November 29, 2011

Twitter: Where We Share #Yoga.

As far as I can tell, most people hate Twitter. All of the Yogis who resisted my article on Facebook or LinkedIn, shudder when I say “let’s talk about Twitter.” What is Twitter? It is micro-blogging (140 characters), real time news, public, random, excessive and in a strange way awesome. It is a network on which you can follow celebrities such as Waylon LewisYeah Dave RomanelliKathryn BudigJohn FriendBaron BaptisteSean CorneShiva ReaWade Imre MorissetteGirish and of course Elephant Journal. With all of these celebrities talking, is anybody listening? Twitter can be used as part of your content distribution strategy, or as a place to listen and talk with the people in your community. As teachers and students, we have an obligation to use every means possible to communicate with each other. What is your commitment to Twitter? Start with 2 minutes a day. See if you can Be Present, and follow a few of the 7 tips below.
  1. Clean up your Twitter profile. Whether it is your logo or a head shot, let your personality shine thru your profile. You must have a link to your website and a few short details so people immediately recognize you are a yogi.
  2. Go Mobile. If you are a smart phone user, get your Twitter application set-up with your user name and password. Start checking Twitter randomly as you find yourself in line at the grocery store or waiting for your kids in the school pick-up line or while you are waiting for your soy chai latte extra hot in your re-usable mug (guilty pleasure). You do NOT need to sit down at your computer for “Twitter Time.”
  3. It’s All About You. Start by searching your twitter name and see if anybody is talking about you. Conversation is very public on Twitter. If people are talking to you (and they are not porno spammers), let them know you are listening and respond. The more you talk with people on Twitter the more they will talk with you. Conversation is a purely social activity, practice your active listening and you will be able to initiate conversations as well Whether it is with one of the celebrities listed above or your new yoga friend who posts brilliant quotes that touch your heart.
  4. Re-Tweet. Get comfortable with the Re-Tweet button. This is how you Share tweets and links from your community. Every time you log-in to Twitter, start by Re-Tweeting a post. This builds social capital (maybe one of those accounts will re-tweet you one day) and helps you share what is important to you. It also gives credit to the source of the Tweet (plagerism is just as uncool today as it was in high school). If all you ever do is Re-Tweet, you are a yoga rockstar on Twitter.
  5. #YOGA. Start using Hash Tags on Twitter. They are taboo on Facebook, but on Twitter we use tags like #YOGA to help people searching for our content find us. How many are ok. to use in a post? Three is a good maximum number, make sure your hash tags are logical and you are associating yourself with the right tweets. Using #heart might get you unwanted attention. Start by searching the hash tag you want to use, if you like the Tweets you find, associate your tweets with them by using the hash tag. If you are a studio or sharing your classes, you should use location based hash tags such as #boulder or # colorado. This is especially useful for all of those wandering yogis that want to promote workshops or programs they are leading on tour.
  6. Links. Include links in your Tweets. Send us to the source, whether it is your blog, website or the site you got that great quote from. This is a great way to drive traffic to your web site, do it!
  7. Connect your social sites. Your LinkedIn status updates should be Tweeted (Do NOT have your Tweets update LinkedIn it is too much noise for your professional network) – you can do this under Edit your profile. Connect your Facebook Page, you can do this under http://facebook/twitter – You must be an Admin for your Page, this is a great way for the status updates from your Facebook Page to be Tweeted. New people may even find your Facebook Page as a result (still, no hash tags on Facebook). Connect your YouTube account to Twitter, when you add new videos a link will be Tweeted automatically! If you use WordPress for your blog, check out a plug-in like WordTwit, this will auto-Tweet your blog posts (and you can have hash tags added automatically).
Twitter is a great network that you should engage with more. Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to let an intern run your studio or personal account. If you are going to share your authentic voice, you must be the one Tweeting on your account. Just as it is obvious when a teacher isn’t being authentic in front of the class, it is just as obvious when you are not the one responding to your Tweets. If you find this article useful, Click the button at the top and Tweet it, maybe even share it on Facebook. community is on Twitter, are you?
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