Twitter Tuesday #20–Direct Messages & The Power of Positive Tweeting

Welcome to the twentieth 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. My tips will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–The Private Praiser

I find it interesting how some people feel as if they have to send a direct message to give a compliment. There is a rule I have always tried to live by-Criticize in private, but praise in public…and praise often.

If you would like to thank someone for following, just thank them. If you loved their blog or their book, say so in the open. When we praise people openly, not only is that good for the person we are complimenting…but it makes us look good, too.

Do you like people who are stingy with their praise? I don’t. I’ve worked very hard to earn praise from people I admired, yet after all that effort with little to no acknowlegement? I gave up. We will only go to a dry well so long before we move on. Friendships are give and take.

Most of us hear where we fail or fall short. Ever worked in the service industry? I think it should be a law that everyone has to work at least one year in retail or waiting tables. People will take a day off work to complain, but so few go out of their way to say, “Good job.” Those precious few who do are like rare gems and we treasure them.

Back in high school I worked at one of those pizza places for kids…you know, the ones with all the games and the pits filled with plastic balls. It was an exhausting job that paid minimum wage. Yet, one parent took the time to write a wonderful compliment card noting how good I was with the children. I never met this mom and don’t know her name, but 20 years later I still remember that compliment.

Many of the people in our lives are quick to tell us what we forgot and where we fell short of expectations. Thus, when we come across someone who is liberal with open praise??? Wow. It is like a fresh breeze that perks up the withered soul.

This Week’s Twitter Tip–Be a Twitter Cheerleader

So many people ask how I find the energy to do so much, serve so much, blog so much and the simple answer is….you. I have so many cheerleaders that take time to tell me I am loved and appreciated, and, for you guys, I am willing to move mountains.

You want the secret to success? Praise others openly and often. We are often so starved for positive words that you will be our BFF if you just take a moment to cheer us on.

The key ingredient that makes the difference between failure and success is attitude. People LIKE positive people. We can’t get enough of them. We love them and want to help them. Their energy refreshes everyone around. Be one of those points of light, and others will want to support you.

It takes no great effort to be negative, but there are no monuments erected to critics. Criticism is easy and it’s lazy. Anyone can find problems, but it takes character and creativity to find a bright side, to look for solutions.

Tweet ya later!….


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  1. I am trying so hard to get the hang of Twitter. This will definitely help! Thanx for another great post!

  2. I’m right with you on this! We get back what we give out, so let’s have more praise all around!

  3. Great message, Kristen! You know what your next NF book should be? “Life Lessons from the Twitter-verse.”

    Just keep swimming….

  4. Kristen, thank you. I just read a blog yesterday where someone apologized–yes, really–for saying how much she liked an agent’s blog. She made a point to state she was “not brown nosing” or “sucking up.” Jeez! Why can’t we just do as you suggest, thank people for good jobs and praise them when we feel they deserve it? And . . . without worrying about whether we’re brown nosing or sucking up? I don’t give a hoot. I’ve been following your blog and your progress on Mayer’s site, and honest to goodness, I’m really impressed and grateful because what you do helps guide me as I navigate through some really tough water. Thanks, Kristen. You’re doing an incredible job of cheerleading. Go, girl.

  5. *showers praise on this post* What a happy post for a Tuesday morning ^_^

  6. You know what, Kristen, I think you’re right (well duh). I love to praise people and I do it all the time, and most people LOVE it and reciprocate which usually surprises me because I don’t really expect praises from people myself. Others don’t get it but that’s their problem not mine.

    Anyway, being on Twitter truly is like have your own personal cheer-leading squad. I love my tweepers (or twibe as you call it). They are the cornerstones of my confidence as a writer. Really. If they don’t pay me compliments or give me feedback, who will?

    And finally, I like that = “anyone can find problems”. Sadly, the positive people are only a handful, so I am very grateful for those friends in particular. They make my days. Speaking of which, thanks for sharing this on your blog! I was actually lurking here today to see if you’d update and you did. 🙂

  7. Very well expressed and taught by example. 😀

  8. It’s SO nice to hear positiveness! I get so sick of hearing only the negative in the news and with people complaining about this and that. In truth, there’s a lot out there that is good and great and worth howling about, especially in the writing world. Someone always has a good story to tell that is uplifting and brings a smile to my face. Thanks for this, Kristen.

  9. Great post as always! Social media is constantly evolving so we are always learning. Thanks to this blog we don’t have to look far for answers and tips to stay in the game!

    Happy Tuesday!


  10. Great post Kristen! Love the Twitter Tuesday posts, always right on target and right on time 🙂

  11. Positivity rules! And I always find some here. Thanks!

  12. Just say “No” to private praise….and “Cheer”leads the way. I Like it….

    I received the best compliment yesterday…someone said on twitter that I’m the most supportive person she knows. Isn’t that sweet? It made my day.

    I wouldn’t be tweeting if it wasn’t for you!

    1. You ARE, dearie! 🙂

  13. I ‘thought’ I was doing this, but now I realize I’m not doing it right. Thanks for the post!

  14. Right on, Kristen! You have been my go-to guru for some time now and this post is one good reason why that is…you have so much wisdom to pass on to others and you do it in a positive and humorous way! I agree with K.B. Owen, write a book on Twitter Life Lessons!

