In my last post, I talked about the awesome and supportive writing community. Based on the comments, a lot of people agree. It’s great to have friends when you’re feeling up, down, or all alone. But what if you’re not sure how to join that community?
Thanks to Laurie London, I found this: 9 Characteristics of Likeable People. Now the funny thing is that the article talks about Jennifer Aniston being likeable, and I’ve actually never liked her. Oops. I think their points are still valid though.
Many writers are introverts and making friends can be difficult under the best circumstances. So let’s take a look at how the characteristics in the article can translate to making online friends in the writing community, whether through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or forums.
9 Characteristics of Likeable People
1. Being kind and considerate of others
In an online community, this means (most importantly) no spamming. Don’t talk only about yourself. In Twitter, it’s fine to jump into conversations (imagine a big party where everyone mingles), but don’t try to change the focus onto you. In Facebook or blog comments, don’t post just to point them to your website. When someone re-tweets something of yours, thank them!
2. Having a good sense of humor, liking to laugh, and having a ready smile
Posts or tweets that are all-business-all-the-time are boring and not social. Yes, branding is important, but a community is about interaction. Share the funny, absurd, or otherwise entertaining stuff too.
3. Being warm, friendly and outgoing
As much as your time allows, reply to those who reach out to you and follow those who follow you (unless they’re spammers). TwitterKarma will compare those who are following you with those you’re following. Did you miss following someone? Are you following everyone you thought you were? Even if you have Twitter set up to email you for every new follower, sometimes things fall through the cracks.
4. Being authentic and unpretentious
Show your personality (to a point—just as much as in any social situation, watch out for hot-button issues, political, etc.). A running joke among the writing community on Twitter is mocking the supposed glamorous life of an author by sharing the reality, cleaning toilets and cat boxes and all.
5. Being vivacious, perky and engaged in life
While it’s okay to have a bad day sometimes and look for support, no one wants to hear whining all the time. People will react better (and be more supportive) if you’re able to find a silver lining. Sometimes the more ridiculous, the better, along the lines of: Got caught in the rain today with no umbrella. On the plus side, I’ve been ogled more today than I have in years.
6. Having interests
Despite what some people think, Twitter isn’t about the mundane. Yes, people will sometimes share what they ate or what they’re doing this very minute, but usually because they’re making a joke out of it. In other words, be interesting.
7. Showing interest in others
Reply to others if you have something worthwhile to add, even when you’re not originally part of the conversation. Retweet things you find interesting. Like or comment on others’ blogs and Facebook statuses and links. These are all ways to interact and make sure that it’s not just about you.
8. Being relaxed and easygoing
Watch out for hypersensitivity. Things can easily be misunderstood in the written form. Add in the 140 character limit of Twitter, and whoo boy, is there potential for misunderstanding. Try to give others the benefit of the doubt, or just decide to not get offended.
9. Being easy to talk to and nonjudgmental
Unless it’s something you’re willing to lose potential readers over, try not to get embroiled in real controversy (where there’s definitely two or more sides to the issue). No matter where you are on the political fence, remember that half of your potential readers might be on the other half. A political rant might not be the best idea unless that’s part of your brand.
What type of people do you like to follow and friend online? What’s the hardest part of reaching out to others? What’s the easiest?