Earlier today, Inc. posted an article called “4 Quick Tips to Being Funny on Twitter.” Informed by the likes of Lizz Winstead of The Daily Show and Jon Friedman of Guy Code and Girl Code, it had a lot of good tips for those striving to find their voice online.

I’ve been interacting with fellow student affairs-minded folks through #sachat, and the nature of the community is such that certain personalities rise to the top, commenting often and being viewed as the face of the forum. This is by no means a problem, it happens similarly in face-to-face social circles. But I know that at times, I felt intimidated when responding to posts, or even when voicing my own thoughts. As I’ve become more comfortable interacting with everyone, I’ve become more cognizant that my initial trepidation wasn’t an isolated instance. And given that this time of year finds many new networkers in the stream, it seems an apropos topic to address.

So to those looking to find their voice online, I’d like to share Inc’s four tips, tailored to help Tweeters be funny, in a way that you hopefully feel less nervous as you ease into the (quite friendly!) world of any online community you might be striving to engage in.

(1) Don’t watch your follower count. Too often, we gauge our success in communication online in terms of followers or friends, comments or likes, favorites and retweets. But that’s not an indication of success! Focus on, instead, the relationships you build and the people who you can learn from. An outward orientation in a community such as this leaves you open to learn in a way that you may not be if you focus on the impact you are having.

(2) Man up. While many in our field may not care for the wording of this particular statement, perhaps a rewording would help: Put it out there. Sometimes we say things that we believe, but could be either (a) miscontrued, or (b) flat-out controversial. If you believe it, stand by it. There is validity to your opinion, whether it falls in line with the common viewpoint on the issue or not. If you do happen to offend in your communications, an apology is of course nice. But don’t apologize for disagreeing.

(3) Be confident that followers “get” you. Related to point #2, trust that those who follow you understand who you are. If you are being consistently authentic in your communication online, those who follow you have followed you for a reason. Be confident in your ability to engage your audience. I’m of the belief that backtracking should be reserved exclusively for actual mistakes, not for disagreements or unintentional offense. Deal with disputes maturely and in a civil manner. And the rest? This is supposed to be fun, so enjoy it 🙂

(4) Go all out. Be authentic, be real, be you. Even if the account you administer is a professional one, give it some humanity. Be mindful of boundaries that may come with a professional image, but vulnerability and personality are welcome.

Twitter can intimidate people- so often we hear from those who don’t yet use it, “I don’t get it.” What other advice do you have for those getting started on Twitter?

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