Everything I Need to Know about Twitter I Learned from Hospice

By Piper Bayard

As some of you know, I volunteered with Hospice for a time. I am also blessed with the best tweeps (Twitter friends) on the planet. So much so that lately a few people have come to me for advice about how to find such amazing tweeps. It’s simple. I treat everyone like they are about to die.

George Washington on His Deathbed by Junius Steams

No, I don’t ask them for their stuff. . . . Well, okay, there was this one woman. But I knew her melodramatic threats to kill herself with a spork while reading my first manuscript were completely insincere. I mean, she doesn’t even go camping to own a spork. Though come to think of it, I haven’t heard from her for a while. But I digress. . . .

This calls for a list. When people are dying . . .

1. We don’t judge them.

Their Judgement Day will come soon enough, and the Big It needs no assistance from us on that score.

2. We do listen to them.

In that moment, they are more important than we are so we keep our mouths shut and our ears open.

3. We do let them know they are heard.

This doesn’t mean we agree with everything they say. It means we validate that they said it. One way to let them know we heard them is to say, “That sounds . . .” Difficult, painful, amazing, intense, etc. I mean, when someone tells us their mom is in the ICU, it’s not hard to find an adjective. It does sound painful and intense. When they tell us the book contract came through, it does sound joyful.

4. We don’t argue.

Letting people know we heard what they said is not the same as agreeing with them so we are not violating our integrity when we refrain from disagreeing. “It sounds like you feel quite passionate about that.”

5. We don’t offer unsolicited advice.

Most of the time when we want to fix other people’s problems, it has nothing to do with being nice people. It’s because their misery is making us uncomfortable. So we understand that other peoples problems are not ours–we have plenty of our own–and we simply provide our presence unless they specifically ask for something more. “That sounds like a difficult situation.”

6. We don’t whine about our problems.

It’s one thing when we share the truth of our lives, such as our allergies, our sudden hospitalizations, or our sadness when a child leaves home. It’s another to whine about our hemorrhoids. (Note: Hemorrhoids are those pains in the butt that never really go away, like wretched stepmothers, drunken relatives, or abandonment issues.) Dying people may be interested in us, but NO ONE wants to hear about our life’s ‘hemorrhoids’.

7. We do validate their feelings.

When they say they are angry because a new jerk on their HOA board is going through their neighborhood counting dandelions and sending out violation notices, “I can see why you would be upset about that.”

8. We do validate their lives.

We read their words and comment on their pictures, and we let them know we are a witness to their existence. People need to know we see them.

9. We do find sincere, positive things to say.

We notice their accomplishments. We notice their efforts. We notice the beauty of the day.

10. We do show our gratitude.

We say thank you. Because every single time they share themselves with us, it is a gift we may never experience again. And every single time, they didn’t have to do it.

Making great Twitter friends is simple, because it’s like life. What we give is all that matters, and we may never get the chance to give to this person again. So treat everyone like they are dying.

Or, as William Shatner says, “Live life like you’re gonna die, because you’re gonna.”

I’d love to chat with you while we’re here. Please follow me on Twitter at@piperbayard and say hello. I always follow back humans. You can also find some awesome Twitter friends at the hashtag #theconnecter.

What social media tips would you like to share, and how did you learn them?

My sincere gratitude to each of you for sharing this moment in time with me.

Enlarging Our Twitter Audience: Guest Post by Professional Network Builder Lonny Dunn

Today, I’m honored to welcome Lonny Dunn of ProNetworkBuild. Lonny is an amazing social media networker and the author of How to Use Twitter for Local Business, the only book ever written on how to build a large local following on Twitter and make meaningful, useful connections with Social Media. I’ve personally watched him grow Twitter accounts by over 50k followers within the past year. And they were real people, not just followback teams or bots. Today, Lonny is sharing his wisdom on why Twitter accounts that aren’t actively growing are stagnating.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Enlarging Our Audience On Twitter


Twitter suggests we follow people when we open an account.  But, strangely, for various reasons, people stop following.  Maybe they hit a plateau or lose interest? Not following new people on a regular basis means we are not using Twitter properly. The reasons are highlighted in the short film clip above. Our audience is basically dying off faster than we can get new followers. As soon as we get 100 new followers, within a month, only 25 of them may still be active daily users.

We must pick a time to follow new people regularly.  If you are a big fan of FollowFriday, then start following on Wednesday, and again on Thursday.  If you follow 1,000 new people over the course of two days, you can expect at least 250 to follow you back, and about ten of them will say “Thanks for the Follow.” Engage those who reach out. An alternative system may be to follow 200 new people daily, stick with it, and create a pipeline of energy.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone:

Writers tend to be supportive of other writers for example, but we are not exactly enriching the greater world if we are only supporting one another. We need to try following various groups and sample which groups work best. Sometimes I type in “Like My Facebook” into the Twitter Search feature. This means there are people who are crossmarketing on Facebook, and I will tweet to them, asking for the same kindness. Or we could look up “Pinterest” in search. We can use the Search feature to begin writing down names of accounts with like interests. Follow their Followers.

I use Tweepi to follow new people.

It is a free tool available to anyone, and I do not use the “Paid” version. At Tweepi.com you can log on, skip Step 2 and go right to “Follow New Tweeps” button. Also, it is important to click “Columns” and then Number of Followers, and Friends. I also click the Follower Ratio. I never follow anyone over 125% following ratio.

Did you know that your tweets appear at the top of the new follower’s timeline?

