SEAN MCDOWELL BLOG
My Twitter PhilosophyPosted August 13, 2015 by Sean McDowell
I love Twitter! While I enjoy Instagram, Facebook, and a host of other forms of social media, Twitter is by far my favorite. I use Twitter to check the news, keep up with my peers, and post information that others hopefully find useful.
If you spend time on Twitter, it becomes clear that people have varying philosophies about how to use it. I certainly don’t claim that mine is the best. In fact, I learn new things about Twitter all the time and will probably update this post soon! Nevertheless, here are six principles I try to tweet by:
- Be Positive. We live in an argumentative culture. People seem to have no problem saying things on Twitter that they would never say in person. It’s easy to be negative. And yet people generally don’t listen to those who are critical, snarky, and condescending. While I have had my moments (and had to delete a few tweets), my goal is to be positive. Even when trolls hound me, I aim to respond with kindness and grace. This is not always easy, which is why I give myself time before responding to negative critiques so I can hopefully respond in a positive manner.
- Provide Value. There are endless voices competing for our time and allegiance. I want to use my time well. And I assume most people do also. My goal is that people come to my Twitter feed expecting to find something that provides value to their lives. Thus, I post articles that I find insightful, inspirational quotes, resources I find helpful, and occasionally personal experiences or humorous incidents to (hopefully) give people a good laugh.
- Champion Others. Not only do I want to provide value on my blog and Twitter feed, I want to help promote others who also provide value. I read tons of blogs and articles every day on topics such as culture, leadership, youth, and apologetics. If you write something of value, then I will likely tweet it. My goal is to help promote material that is beneficial, and I am more than happy to champion others when they produce quality content. We need to lock arms with others who share a common passion so we can have an exponential impact.
- Don’t Over-Tweet. Few things frustrate me more (on Twitter) than people who over-tweet. In fact, the quickest way I unfollow someone is if they tweet too much. No one is that important that we need to know what he or she is doing every five minutes! Personally, I have found about 6-8 tweets per day to be a good balance. In his book Platform, Michael Hyatt encourages people to tweet about 10-12 times per day. If you have good content, then go for it.
- Be Personal. Trust is one of the most important commodities today. Why should people trust you? In general, if people realize there is a real person behind the Twitter account, who has common dreams and struggles, and who is authentic, they will be much more likely to trust you. Don’t be afraid to share personal experiences from time to time—it will help humanize you. I enjoy reading occasional funny incidents, personal updates, and interesting experiences from people I follow. And I try to provide that for my followers as well. Also, I often add brief comments about blogs that I post so readers know what I think about it.
- Take Sundays Off. This was actually a tough choice since I so often speak on Sundays and love to give a “shout-out” to the church that hosts me. Nevertheless, like any form of social media, Twitter can become addictive. If Chic-Fil-A can take Sunday off, then so can you and I. If it doesn’t work for you to take Sundays off, then at least have some boundaries in your use of Twitter. Be intentional about working in some Twitter-free space in your life.
Twitter is a great form of social media. If you use it, and you want to genuinely motivate people, then my encouragement is to be positive, provide value, champion others, don’t over-tweet, be personal, and take some time off. If you follow this philosophy (or one like it), you just might be surprised at how many people follow you back.