7 Golden Rules of Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseEvery so often, businesses tweet me to follow them and help them get followers.

My response to this yesterday:

" Focus on useful tweets & helping people. Put others first. We tweet 2 learn, not 4 followers."

I've been watching popular educational Tweeters unfollow people in droves.

Upon reading 4 Keys to Increasing Your Klout Score I knew why.

In Klout metrics, if you have a lot of followers and don't follow a lot of people yourself - you're considered "important" and you can more highly engage with less followers, thus upping your Klout score. They tell you to unfollow people. Don't talk to people who won't talk to you. Things like that.

Before competing for "Klout." Decide if the metric fits with your reason for being on Twitter. Personally, I think that good Tweeters (or bloggers) can benefit from some good old fashioned values. I don't have 100,000 followers but am close to 19,000 as of the writing of this, these words spring from my personal experience.

Attribution Some rights reserved by benleto

Seven Golden Rules of Tweeting

Golden Rule #1: Know Why You Tweet.
Have a purpose. Know why you are there.

Golden Rule #2: Follow As You Wish.
It is your decision who to follow and who not to follow. Everyone has different methods of determining who they will follow based on rule #1.

Golden Rule #3: Engage in Conversation.
If your goal is to learn more about a topic, you build synergy and a critical mass of people of connections on that topic as you engage in conversations that center around hashtags like #edchat. See Rule #1.

Golden Rule #4: Focus on the Followers You Have.
It is easy to get obsessed with numbers. The fact is that we are each important, worthwhile beings. I am neither made more important or more worthy of the love of my family and friends because more people follow me. Focus less on followers and more on being helpful to those who are there. If having followers important to you or your business, learn more about Twitter and revise your reason for tweeting under #1.

Golden Rule #5: Be Helpful.
Helpful people are blessed in this environment of connections. I think the very best Tweeters who add to my life are helpful, intelligent people. They are "enchanting" as Guy Kawasaki says in his book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.

Golden Rule #6: Tweet as If Everyone Was Watching
I have one tweet I really regret. It is the only one I remember deleting.

I was sitting in an airport and a guy sits next to me. He had on headphones. Somehow oblivious to the fact that he was in a public place and that although he couldn't hear, the woman next to him (me) could, he did the unthinkable. Yes he did.

But what was worse was what I did. I tweeted a smart comment in shock because I needed to "tell someone."

At the same time, across the country, my Twitter stream was up on the board being discussed at a conference when the up comes a tweet about the guy next to me's lack of intestinal fortitude. My friend quickly DM'd me. It is now the only Tweet I can remember deleting.

I was humiliated. Twitter isn't some-one. It never is. It is any-one. Every-one. Remember that.
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There are a lot of people "out there" and there are some things that just don't belong out there.

I really don't want to know when you're sitting on the toilet or when some big guy in the airport has a problem sitting next to you.

Learn from my humiliation and know that some things on Twitter harm your credibility and just don't belong there.

Golden Rule #7: Run Your Own Race.
Don't keep up with the Joneses or Cool Cats or anyone on Twitter.

This past Friday night I ran in the Gnat Days 5K. (yes, we celebrate the gnat here in Camilla.) I ran it in 31:27 which was a whole 2 minutes off my time from last year.

One year later, I am 35 pounds thinner and it felt great. I beat some of my students and several women half my age who were quite put out that I came in several minutes ahead of them. I came in five minutes behind my super-fit sister who is only 15 months younger.

But sometimes winning means beating yourself. Kip always meets me at the finish line and says
"You ran your own race! You finished! You did it!"
I run because I'm 42 and I've reclaimed my life. If I hadn't joined Weight Watchers and started running, I would be over 200 pounds by now. I'm now a size 8. It is never too late to reclaim your life from self destructive habits.

Mom came out to the race. She is in Weight Watchers and has lost over 20 pounds. She walked the race and won in her division. Many other women just like me are doing it too. We are friends and support each other on our journey to be more.

It is part of living a good life. Inspiring others. Inspiring yourself. Teaching others what you're learning.

And that, my friends, is the answer to my #1.

Be real. Tweet nobly.
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