Don't Be A Toxic Twitter TermiteTwo weeks ago, I noticed that termites were eating the wood around my front door. I was concerned, but not alarmed, since my house is bricked all around the exterior.
I called an exterminator who came out and eased my mind even more. He explained that while I did have a termite infestation they were the subterranean termites rather than the feared Formosan Termites.
If you Google the term "Formosan Termites," you'll come across pictures of a creature so veracious that houses infested by them often fell in half. House that are really infested by them often cannot be saved.
So, I felt lucky to have a less serious termite, and simply arranged for the exterminator to send a technician out to treat my house.
When the very polite exterminator came, he explained that he was going to drill holes near the sides of the house, every eight inches wherever there was a concrete slab (such as front porch, back patio, and driveway). He pumped poison into those holes and filled them back in, forming a barrier.
Next he dug a trench, all the way around the house, right against the foundation. He pumped poison into this trench, and filled it in.
Then he asked me to sign a paper, saying that he was finished and that soon my termite problem would be GONE.
He went on to explain that the termites would actually kill each other by being too social. Termites groom each other, and so what happens is that a few termites get the poison on them, and they take it into the colony. Then by grooming each other, they spread it throughout the colony, whereby they eventually wipe out the entire colony.
This is a case where being social is deadly.
I spend time in another world where being social can be deadly, and where you have to watch out for creatures carrying poison. That world is the world of online social networking. Fortunately, if you follow just a few rules, you avoid the poison, most often spread in the form of negativity.
Here are the very simple rules that I follow when interacting on social networking sites and why.
1) Avoid negative people. I control my thoughts and feelings. I don't let people filled with negativity "rub off" on me. When someone that I encounter on a social networking site comes across as overly negative, I simply remove myself from their world. I stop following them.
2) Don't talk religion. My religious beliefs were passed to me by my parents, grandparents, and other elders, while I was still a child. As I grew older, I examined what they taught me, and developed my own belief system, still based largely upon what they taught me. That's how most of us arrive at our current religious beliefs, or lack thereof.
During my 50 trips around the sun, I've noticed that no matter what you say to many people you will never change their religious beliefs to the same as yours... and I personally don't believe that you should try to. I've also noticed something VERY strange about many of us... we naturally assume that other people that we interact with believe the same as we do.
People KILL each other over differences in religion, and it's a topic that I simply choose not to engage in on the social networking sites.
3) Don't talk politics. In American society, and in many other societies, it's actually our civic duty to participate in electing our leaders, and making sure that they serve the will of the people.
The problems with discussing politics are the same as with religion... people assume that you believe the same as they do. Just as in religion, they are so convince that they are right, and they assume that you are a rational, intelligent creature... therefore how could you NOT see the world the same as they do.
As I watched the conversation on Twitter during the most recent presidential elections, one thing was really reinforced. It's very difficult to change a person's point of view. People watched the presidential debates, and their comments on Twitter were basically that their candidate had won...regardless of which candidate they supported.
4) Connect with those interested in the same topics as you are. When you follow, and are followed by those interested in, or even passionate about, the same topics that you are interested in, you'll naturally discuss things interesting to both parties. This makes for a satisfying interaction.
You'll naturally share fact and resources of interest to both you and your followers.
Speaking of sharing resources, be yourself and you'll say the right thing most of the time. When the authentic YOU shines through, networking on the social networking sites is effortless. I often have people who are new to social networking ask me what they should say. My answer is be authentic!
Back to sharing resources, I see no problem with sharing links to useful resources that you feel will be of interest to your followers. That's where connecting with others with like interests becomes important though.
I also don't see anything wrong with sharing affiliate links. When you are recommending something that you really believe in, what's the problem? The "purist" who DO have a problem with your periodically having links in your posts will simply exit your world - they'll unfollow you. That's not a bad thing, since you don't really resonate with them.
You DO need to study the culture of the social networking platforms that you are on. Some are more open to certain types of interactions.
As an example, if your primary purpose in being on the social networking sites is to promote your business (if you are a Type-A personality... all business) then you want to seek out sites where a lot of people like you hang out. Those sites do exist. An excellent example, is the site Sokule, pronounced "So Cool." Sokule was set up by marketers, for marketers. You are actually encouraged to advertise on the site.
Sokule has several levels of memberships, starting at free, but with upgrades that give you more built-in applications at each level. I am a member at the top level (a "Founder") and the tools that I have even allow me to direct message ALL of my followers every three days. That in effect even means that I can consider my Sokule followers, those who choose to connect with me, as being a quasi-list.
You can check out Sokule at budurl.com/fjnk
Go ahead and grab a free Sokule account if you market anything online. It's the perfect platform for marketing your business. As you dig into Sokule, you'll discover that within three weeks of my starting to actively promote Sokule, I was in the top THREE all-time referrers, and the NUMBER-1 referrer of upgraded members. So, I'm telling you about a platform that I know like the back of my hand and generate a LOT of business from.
I also know Twitter well. As I rapidly approach 30,000 followers, I am getting the hang of being a good citizen on "Planet Twitter." That's why I felt compelled to share this article with you.
I saw a lot of Twitter users who, like the termites, are unknowingly taking poison back deep within the colony, and spreading it onto the community members that they interact with. Don't you be one of those people poisoning the community. Awareness, is the key to not being a spreader of Twitter toxins.
I'll close with one final reason that you don't want to come across so toxic on ANY social networking platforms, with Twitter being the one garnering all of the buzz right now... when many companies are considering hiring an individual, a routine part of their pre-employment investigation is to see if you are on the social networking sites, and if so, what you are like there.
Companies, potential business partner, etc., understand the importance of NOT bringing those with toxic personalities into their folds. Now hopefully you do too. Now, hopefully you also understand why you absolutely must not be a "Toxic Twitter Termite."