Your mother always told you: If you have nothing nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all.
Now that you’re an adult, your mom’s advice can help inform your social media presence.
At a birthday party, a fellow Twitter user
and I struck up a conversation. We’d only met once before in person, and we’d had limited interaction on Twitter, but he remarked that I was nice and complimentary on Twitter.
What happened next surprised me.
Several people around us spoke up in agreement. Many said they felt they needed to improve at being nice and sharing the work of others on Twitter.
I don’t have a formula
for how often I promote other people’s content on Twitter versus my own, but I do focus on drawing attention to the great work others are doing. If I find something on the Web that I like and think is beautiful, inspiring, useful, educational, or otherwise interesting, I share it. Simple as that.
If you want to improve at being nice and sharing more on Twitter, here’s how you can start:
• Surround your stream with positive people. In real life, you don’t like to hang out with folks that are constant complainers or point out the shortcomings of others. So, why do it online? The beautiful thing about Twitter is the ease with which you can follow and unfollow others. Someone’s tweets putting a bad taste in your mouth? Unfollow. Get them out of your stream, there’s already enough there to deal with. Find someone positive and interesting? Follow. Then reach out and say something nice.
• Grab a free Flickr account. Add your friends, family, and Twitter network as contacts. Chances are several of the people you interact with online on a daily basis are photographers. When you find a photo they took that you like, share it. Mention the photographer. Say something nice.
• Use Google Reader. It’s so easy to click the subscribe button whenever you stumble across an interesting blog. Often, if you like one post, you’re going to like more. Keep tabs on the writing that you enjoy and then regularly peruse your reader for something link-worthy to share. Make sure to link to the author. Say something nice.
• Create Twitter lists. Find other people on Twitter who are generally complimentary of others’ work and do a good job of regularly sharing it. Make a list of those people, and then watch what they do. The best way to learn how to tweet like this is to watch those who do it regularly. When you want to connect, simply reach out with an @ reply or a retweet. When you share a link, say something nice.
• Be human. No one likes to talk shop all the time. People like to know other people, so share things that fall more toward the “personal” side of the spectrum than “business” sometimes. Acknowledge great things happening in real life, and when you can share great news about someone else, do it. Say something nice.
Who you are in life should be who you are online. Are you the positive person you want to be in both places?
Now, go. Give some link love. Say something nice.
A version of this story first appeared on Becky Johns’ blog.