Twitter Tuesday #21–The Power of Names


Welcome to the twenty-first 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–Tunnel-Vision Tweeter

There is nothing especially wrong with being a Tunnel-Vision Tweeter except that it will limit much of what Twitter has to offer. Twitter, when used properly, is about communicating and creating relationships. I know many of us are terrified of saying the wrong thing. Well, I used to be and then learned to not take myself so seriously. Your fellow tweeps are not scouring every word you type waiting to pounce if you make a mistake. This is not to give license to be stupid…*cough* Weiner *giggle*…but it is to help you relax so you’ll feel free to just hang out and chat.

Many times I will see people on Twitter who never talk to anyone else. If you pull up their profile and feed, it is one link after another or one RT after another. We can look at the tweets and see we aren’t dealing with a bot…but it doesn’t feel like we are quite dealing with a human either. Take time to talk to people. Many of us are on Twitter because we are bored, lonely, or looking for friends. The best way to make a friend is to be a friend. This Week’s Twitter Tip–Understand the Power of Names

Want to learn a tactic that will make friends faster than virtually any other habit? Get in the habit of using and remembering names. I have an uncanny recall of names. I’ve had clerks who help me whom I haven’t seen in weeks or months, and it is always so fun to see the look of shock on their faces when I call them by name. I haven’t always been good with names. Heck most of my life, I was lucky to recall my own name. Then I learned a neat technique for recalling names.

Use them. That simple.

One of the reasons we forget names, is we fail to use them. We completely bypass introductions and just start chatting. Hey, I am still guilty. But, most of the time, I go out of my way to use a person’s name at least three times. The criticism for this tactic is we risk sounding silly, but I feel we sound even sillier when we have to say, “Yeah, I know we’ve been chatting for ages, but what is your name?”

Whenever we thank someone we don’t know on Twitter for maybe a compliment or a RT, try to get in the habit of thanking that person by name. Yes, it might take a second to click on the profile, but that is the entire reason it is so special. We are giving time, effort and consideration. Look for every opportunity to call someone you don’t know by his or her name. It might seem like an insignificant detail, but it matters more than we can really appreciate. I like it when someone takes the time to use my name. Why would others be different? It adds a personal touch that will set you heads and shoulders above your peers. Why? You are taking time to make someone else feel unique, special and valued. Yes, it is a small detail, but the difference between magnificence and mediocrity is in the little things ;).

Tweet ya later!




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  1. I am enjoying following your blog. Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your wisdom with us.

  2. Oh gosh, names – never a problem! I remember people’s names with the greatest ease. But their faces…can’t do it, for the life of me. They all seem so much the same, don’t they…

  3. I’m guilty as charged, Kristen. Thanks for the nudge!

  4. So much truth here. When I took The Dale Carnegie Course several years ago our coach stressed in one of the early classes that a person’s favorite sound is the sound of his own name and it is important to address a person by name when you’re trying to make a connection. I never considered how that would apply to social media before…but I guess that just goes to show why we need you. 🙂

  5. I love it when people use my name. Frankly, I don’t hear it all that often in my normal life! Great tip, as usual, Kristen!

  6. There’s a huge life lesson in this.

  7. I should have said: There’s a huge life lesson in this, Kristen… 😉

  8. I’m a serial retweeter, finding other people’s observations and discoveries more interesting than my own. As a result, I am thanked profusely and often, but rarely return the favour. I hope to correct that imbalance somewhat today.

  9. At a restaurant with my husband: Server walks up to the table, “Hi, my name is George, and I’ll be your server.” My husband always says, “Hi, George, I’m Rick and this is Amy.”
    If he has a question he always calls them by name. I used to be embarassed by this (stupid, I know) but he makes them feel like they’re more than a service-bot, and we make a connection and get really good service.

    1. Most servers don’t give their names but I always ask for it as soon as she comes to the table. Then I make sure I use it several times. Many of my friends think that’s a silly practise of mine. “Who cares?” is their usual attitude. But I can assure you, it means you get much better service. And if you remember their name and use it when you come back another time, all the servers are anxious to serve YOU.

      I also leave my business card (I’m a photographer) on the table with the cash tip when I leave. That’s turned out to be a surprisingly good marketing technique.

  10. Plus, it’s simply polite!

  11. So true! And most people actually hearing someone say their name…at least I do 🙂

    1. Exactly, I love it when people call me by name, especially if it’s the right one!

  12. I love these little tips, because they really are so easy! And so true!

    • John deVere-Loots on June 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm
    • Reply

    Hello Kristen Lamb,
    How are you Kristen Lamb? I have spent my whole life remembering faces but unable to put a name to them. I shall definitely try out your name remembering tip. Some people advocate word association. With your name the Silence of the Lambs comes to mind. Maybe sheep or farm.

