Twitter Tuesday #22–Learning to T.H.I.N.K.

Welcome to the twentysecond installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. This blog will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–The Emotional Tweeter

We all have bad days and disappointments, but we need to be mindful that our drama doesn’t leak into the Twitterverse. Sometimes others post something that we might find offensive or upsetting, but a Twitter fight is a road better left untraveled. Platforms take months and years to build, but only seconds to destroy.

Writers, in particular, can be more prone to becoming an Emotional Tweeter. We put our writing out for the world to see and that comes with good and bad. If we get a nasty commenter on a blog or even a bad review, it is hard to not bite back electronically.

Don’t.

Type those words, and we can never take them back. Just breathe and call a friend. Take emotions off-line until you are calm. It isn’t worth it…really.

This Week’s Twitter Tip–Learn to T.H.I.N.K.

I didn’t invent this acronym, but it is an extremely helpful tool to help guide all our social media interactions.

Is it True?

Is it Helpful?

Is it Informative?

Is it Necessary?

Is it Kind?

Everything we post, must pass all of these questions before we let our fingers do the talking. Something might be true, but not kind. Other updates might be kind but not true (no one likes false flattery). By learning to T.H.I.N.K., we can always make sure we are putting our best foot forward within our digital community.

Tweet ya later!

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  1. #1 by amyshojai on June 21, 2011 - 3:44 pm

    I love acronyms…putting this one in my “share” stack.

  2. #2 by Orlando Ramos on June 21, 2011 - 3:48 pm

    I agree with your post. If I don’t know the person I’m about to request other friends to follow I simply look up there bio and blog. I also have a small number of people I promote largely.

    Good stuff.

  3. #3 by Sharon Hamilton on June 21, 2011 - 3:54 pm

    Well said. More than negativity comes through when we read another’s rants or emotional vomit. If I were an agent or publisher, or, even more important, a reader, I would be turned off.

    Not to say that there aren’t great lessons to be learned from our failures or disappointments. But we have to remember to fail forward, not backward. I love the quote from Vince Lombardi when he said he never lost a game, just ran out of time. The snapshot of today might look depressing, but wait until tomorrow!

  4. #4 by Leanne Shirtliffe on June 21, 2011 - 3:59 pm

    You know, Kristen, that’s not bad advice for communicating in general, whether it’s on Twitter or (gasp!) in person.

    Your devilish co-conspirator,
    Leanne

  5. #5 by Julia Munroe Martin on June 21, 2011 - 4:00 pm

    A really, really important post! As someone who was once-upon-a-time the object of a “friend’s” unkind and untrue tweets, I cannot agree with this more! Thank you for this important reminder!

  6. #6 by Katja Rinne on June 21, 2011 - 4:02 pm

    I have to disagree with this. Twitter is so much more than meant to be limited to tweets that pass all those points. I do agree however that negativity and ranting about readers/reviewers is bad, but if we look at the other points:

    True: sure, tweets better be true. Would be weird to tweet lies… Can’t think of an exception for this.
    Helpful: I’d say majority of tweets out there are not helpful, but I don’t think they need to be either. What would twitter be if people only let the helpful things pass their inner censor?
    Informative: in some sense all tweets are informative, but not in the bigger sense.
    Necessary: a BIG chunk of things in Twitter are unnecessary, but they’re still fun. Only necessary things will make you a dull twitterer.
    Kind: This I do agree with. Always aim for kindness.

    Twitter is supposed to fun light chatter with information flowing in between. I think you made it sound like the T.H.I.N.K. model is set in stone and nothing should be tweeted if it doesn’t pass every point. I find it a bit funny you posted this model, since I know you don’t follow it either always. You chatter in Twitter also, as we should.🙂

    • #7 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 21, 2011 - 4:13 pm

      Actually I think you have a much stricter interpretation that I am using. We may want to make a point that is true, but it undermines relationships, thus it isn’t necessary or kind. It doesn’t need to be said publicly in front of the world. Chatter can be helpful. It makes others feel connected in a community. Some people believe that talking about what we had for lunch is unnecessary, but I say it is very necessary. It falls under the “helpful” category. Mentioning everyday things offers an opening where people can easily start up a conversation. Sort of like mentioning the weather. It is an open and easy way to connect. Almost all tweets are Necessary. We cannot have a community unless everyone contributes. If I am just on Twitter posting link after link like a bot, then I am not engaging.

      I think you are reading too deeply into this, LOL. Mainly I would recommend using this THINK test as a litmus test when you are unsure. Somethimes we want to say something but we get that niggle in our gut that sets off a flag. Apply the THINK test and see how this comment fares. I have had knee-jerk reactions to say something, but then thought twice when I took time to THINK🙂. But, in the end, not every tool is useful for every person.

