I love to live tweet during Love and Hip Hop. A few weeks ago, Twitter was down during the show and watching it just didn’t feel quite right without the chance to crack jokes about the z-list celebrities Mona Scott Young exploits to keep her pockets stacked.
I also love to live tweet during Love and Hip Hop because it is one of the few passes I give myself each week to be inappropriate and slightly reckless on social media but I wasn’t always like this. I didn’t always think I needed a rare pass to spit off whatever thought came to mind. But, then my Twitter following started to expand and I realized people were actually paying attention to the things I chose to say.
That was good.
It was also frightening as hell.
My 1500 followers may seem like a pebble in the water relative to celebrities and other bloggers, but I don’t take that number lightly. I don’t take anyone choosing to listen to my thoughts, consume my promotion or engage with my work lightly. Time is precious, so if someone deems it fit to devote any of their time to the things I say, I intend not to waste it.
Everyone’s approach to social media is different. I see (and usually mute or unfollow) people who are beyond influential in the social media space who choose to degrade, destroy and diminish the very people who are loyal them. I see people write diatribes about something someone pitched to them, knowing the person who pitched that is on the receiving line of the tweet. I see a lot of things that I truly and wholeheartedly have vowed against ever doing if I get to a level of influence like that.
One of my favorite quotes is “To whom much is given, much is required.” I don’t know if that applies anywhere more than it does in the online world. Here are a few things I’ve learned (some the hard way) when it comes to engagement, tact and responsibility, particularly when it comes to my favorite social media channel, Twitter.
Reply, don’t just favorite: “Favoriting” a tweet now is the equivalent of a head nod; it’s you acknowledging that something exists. Replying with anything, even if it’s just a short sentence or a “Yes!” shows you took a second to engage with what the other person said. People appreciate that more than you know.
Balance out the self-promotion with showing others love: I owe social media the world. Without it, I wouldn’t have gained readers nor had people show up at events. But, as much as I love sharing new ideas, posts or events, I also try to build in the chance to highlight other people, uplift their voices and show respect where it’s due. There are a lot of people out there doing amazing things. It’s OK to fall back and share that work too.
When in doubt, delete: If the draft folder for your tweets is piled high, that’s probably a good thing. Twitter is such an instantaneous medium that it’s easy to 1) write something you’ll regret or 2) assume that no one will see it because the lifespan of a tweet is so short.
Don’t publicly drag someone: I live for a good read. I do. But, I think those good reads should be reserved for The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It’s never a good look to humiliate someone else online, especially not if that person shares the same niche or audience as you.
Take debates offline after a tweet and a response: Trolls are everywhere, and sometimes it’s so tempting to give in and just argue with them up and down someone’s timeline. Avoid it. If it gets beyond a tweet and a response (and maybe one more response to that response), take it offline. Or, better yet, just block them.
Your brand is everything you create, do and say: Deciding who you’re going to be on social media translates into the brand you want to cultivate. Building that brand requires ownership and accountability for the things you say, even in 140 characters or less. You can be opinionated and still be respectful. You can be sarcastic and still be diplomatic. The world is not either/or. My poster child for this statement is my blog fairy godmother, Maya Francis. She’s hilarious, witty and outspoken, but has never struck me as being disrespectful or crossing the line. She’s still professional and able to get her point across. There’s a way to do it and she’s mastered that way.
What about you? What other things have you learned about engagement, tact and responsibility as you build your brand? Let us know in the comments!
Tyece Wilkins is the creator and editor-in-chief of Twenties Unscripted, a blog for millennial women. She enjoys drinking red wine, reading, getting entrenched in long conversations with friends and creating customized things that she doesn’t need on Zazzle.
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