Believe enough in what you post and that it can be communicated in lowercase letters. Proof your posts before you hit “send.” People don’t like to RT or muddy their stream with caps and mistakes. Take the extra time necessary to communicate well.
- You stream scripture 24/7. This is not engagement, this is just a nicer form of spam. Tip: Mix it up. If scripture is what you love, then paraphrase now and then. Link to Christian videos or sermons. Respond to others, RT others’ ideas that echo your own beliefs.
- You choose your pulpit over people. You are a pastor, or teacher who appears above everyone else. Twitter has become your second pulpit. If (and only if) you interact, it’s with your tiny clique. You are the smartest person in cyberspace and it shows. Tip: Engage with others, get to know what they’re passionate about (and they are as passionate as you!) Respond to their posts or tweets. You might just find the audience for your sermons growing.
- You ask too early in the relationship. You just started following me and already you are calling me out personally asking me to listen to your podcast, buy your book, or give you a job. Tip: Listen, learn, and engage appropriately. Add value to others, it’s not about what you can get online but what you can give. Seek to serve, not to be served.
- You are inconsistent. You post helpful, inspiring content but then shift gears and post questionable jokes and links or make fun of someone else. Tip: Pick a speed and drive. Having two personalities online confuses your followers. Don’t post anything on Facebook, you wouldn’t be proud to see posted up on a roadside billboard the next day.
- You fail to say thank you. You don’t acknowledge a re-Tweet, a link that applauds you, or an act of digital generosity. You appear as if you are the only person in the room. Tip: Acknowledge the kindness of others. You can’t build a community without first being a good neighbor.
- Your profile is set to private & you don’t follow back. This is Twitter, not the witness protection program. If you want privacy go to Facebook. This is a hassle and doesn’t allow others to see what you are about before following you back and it makes you seem closed off. Also, follow back. Tip: Unlock your settings and engage freely for a while, if anything really terrible happens, lock up your avatar again and we’ll be quiet. Follow back: Create a list if you want to follow a select group of people but return the favor of a follow until someone gives you reason to unfollow.
- You are combative. You wait for others to make mistakes and then you pounce. You correct others publically and make a sport of sparring over theology. Tip: Direct Message someone with a critique or strong opinion. Don’t waste precious time majoring in the minors. Remember, hundreds are looking on and listening to your conversation so be nice.
What do you see other Christians doing online that gives you pause? What suggestion can you offer them (be nice)?
Post/Tweet this today:
Your words may be someone else’s lifeline today. Get out of your head and engage with the hearts around you. #LiveSticky