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.

Foursquare, all words and no actions!

I truly felt Foursquare Mayorship had finally arrived in the UK today and with style! I had a crown, a cake, and magazine to read (wired naturally) and a coffee!!  Now I don’t expect to get this treatment in the other three places I am Mayor of, namely because one is a child’s play park, AND not to mention this Mayorship is actually of my own work and I’m the only one checking in, BUT the appreciation of my custom is humbly received!

A year after Foursquare launched, we are still only talking about it, and everyone seems to be saying the same thing- we are all just talking about it. Now I’m a big advocate of words, I love words but you can’t beat good old fashion action any day of the week. We all know the Foursquare chat but where’s the Foursquare action?

Searching SM sites this morning, I find so many people talking about Foursquare, there’s tons of Twitter hashtags and mentions and yet still we in Europe have no real take up. Why is everyone still just talking about it?

While Social Media is still widely unused by the masses, we know it works, it’s revolutionised marketing, advertising and PR with things moving more digital and online. Are people just fed up about another SM avenue they are being instructed to walk down? Are they still playing catch up? Are we ahead of our time?

Being someone who loves Social Media and is happy to be in the percentage of people who check their twitter/facebook and pings off emails while the morning coffee is percolating ( yeah I’m old school on coffee) I feel a little frustrated it’s not gone maninstream yet.

I feel a bit like Tom Hanks in the film Big, excitedly presenting his designed toy to the management team at the end of the movie. He’s designed this great toy with children in mind and the bad guy puts his hand up and says “I don’t get it”, stopping Tom Hanks in his tracks completely. He tries to explain it but the bad guy remains persistent, “I just don’t get it” he shrugs, a little wickedly.

This little excerpt of a great 80’s movie lends itself well to the Foursquare theory for me.

What is not to get? Foursquare is not an expense, its a little time, a little correct direction by a good SM company and you’re off. Are businesses and retailers just being spoil sports?  Ruining our Social Media fun? Getting us back for the SM invasion? Are they rebelling against Social Media and its apparent takeover of the world?  Is there a secret anti Foursquare club with secret handshakes?? Or are they just lazy and don’t want to put in the effort?

Why can’t businesses and retailers be thankful? Embrace the great things social media is designing for their businesses and just say ‘This is awesome, thanks!’  However, this girl loves a challenge, and this time next year….