Twitter – how to start relationships

Remember being a gauche teenager going to your first college parties? The network that you’d relied on in school suddenly disappeared and  figuring out how to make new friends and having some fun came at the price of a few uncomfortable moments; trapped in the kitchen with the engineering student who’d learned Monty Python’s Philosopher’s song as his (only) conversation gambit, doing the breaststroke in the punch bowl, dancing like it’s 1999 (and it was only ’91) and someone videoing the evidence.

Getting started in Twitter can be the same. Twitter fledgelings can find it pretty difficult to gauge what to say, when and importantly how to strike up and warm those  hesitant friendships.

Like anything else, you get back what you put in. That’s not to say that your behavior is a cynical modus to some ulterior objective… well not all the time. Here are a few simple ways to invite someone to start a social media relationship using Twitter as the jumping off point, without coming over all desperate and angsty.

  • Follow them, visit their profile and look at who they are following and what interests them. (not in a stalkery way)
  • Retweet something that you find valuable from their  twitter stream
  • If they included a link to a blog post; visit and perhaps comment, subscribe, retweet, add to your blog roll social bookmark or forward to your networks if it has value to them.
  • Direct message them with an observation or something which you think will be of value to them in the context of their recent posts/tweets.
  • Listen and then listen some more
  • Use #hashtags and find tweeters with similar interests, from election coverage to music lovers

And the best way of all – be engaging with your own content, make it interesting, humorous,  quirky, useful… but most of all relax and be yourself.