Friday, July 30, 2010

How to Engage Others Online - Without Annoying Them

"highly recommended."
Tweeted by danielsnyder1, on Twitter (July 29, 2010)

I was one of five people mentioned in that Tweet. (Thanks, BTW!)

A link in that Tweet leads to "Twitter: Follow Friday recommendations for July 30," Information Carnivore (July 30, 2010).

What struck me about the list - apart from my being on in - was the criteria that Daniel Snyder used to select his 10 Twitterers for this week. It's not number of followers, or the kind of bot we used to spam other folks. It was "tweeting regular and valuable content."

Here's part of his post's introduction, and the reasons he gave for including each person:

"...These ten people come with my stamp of approval (That's right endorsed by Daniel Snyder), so you can be certain they are tweeting regular and valuable content. Here we go, in no particular order...."
"...tweets valuable content, he is quick to engage, and regularly invites users to participate in a random word poetry game. He's also a fantastic blogger who is genuine and open, and quick to share advice, tips and his experiences. If you are learning to blog, Dragon Blogger will be candid and helpful, pay attention to his blog and his tweets...."

" a great engager, and faithful retweeter, he's also been good to me by giving feedback on my posts along with the retweets, which always sparks conversation...."

" a blogger, who tweets some really interesting stuff, she also engages in conversation which as you can tell always earns points with me...."

" new to blogging and someone who is super friendly on twitter. I recommend we follow him, and encourage him on his way...."

"...has an amazing knack for digging up the latest scoops and interesting stories and sharing them with all of us. Interested in info sec? She is a must follow. Jovi is also super friendly, and a friendly retweeter...."

"...Has breaking info sec scoops and valuable tweets on a regular basis. Absolutely a great follow, and will keep you in the loop...."

" a blogger, and friendly twitter guy. He is an advocate for my posts, and promotes me (so hopefully you too…)..."

" an excellent blogger who is very social on the web, she is quick to engage on twitter, and interact on other social networks
as well. Tweets valuable and interesting content....

" a wealth of information and good tweets, she is educated and tweets valuable info sec. content, she also has a blog called Tek Blog for which she writes...."

" a friendly twitter guy, who retweets and comments on valuable content. He is also very intelligent and has a great blog worth reading...."
(Daniel Snyder/Information Carnivore)

Who is Worth Following?

What I took away from that list, in terms of what makes a person well worth following on Twitter (or anywhere else) was this:
  • Create "valuable and interesting" content
  • Be friendly
  • Help people
    • Respond with constructive criticism when they ask for it
    • Promote them
      • When that promotion is "valuable and interesting" content for your readers
  • Engage with others on social networks

"Engage" Online - Soon to be an Overused Buzzword

Considering some of what I've seen online, maybe I'd better explain what I mean by "engage."
What Engaging is Not
Fist, what it's not. From my point of view, "engaging" others on a social network isn't:
  • Sending them direct messages with links to your advertisers
  • Telling them that you're buying dental floss
  • Doing anything that you wouldn't do to a friend you met at a bus stop, coffee shop, or wherever
What Engaging is
"Engaging" others on a social network is pretty simple:
  • Assume that the folks you "engage" are people
  • Treat them the way you'd like a friend or acquaintance to treat you
  • Be interested in something besides yourself
Funny, how when you boil down acres or erudite prose on how to deal with people online, it often boils down to "play nice."
A tip of the hat to danielsnyder1, for including me on that list.

("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

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