      • #8 by Katja Rinne on June 21, 2011 - 4:18 pm

        Well that explains it.🙂 I really did think about the words in quite a strict sense and couldn’t for the world imagine I’d follow anyone who’d keep his/her tweets so boring.😀

  7. #9 by Pat Newcombe on June 21, 2011 - 4:09 pm

    I agree – but not just about tweeting. I think with email generally it is too easy to write words in haste bang the send button and then repent at leisure… At least with snail mail generaly one has time to re-consider before taking to the post.

  8. #10 by Gene Lempp on June 21, 2011 - 4:24 pm

    Could not agree more with this post. Saw a phrase once on a retail store wall reminding employees “It takes years to gain a loyal customer but only a moment to lose them.” By always keeping this concept in the forefront of ones thinking a world of destruction can be avoided.

  9. #11 by lynmidnight on June 21, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    Yet another short and sweet post. Thanks.🙂 And have fun partying with the devil!😀

  10. #12 by We Wanted 2B Writers on June 21, 2011 - 4:55 pm

    As a relatively new tweep, I welcome all the tips I can find. The when-in-doubt litmus test is a useful reminder that words have consequences. Thanks for your many and generous contributions to the community.

  11. #13 by Jenny Hansen on June 21, 2011 - 5:06 pm

    Motto of the day: The only “flaming” tweets allowed are the ones relating to Devil over at the Launch Party (#DevilColony). The end.

    I’ve seen several people destroy themselves on blogs, Facebook and Twitter just because they can’t count to 10 and B-R-E-A-T-H-E for a moment.

  12. #14 by Kristie Kiessling (@Narratus) on June 21, 2011 - 5:18 pm

    Exactly so, Kristen! In the dark, early ages of the net there were these creatures called Guides on AOL (I *was* one) who followed THINK as best they could. It was also known as “smiling from the wrists down”. Alas, the Guides are no more… but it is evolution of the best sort because now it is up to the individual to THINK and to be wise – in tweets, email, and -gasp!- in-person interactions. And when our comments are positive it is good to employ THINKing. It helps us to be constructive, rather than destructive, even in our criticism.

  13. #15 by Syd Gill on June 21, 2011 - 5:31 pm

    Great post, Kristen! And so true! Even though I understood this principle, I’m I can find a bunch of tweets that fail the THINK test. Thanks for the reminder!

  14. #16 by Anne-Mhairi Simpson on June 21, 2011 - 5:56 pm

    My tweets are often not exactly necessary (who needs to know how much chocolate I ate today) but I think that helps show the human side of me (which helps with platform-building), so maybe it is necessary. ‘Is it True’ and Is it Kind’ are ones that I do always try to stick to. If it’s one and not the other, delete, delete, delete. The one time I got upset over some comments on my blog I managed a fairly general ‘why are some people so mean’ tweet. I immediately felt like a complete whiner and deleted it, but not before half a dozen friends asked what was up and then went over to my blog and weighed in with constructive comments.

    It was very sweet of them and there weren’t any repercussions, but I felt like I’d skated very close to a line. After that I resolved not to authorise comments that upset me (that was the stupid thing – I authorised them in the first place, because I had some ideas about free speech) and not to get mad about it. I think now I’d be better able to handle it, but I hadn’t long been in the blogosphere at the time. It was my first taste of how emotions can really run high on certain subjects. As they say, Twitter is forever, so the only thing I’d put into the mix was that initial whinge which was non-specific enough that no one felt singled out. But we are very emotional creatures, us writers, and I am worse than most. If I feel really upset I stick to DMs or walk away altogether. Especially when DMs can sometimes jump into the main feed for no reason at all. Scary times!!

  15. #17 by asrai on June 21, 2011 - 6:19 pm

    Good tips. I once followed someone who made a joke about a specific group of people. I told her that some (including me) might find that offensive. She told me too bad.

    Making fun of people is never “just in good fun” someone is going to get hurt.

  16. #18 by Katie on June 21, 2011 - 6:38 pm

    It’s definitely smart to THINK before you tweet… Or say anything at all!

  17. #19 by nrhatch on June 21, 2011 - 7:02 pm

    Wonderful advice, for Tweeters and Twits! 😀

  18. #20 by Renee Schuls-Jacobson on June 21, 2011 - 7:41 pm

    Kristen, per usual, your blog post is timely. Just a few days ago, someone I had been following but I don’t know made a nasty comment about the general intellect of people on Twitter. I went and checked out his followers: 92. And he’s been blogging for years! Sort of said it all. You don’t make friends by being a douche-bag. Guess who’s not following whom any more? Maybe it sounds punitive but, with my strict Twitter diet, I can’t be bothered by people like that when there are @juliecgardner’s out there.

  19. #21 by Catherine Johnson on June 21, 2011 - 8:30 pm

    Great stuff, there is also the ‘that came out completely wrong, oops!’ tweet. Yikes it is so easy to fail out there.

