In my last post, I talked about the online opportunities for writers, including fully interactive writing conferences. So now is a good time to rerun this post about about how to reach out to other writers online and make friends. I’ve updated this post with notes about what I currently find difficult.
Thanks to Laurie London, I found a great list of nine characteristics of likeable people. Many writers are introverts and making friends can be difficult under the best circumstances. So let’s take a look at how the characteristics listed 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!
Note: I try to thank people for re-tweets, but due to volume, I fear I now miss more than I catch. Sorry! I do try.
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? Did the Twitter unfollow bug erase some people from your follow list?
Note: Due to volume, I know I miss many new followers, but it’s not personal. Really! *smile* Feel free to send a tweet with: Hi! I’m following you now. It’s nice to meet you. I’ll see your tweet and follow back.
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. Kristen Lamb’s blog and books explain more about how to put this concept into action.
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 behaviors make people seem friendly or unfriendly online? Do you have more tips or examples? Which of these tips have worked the best for you? What’s the hardest part of reaching out to others? What’s the easiest?Pin It