How Twitter Networking is a Lot Like Dating

Have you ever noticed how many rules, guidelines, and suggestions people have for connecting on Twitter? Now, I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of doing the same thing – suggesting tips on how others can best develop their Twitter networks. But, like dating advice, it seems everyone has a list of suggestions. So who do you listen to? What tips should you follow?

I may not be the best person to provide dating advice these days since I’ve been happily married for almost 8 years. But here are some ways in which Twitter tips are much like dating advice.

Be yourself, but better

We want others to like us for us, but maybe not “all” of us. When dating, we hide our idiosyncrasies, bad habits, and bad jokes. We wear our best outfits, eat slowly, and act on our best behavior. Twitter is much the same. We act a little more professional, keep the sarcasm and jokes to a minimum, and, in my case, watch the inappropriate language (I can put a sailor to shame with my language!). We want others on Twitter to follow and like us for our professional accomplishments and respect our points of view. But just like dating, sooner or later, the real you is going to come out. So don’t be afraid to show a little more of the real you on Twitter. Be real and honest, and you will attract others much like yourself.

Compliment the Other

One of the keys to dating is to make the other person feel good about themselves. We tell the other person how great they look, how funny they are, how smart they are. Twitter networking is very similar. One of the best ways to generate conversation is to begin a conversation with someone by complimenting a blog they wrote or a post they made. Letting them know you value their opinion is a great form of flattery on Twitter.

Don’t Seem too Eager

When it comes to dating advice, we are told not to seem too eager – we have all heard of the 3 day rule. You know, don’t call the other person until at least 3 days after the date, etc. I often hear people say that you shouldn’t seem too eager on Twitter either. Don’t respond to tweets or replies immediately, don’t be too quick to thank someone for favoriting or retweeting. Now, personally, I’m not a patient person and I certainly don’t like to wait. When it comes to Twitter, if I’m online when you reply to my tweet, I’m going to respond right away. Not to mention, it’s harder to sustain a conversation when you encounter 3 hour breaks between tweets.

Don’t Rush Things

When dating someone, it is important not to rush the natural progression. Some relationships develop quickly and intensely, others may take months to evolve to a significant level of trust. Likewise, on Twitter, some connections may be willing to connect and engage immediately and frequently. Others may take a while to develop a strong connection. Just keep focusing on the relationships and they will grow naturally and be just as rewarding (if not more) than the others.

Don’t Lose Yourself

The important thing to remember when dating someone new, is to not lose yourself or your identity. We want to maintain our individual strengths and interests while still finding ways to share our experiences with someone else. Twitter is an easy place to be yourself or lose yourself. There are over 500 million users on Twitter today – so no matter your personality, interests, or opinions, I can guarantee there are many others just like you out there to connect with. Stay true to who you are and don’t try to change for everyone else!

Keep It Fun

When dating, it’s all about the fun factor. Finding fun places to go, visit, eat, etc. While we may not be going anywhere specifically when on Twitter, we still need to keep the fun going. We need to keep people interested and engaged. Think about it as a date – if your date is always talking about their work and never tells you anything personal, how connected are you going to feel to them? Twitter is much the same. Don’t be afraid to tell others how you’re feeling, what you’re up to, what you’re doing, and other personal experiences that bring the audience into your world.

Nurture the Relationship

The most important part of any relationship is to nurture it – give it our time, commitment, and encouragement. Twitter networking is a process and a relationship just like all others. It takes time and commitment to generate relationship with random strangers from all over the world. And these relationships are not one-sided. We need to be providing information of value to our followers while still keeping things personal. We need to share, reply, and retweet others as well, showing that we value their opinions and contributions. Engage in real conversations with others in a genuine and honest way.

The key to Twitter networking, just like dating, is to find what works for you. While my tips above may be vague, I do that because I don’t know what will work for you. Maybe you’re really shy and take time to warm up to others, or maybe you’re very direct and tell others exactly what you’re thinking. Whatever the case, use Twitter the way you are in real life. Being honest and transparent is the best advice I can give you – whether dating or Twitter networking!

Do you have any other tips that apply to both dating and Twitter networking? Please share them in the comments below!

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