    Thank you for a great blog, Hannibal.



    1. I always tell people my last name is Lamb as in “Mary had a little…” LOL.

      1. Boy, was she surprised! :)))

    • Tamara LeBlanc on June 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm
    • Reply

    That’s excellent advice Kristen. I try to use names on Twitter, but I sometimes forget.
    Practice like that will help me recall names. I’m awful at remembering them, dreadful actually. I have to really concentrate hard and say the name over and over again in my head to really help it sink in. But too often I get so nervous meeting new people, that concentration eludes me.
    My husband is alot like you. He has nearly total name recall, first and last. It’s pretty amazing!
    I need to work on those skills and using names on Twitter is a great way to start.
    Thanks for your wisdom.
    Have a great day!!!

  13. Oh, I’m so terrible with names. On the spot, I will forget someone’s name who I’ve known for years. It’s terrible. I fear a book signing because I imagine people coming up to me whose names I should know, but I just sit and stare at them like an idiot. (Of course, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here.) I don’t forget a face though. 🙁

  14. I just finished reading your book about blogging. It was the first time I’d read a book on my MacBook. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Kindle-for-Mac! Yippee! I learned a lot and was happy I’d already taken your online class a few weeks ago. And subscribing to your website is teaching me a ton of things I wouldn’t normally find out, i.e like referring to people by their first name. Thank you!

  15. Sounds like your tip today is closely related to your tip to use your real name when you sign up to Twitter. Make it easy for everyone else to know you, and vice versa.

  16. Hello Kristen. I couldn’t agree more about the power of remembering names. You know Kristen, I think you are super cool. Kristen.

  17. I’m guilty of not clicking and finding out their name…I will most definitely do that! Thanks for the always-wonderful advice, hon!

  18. Hey Kristen great post! #MyWANA is an excellent Twitter group Kristen, great idea!
    Have a great day Kristen, hope things are going well in your world.

    All examples, in case someone still isn’t sure what to say. Peace.

  19. Good point, Kristen! Dale Carnegie taught me that a million years ago and it’s still good advice. Another is to spell the person’s name correctly. It irks me a little if someone is writing my name and spells it the ‘wrong’ way, but spell it correctly? I’m delighted! Thanks for another great post!

  20. From a fellow name enthusiast – thank you, Kristen, for encouraging others to join our camp!

  21. Yeap, that’s basically the only way I know I’m not getting yet another automated DM. (sigh) Thanks for this short post, Kristen. I also believe in power of names. I learned it a few years back when I was in the States for the summer and had to work on comission and sell books from door-to-door (yikes). The training was so sturdy that I feel like they branded me for life, lol. One thing they insisted was that I always use the person’s name (was it again three times?), and so I got into the habit of listening when someone introduces themselves.

    On Twitter, however, it sometimes seems funny to call someone by name if you haven’t ‘properly’ met. Well, I learned soon enough that everybody’s uncertain and they all enjoy being called by their first names, so why not do it most of the time? The only confusing thing is with people who insist on using odd usernames that are not their names (points to self). So yeah, I feel like I have to add the following in my description: call me ‘Lyn or Violeta, either way, I’ll answer.’ But I don’t… mainly because people find it odd to have two names (though one is pseudonym). I am really making my life harder, aren’t I. Anyway, I digress too much.

  22. Kristen, enjoyed another good post. Thank you.

  23. I’m so bad with names – AND faces. If someone gets a haircut or wears a hat I can barely tell who they are anymore. Same with changing icons on Twitter. I’m trying to get better with that, but man is it hard!

  24. Hi Kristen:
    I am generally great with names, and I find it frustrating when people don’t use their real names on Twitter! So I’m thanking Girl On The Contrary because for the love of Pete, I cannot find her name anywhere.

    I know that some people prefer to write anonymously, but lately, I’ve been trying to get them to come and find you so they can read about why they need to use their real names.

    Names like Kristen Lamb as in @KristenLambTX.

  25. I’m terrible with names, but I try to say people’s names when I can. You’re so right, Kristen, we all like to hear our names!

  26. Good point. I’m very bad with names and will try to do better in future.

  27. What’s your name again? Hahaha, just kidding @KristenLambTX. 🙂 Oh, wait; it’s just Kristen? Okay, Kristen!

  28. I’m bad with names too, and chatting but getting there slowly.

  29. If you pronounce people’s names correctly, they’ll love you for it. Often my entire name gets butchered so it makes me smile when they pronounce my name correctly. What’s in a name? You’re making me think of fairies now.

  1. […] Tuesday – The Power of Names by Kristen Lamb.  And she’s dead on on this! (I really should break down and do a blog about how everything […]

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