Twitter Basics: How Virtual Small Talk Can Build Relationships

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First thing every morning I open my email, then my web browser, then Word then TweetDeck. The same order every morning. Yes, it’s a tad anal but I don’t even have to look at the screen to switch between applications.

This morning when I opened TweetDeck I found a flurry of retweets (people passing along one of my 140 character messages). Here it is:


The thing is, this particular Tweet was written in a moment of frustration at how slowly things were progressing. I didn’t mean it to be profound. Just a little whining to make me feel better, like you might over a cubicle wall or at the water cooler if you worked in a regular office.

While I was surprised at how much this particular Tweet connected with my Twitter and Facebook tribe, it’s not completely out of the blue.

While I do try to offer useful business information to my followers I know that Twitter and other social media conversations can’t be all work and no play.  Building relationships means sharing something of yourself. It means giving people a chance to get to know your personality, not just your business.

Earlier this week I also Tweeted about putting my cell phone through the laundry. That really struck a chord with people. Apparently I’m not the only one to ever accidently put her cell phone through the spin cycle. I got some Tweets that made me smile, plus received some helpful advice.


This week I also decided it was time to try out a proper RSS reader. I Tweeted about it asking for recommendations and got several replies from people on Twitter and Facebook.


These and similar Tweets are not strictly business communication. I’m not promoting a new product or even a blog post. They’re virtual small talk. Just like at an in-person networking event, you might pass along a funny joke you heard, complain about washing your cell phone or talk about your next vacation in addition to promoting your business. It’s just a natural part of building relationships with people.

When deciding what to say on Twitter (or Facebook’s “what are you doing”) don’t worry about always having something important or profound to say. Don’t waste people’s time, but don’t be afraid to be human. You never know what part of your life will resonate with others. Anything you can do – or say – in social media that starts a real conversation with individuals is powerful.

Andrea J. Stenberg

What types of comments have had unexpected results for you? Please leave a comment and share your experience. Also, if you’re not already doing so, please join my Twitter Tribe.


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