  15. You are a wise woman indeed, Kristen. Thanks for this timeless reminder.
    Christine London

  16. I love to cheer others on! It brightens up my day. I tend to beat up on myself sometimes but, the more I encourage others, the less I beat up on myself. Weird how that works. 😀

  17. When I was working as an editor for my university’s literary journal, I decided to change a few things. We received hundreds of submissions each semester, and the people whose stories didn’t make the cut, they received the dreadful form letter. I took the initiative as editor to point out the reasons why the story wasn’t ready for publication. Yes, it was a lot of effort on my part, but I felt that the writers wouldn’t improve if they didn’t know why their story wasn’t accepted.

    I wondered if my extra effort was worth it, if those rejected writers came out better because of what I had written. Most of our submissions were snail-mail, so the cost of sending a reply made it understandable that I didn’t receive any further mail from writers. But then, near the end of my term as editor, I received a thank you card — a legitimate, hand-written letter from a writer thanking me for my effort in explaining what went wrong with her story.

    So, now that I’m the editor of a new journal, I use that letter as a reminder of why I tailor rejection letters to include criticism. That praise for my effort reinforced my resolve to help other writers.

    It is always nice to have your efforts recognized, even if it’s just a congratulatory tweet in regard to your daily word count, and I make a point to thank everyone who takes the time to RT something I said, or when they take the time to acknowledge my writing efforts of the day. It feels good to have this community of writers helping one another out and cheering others on.

    • Kathleen on June 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm
    • Reply

    So true!!

  18. Loved this post and I’m going to take it to heart and spread the love and joy and sunshine!! Thank you for writing it!

  19. I think we introverts have a harder time with open praise than extroverts. We are sometimes embarrassed by kudos, so we can be uncertain how to give them. But I definitely want to support others and am looking for those opportunities to do so!

    And I totally agree that everyone should have to do a stint in a restaurant or retail. I have done both, and I am substantially more patient and tip better now.

  20. Of course, I read everything by Kristen 🙂

    This quote from you nailed it, “I find it interesting how some people feel as if they have to send a direct message to give a compliment. There is a rule I have always tried to live by-Criticize in private, but praise in public…and praise often.


    1. I’m framing this…seriously :D.

  21. I love this! Yes, it’s so easy to brighten someone’s day with just a quick note of encouragement. Even at home with my kids, I try to catch them being good and sprinkle them with praise. We can all use a compliment now and then. Thanks for all you do!

  22. More great advice! I was sending private messages to thank people for following me until I saw you post something saying it’s better to do it in the open. I started doing that and I think it’s made a difference in my own attitude about twitter (which was hesitant to say the least) as well as gaining me more followers. I enjoy the interactions now. It’s more like just having a conversation. I’m glad you’re here to teach us. 😀

  23. I’m tired of being PC! Okay, I’m not going unhinged here, but . . . golly, I just want to be able to thank whom I please, so from now on–thanks, Kristen–I’m darn well gonna.

  24. I never thought of thanking someone who follows me in public. I saw it as not cluttering up the public feed. (Is that the right word? lol) But I realize now that comes from years of being involved in loops. For those who receive the group’s messages via digest, you don’t want to have 100 ‘thank yous’ mixed in with all the messages.

    The way I found your blog, Kristen, was after posting two questions about Twitter Etiquette in Romance Divas–an online writing community. They were: 1. do you autofollow and 2. do you thank every follower whether you follow or not. Everyone said ‘no’ to both questions. They may follow someone if they like their posts, but they won’t autofollow. I went ahead and unfollowed people I didn’t know or who weren’t published. What a snob I am!

    I haven’t read that much here yet, but I’m gathering this is NOT how to build a network. 🙂
    Thanks for Twitter Tuesday.

  25. Loved this post – just discovered your site and looking forward to reading more. Love the positivity and agree about giving praises liberally – something we’re not taught to do though!

  26. Wait, so you are saying it is a good thing that I was a cheerleader in high school? 😉 I do love to praise someone who writes well. It’s really is the fastest way to make a friend in the Twitterverse!

  27. Besides, if we praise them, their good deeds/book/blog is exposed to Twitterverse. Hopefully it helps them, too.

  28. I sometimes cringe at my happy clappy support of others on Twitter. Why wouldn’t you want others to know you think a particular person is awesome? Where’s the fun in that???

  29. I loved this post Kristen. Such simple rules for making people happier.

    • CareyBaldwin on June 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm
    • Reply

    Great advice Kristen. I’ve had a few head-scratcher direct messages sent to me. If you can’t say something publicly (in social media context) why tweet at all?

  1. […] First up, from Kristen Lamb, comes her latest installment of Twitter Tuesday. If you haven’t checked out this series it showcases the best and worst of Twitter-etiquette: Twitter Tuesday #20–Direct Messages & The Power of Positive Tweeting. […]

  2. […] you’re at it, check out Kristen Lamb’s Twitter Tuesday series at her blog. Pearls of Twitter wisdom every […]

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