Friday, March 25, 2011

Being Authentic in Twitter and in Life

I've had this conversation before. I've compared social media to the local meat market bar scene. You know the place. The bar where you go to meet new people and potentially land a date. In the case of social media, it's places like Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter and more.

For this topic, I'll focus on Twitter. Seems appropriate because comparatively speaking, you have about 140 characters to sell your story in both the Twitter channel and the bar scene. Think about it. It's true.

Walk into a bar. Hoist yourself up on a stool and scream out the following, "Who is going home with me tonite?"
And likely, you will go home with a consenting adult after the evening plays out. Maybe not at that bar, maybe not without paying, but the fact is, there is an increased chance of you going home just because you so obviously threw your hat in the ring. With social media, same thing. By engaging in the very least, you are participating. By participating, you have a place at the table.


Woody Allen once said that 90% of life is just showing up.


I believe in that methodology. But I also believe it can get a hell of a lot better if you 1. are authentic and 2. have a plan.


Take Twitter (because it's easier to give social media advice than dating advice at this point) for example. How can you tell if a person is authentic on Twitter? How can you trust a brand? What does it take for you to not only follow people or brands, but also look forward to reading what they post? What does it take for you to ruin your Twitter reputation?

Here are a few things I have noticed are signs that you may be dealing with a good guy, afterall.

1. They post relevant, original content at least twice a day for 5 out of the 7 days.
2. They post original content roughly 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time, they reTweet.
3. When they reTweet, they reTweet relevant content.
4. They follow relevant people.

Let's take a closer look and break this shit down. (Now we are going to talk about dating.)

1. They post relevant, original content at least twice a day for 5 out of 7 days. Which is another way of saying that they can carry on a conversation about interesting topics without being a douche. Furthermore, they can carry on interesting conversations without spouting one factoid or one celebrity quote after another. They actively engage in conversations that tell you a little about themselves and their passions, lifestyle, ambitions, insecurities, dreams and character. Imagine that. Meeting someone who is willing to show you a tiny piece of them in hopes you will want to see more. At a bar. From a brand. Good luck.


2. They post original content roughly 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time, they reTweet. Don't get me wrong. I love the facts. I love good quotes. I love meeting people who are hooked into the trending topics and know more about Snooki or Rachel Zoe than I do. And I really love learning new things from other people. So what I am saying here is exactly the same thing Dr. Oz would likely prescribe; that a healthy balance is good.


3. When they reTweet, they reTweet relevant content. Again, it's important to note the the assumption that they are engaging regularly and robustly is a given. Otherwise, why show up at the party at all? (In social media, these are called lurkers. In real life, these are called stalkers.) So when they do throw in some non-original content in the conversation, it should really be relevant. In Twitter and in life, it's odd when people throw in randoms all the time. Every once in a while, it's awesome. But if you are that guy that continually whizzes a good tumbling group conversation to a halt because you are throwing in tidbits of non-value just to hear yourself talk, it's time to re-evaluate your content strategy. Errr, your method for winning the ladies. Ladies, it seems, do not like to be creeped out.


4. They follow relevant people. This one I can't stress enough. I really expect big things from this area of content curation in the near future. As people really start to appreciate Twitter as a place to get engaged (figuratively and literally) my prediction is that they will start to really examine the Twitter environment and everything that makes a person or a brand "Follow-worthy." What I mean here is that we all need to take a closer look at the details. Who do you follow? Why? Is there a strategy to where you get your info, who you follow, who you hook your name up to? Do you have specific lists of people you follow so you can organize your info consumption in an efficient manner or do you lump everyone into one category just for the sake of showing the world that you are indeed, "Follow-worthy?" We all want to be loved and adored, but Twitter is not the place to win a popularity poll. These are important questions to ask yourself and anyone you are interested in welcoming into your world because what we are really talking about here is intentions. If your intention is to play the field and collect names and numbers for your little black book (or blog) then likely you will collect followers (or phone numbers) like Pez (or bottlecaps). But if you are farther along in the maturation process, perhaps you will employ a strategy to how you meet and greet and perhaps even you will be more choosy when it comes to bringing someone special home to meet mom.