Friends with Benefits

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Oh, so the title caught your eye didn't it. Well, since you are here, let's discuss the benefits of your Social Media relationships.

Everyone seems to start off their Twitter experiences the same way, we join and start following celebrities thinking that it is pretty cool. Then you start clicking around and you tweet exciting things like “is this on” or “I am at the dry cleaners.” Wondering what the heck everyone is so excited about, a lot of people quit at this point. But lucky ones make a friend! Yes, I said a friend. Finally someone to tweet! The luckiest folks find savvy friends that can teach them the ropes about tweeting, direct messages and hashtags. Everything is like a foreign language at first but click by click, you realize, hey this is fun! Someone is reading my tweets and responding.

Your brain begins to react to the connections being made by producing dopamine. Dopamine responds very quickly to the lust of 140 characters. The anticipation of what to tweet and who to tweet it followed by what will they think, this gets all the pistons firing. Then begins the loop of tweeting activity. The loop is the draw and the hook!  Ever wondered if you have any direct messages or @ mentions waiting for you while you have other crucial tasks to complete?

A huge source of validation is acquiring comrades who: #1 understand why you are on Twitter so much now and #2 people to share the experience with and make it more fun. As you get more into the meat of it, things like Klout and Hashable come into play. And you realize, that you need allies if you will grow in the social web that you are weaving. Building friendships with people on Twitter may be a challenge at first but once you take the plunge, it is worth the risk for the reward.

Klout started a new +K program last week giving users +K points to give to their chosen ones based on the topics that they are influential in, this added another layer of gamification. Twitter was abuzz with the +K , tweets started flying with I gave you a +K point. Everyone needs validation of some sort, social validation proves to be a powerful afrodiasiac. The nectar of the +K points is quite the current shiny object! Great for some but others must not have anyone giving them the happy buzz of a +K point.

Hashable is another Twitter activity that had a huge kickoff recently with its Hashable Power Users program. This program is built on tracking your relationships and activities on Twitter and off line. Meet a friend for lunch, send a tweet saying #lunch with Suzy and you have earned yourself some Hash cred. Again, having a base of friends helps advance in this program and it lets you see who your friends are meeting as well as share contact information with your inner circle. The tie in to a closed Facebook group led to many new relationships being formed. Very intriguing.

To me one of the biggest benefit of Twitter friends is the shared resources. Stuck on WordPress, have a question about Hashable? Throw it out to your followers or @ mention your friends to send out an SOS. Not once have I been disappointed by the strength of my Twitter tribe and their knowledge. This past week preparing for an important presentation, my artwork would not insert into PowerPoint. One SOS Skype call later, my presentation was completed and looks great. Could not have done that alone.  (hat tip Paul Biedermann)

And let's face it, if your friends aren't going to retweet you, who is? Be generous with tweets and retweets: they are all free to give. Folks notice the tweeters who do not respond, share the love with others or only tweet their own content.

Instant gratification is a very strong motivator for behavior.  But be urged to reach beyond the thrill of the high Klout score and really take time to build meaningful friendships with like minded people that will help you grow and expand as a person.  And if you are my friend on Twitter, know that you are appreciated.




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  1. Peg! Great explanation of the Twitterverse!! Thank you for all you do on twitter!You are a great friend with”benefits” Looking forward to your tweets of inspiration and information! xoxo

  2. Yes, it was hard being new! Thankfully we met great people and have each other to tweet all the time. Thanks <3

  3. Peg, a wonderful way to put the process into words. We just recently met in this space and your blog is a benefit to me. Thanks!

  4. Paul: I must agree with you (because you said I had to) that this could indeed be creating a huge problem with Tweeters everywhere.

    From: http://bigthink.com/ideas/23923
    One of the key functions of the neurotransmitter dopamine is to create feelings of pleasure that our brains associate with necessary physiological actions like eating and procreating. We are driven to perform these vital functions because our brains are conditioned to expect the dopamine rush that accompanies them.

    Addictive drugs flood the brain with dopamine and condition us to expect artificially high levels of the neurotransmitter. Over time, the user’s brain requires more dopamine than it can naturally produce, and it becomes dependent on the drug, which never actually satisfies the need it has created.

    Definitely something to think about, no?

    David: Thank you so much for reading & commenting on my blog. Very kind of you!

  5. Twitterville is an amazing place to be for all the reasons you describe but something occurs to me: is it becoming similar to and just as manipulative as traditional media/advertising in that businesses increasingly feed the online addiction by playing to our egos and the thrills we get from achieving status, collecting points, earning rewards and other such techniques?

    Are we becoming a community of hopeless addicts, whose dopamine cravings are being constantly fed by online pushers of which there is little hope of escape?

    OK… please carry on with your tweeting now…

  6. Thanks Collin! I will figure out how to fix the RSS feed.

    Appreciate your comments 🙂

  7. Aloha to you Janet! Thank you so much for staying to read my post, honored! I also came on to Twitter to learn it for work and I have loved every minute of it so far. And of course I agree with chat involvement and meeting terrific people – that’s where I met you! Appreciate your thoughtful comments. Peggy

  8. Brian – I am so happy that you stopped by twice, that is very nice to hear! Love hearing part of your story too!

  9. I didnt come to this blog post because of the title, I came because of the author =)If you post something, chances are I’d probably read it because you are just one amazing person! And no Klout score can truly tell you the impact u have had in other people’s lives (food for thought) =)

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