  20. #22 by Holly KSS on June 21, 2011 - 9:16 pm

    I always try to keep this in mind, as when I see other people’s tweets about something that contains “too much information” I am immediately turned off, and then I have the urge to unfollow. It’s not too much to ask to keep a professional tone.

  21. #23 by educlaytion on June 22, 2011 - 1:37 am

    I may be the king of anagrams, but you could be the queen of acronyms.

  22. #24 by Diana Murdock on June 22, 2011 - 3:32 am

    Three words: Law of Attraction. If we focus on tweeting anything less than uplifting or helpful, or are focused on something someone tweeted that side-swiped our day, then the negative juju will only fester under our skin and keep us running on a treadmill of negativity. Total time and energy waster in my opinion. Besides, how often does doing verbal battle with someone that we don’t know on an intimate basis really change how we feel?

    We can’t control what others say or do.

    So we can take a walk, run, brush our pets, eat ice cream, sing to our favorite tunes on our iPod, and do an attitude shift. Now THAT is what we can control. Set your sights on that high road…the view is awesome!

  23. #25 by Lissa on June 22, 2011 - 6:29 pm

    I’m going to be the lone wolf here. I tweet both good and bad, positive and negative. The bad and negative, I’m not the only one that feels that the day is going to pot or that the reviews are mean-spirited (and some are, regardless of whether people say they’re not), the book isn’t flowing, spam sucks, there’s not enough chocolate or wine… it’s real. It really is real. Everyone feels it and sometimes to say there just aren’t enough hours in the F’ing day, connects people.

    At the same time, I tweet the good and positive…read a great book, loved the coffee, baked cookies, can’t wait for Burn Notice to start, the WIP is really flowing, got a new contract, etc… those also work to connect people.

    I don’t really like 24/7 perkiness. It drives me batty. I like good moods and positive vibes. But if all someone tweets is happy happy, joy joy, all is beautiful and right with the world, rainbows and kittens… I tend to think you’re kinda fake and I’ll most likely go the other way. Maybe I’m cynical and jaded, a bit too much of a smartass and too sarcastic. Even readers have bad days, editors, too. And they say so. I like knowing I’m not the only one. And they like knowing they’re not the only ones.

    I try to always be kind, always be helpful if possible, even if it’s giving someone a person to commiserate with when everything seems to be headed downhill from the moment you step out of bed. Not all of us have someone to call and vent with. I don’t attack people, though, I don’t get into twitter wars with others and if something offends me, I’ll either ignore it or unfollow.

    Those that follow me, we connect on one level or another. If you don’t like how or what I tweet about, then don’t follow me (70% of the time, it’s about coffee, NASCAR, writing, and what i’ve baked or what i’m craving to bake). We’re not doing each other any good. I don’t hesitate to unfollow someone if they are not my kind of tweeter or if they just make me unhappy when they show up in my feed, and I know others don’t hesitate to unfollow me for the same reason. We’re not all going to get along, no matter the platform we’re trying to build and we shouldn’t force ourselves to. It’s like in instant messaging or chatting… if someone bothers you or is rude or unkind, there are ignore buttons. That’s what they’re for. There are block and unfollow options on Twitter. I’m a big fan of weeding things out, of decluttering what is unnecessary to my happy existence and that includes followers and ‘friends’ on social sites.

    I think in all social media there needs to be a balance, more than anything. Too much of one thing one way is not good. Even too much happy, positive, go forth and smile. Too much negative is bad, as well. It’s about balance for me and if I’m being too negatively emotional, I’ll try to find something awesome to tweet or I’ll walk away for a while. But I’m not always going to tweet happy.

    I love your posts, Kristen. There’s always food for thought, always something that makes me look at what I’m doing and if it’s effective or not. I’ve applied some things you’ve talked about to my writing and to social media. I haven’t applied everything because not everything is going to work for everyone. This was a great post though and it serves again as brain food. I love that.

  24. #26 by Sonia G Medeiros on June 22, 2011 - 10:41 pm

    I tend to be a bit moody in real life…but I’ve learned to contain myself…at least until I can get my husband alone. LOL. I’ve seen what can happen when someone freaks out online. Definitely not something I want to do. THINK is very, very good advice!

  25. #27 by Ann Brennan on June 23, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    Kristen I have a topic for you to think on. I have noticed that I go through waves that seem to make no sense for hits on my site. Is there a rhyme or reason. How much should I focus on weekly hits?

    • #28 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 23, 2011 - 10:56 pm

      I would focus on monthly hits more so. Weekly, there is just too much stuff going on that can affect the numbers. At the end of the day just keep writing. But I might post on this. It’s a tough subject because no one really has great answers.

  26. #29 by Marilag Lubag on June 24, 2011 - 8:00 am

    It’s necessary to THINK before we do anything and not just on Twitterverse. THINK also applies on real life. 🙂 Imagine if we all THINK before we speak. The world would probably be at peace right now.

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