What a boost! After following you, your next tweet will pop up on the top of their list. What better form of advertising is that?  People who do not follow regularly don’t even realize this feature exists. It is like an auditorium, or movie theatre which rotates a new audience everyday or at intervals. When networks are expanding, they take on a life of their own. When they are stagnating, they burn out and lose influence.

Learn to Unfollow

This is important, especially when trying to get around Twitter follow limit of 2,000. When you reach this point, you will want to unfollow unproductive people, or those who haven’t tweeted in months to free up space for active tweeps. I use Tweepi for this. An article on this subject is available on my blog, Building An Audience On Twitter.

Pick a Number and Stick with It

Twitter’s daily follow limit is 1,000 which takes about an hour. You might not want to devote this much time to increasing your audience, but that gives you a good standard to work with. Whatever number you set, be disciplined and stick with that number for at least a month. After a day or so, you will see that new people spreading your content for you is far more exciting than older non growth accounts retweeting you.

Engage, Engage, Engage

As new people follow back, some will thank you for following them. Many of these are implying that they have followed you back, a good sign. The more we practice one on one engagement, the better we get at it.  Keep engaging. It is NOT cool to tweet them a link to your blog, and ask them to send it out. We must plant and sow before we harvest.

I will take questions you might have below. Instead of saying “Great Article, Lon” take this chance to ask some questions that you might have of a technical, strategic, or tactical nature. I will be glad to help you as best as I can, and in any way that I can to enlarge your audience.   Do you have a reluctance to grow your account?  Having problems figuring which accounts to follow?  Let me know, and I’ll answer your questions.  Bookmark this page. Maybe you’ll benefit from other people’s questions.

Lonny Dunn

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Lonny Dunn wrote The Thesaurus News online stockpicking newsletter from 1995 to 2001, focusing on Telephony Stocks, and Wireless Infrastructure.  Since then, he has helped small to medium businesses grow their online presence, managed Twitter Accounts for Celebs, and taught people how to use Twitter effectively and properly.  You can upload his latest book, How to Use Twitter for Local Business, using the free Kindle for PC application.

Lonny Dunn tweets at @ProNetworkBuild. Be sure to say hello. He’s one of the finest tweeps in the Twitterverse.

Thank you, Lonny!

The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . Bacon Coffin

You get a slice of life. The Bacontrepreneurs have this bacon coffin for those who would like a slice in death.

Well, I suppose jihadis would never disturb your final resting place…. And if you buy it now, you can take a page from the Kiss Coffin and use it as a beer cooler.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

For quite some time, the publishing industry has been going the way of Kodak and the music industry. Hear that bell tolling? The Big Six don’t. Good thing best selling author Kristen Lamb is on top of this as Microsoft now weds with Barnes & Noble in a move that makes traditional publishing obsolete. A must read for authors. Big Six Publishing is Dead–Welcome the Massive Three

Brace yourselves. If you’re not moved by this, don’t bother checking your pulse. You don’t have one. . . . On Good Friday, 5-month old Avery was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (“SMA”), the number one genetic killer of babies under the age of two in the US. Avery’s parents spent several days in shock, and then got busy working to give their daughter the fullest life she could have. They made Avery’s Bucket List and posted it online to raise awareness of SMA. Then they set to work checking it off. Taste a cupcake, play with Playdoh, go to a ballgame, and so much more. But mostly, Avery and her parents are making millions of people aware of SMA.

Avery’s last smile.

Avery’s motto? Whatever I bring to life, because I don’t have time to wait for life to bring anything to me. Avery passed away in her parents’ arms on April 30. Click here to find out how much this little girl accomplished in twenty-two weeks, and how you can help in the fight against SMA. Avery’s Bucket List

To lighten up a bit, we can always count on the seemingly endless wit of Paige Kellerman. Whether or not you share her horror of health food, this post is funny. Farmer’s Market

Ellie Soderstrom brightens our day, as well, with Hilarious Old Ads. Yes, I actually remember a couple of them.

Every bit as interesting as the horses, but in a very different way, the Kentucky Derby brings all manner of hats out of the woodwork. Don’t Get Poked! — Kentucky Derby Hats Gallery

Tiffany A. White brings out the Oooo! Factor with this week’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday. Can Sex Mend a Broken Relationship?

Fantastic Twitter advice from Author Kait Nolan. 10 Things Writers Shouldn’t Say in a DM

Teen Girl Petitions Seventeen Magazine to Stop Airbrushing Models. You go, girl!

I love having teens in the house. My son turned me on to the Ultimate Rap Battles of History, and I ended up watching these things for half an hour.

Would you want a bacon coffin? Would you use it as a beer cooler? How about one of those hats?

All the best to all of you for bringing a slice to life.

Piper Bayard

The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . Chinese Women “Occupy” Toilets

China’s ‘occupy toilet’ protests spread

Fed up with the long lines at the ladies’ rooms next to the absence of lines at the men’s rooms, Chinese women are having their own “Occupy” movement by occupying men’s rooms as a way of protesting. They are demanding equal time, or lack thereof.

Click here for the full story.

What do you think? Should American women try this one? Especially at sporting events?

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Vicki Hinze’s Diamond Giveaway Contest. Enter to win a copy of her exciting new release, NOT THIS TIME, and a half carat diamond necklace. (Feel free to lie and say your name is Piper Bayard when you enter. :))

I love seeing two favorites in one place. New York Times Best Selling Author James Rollins interviews Golden Globe winner Howard Gordon, a writer who’s brought us such gems as X-Files, 24, and Homeland. Author to Author: From Screen to Page with Howard Gordon

Howard Gordon, writer of X-Files, 24, Homeland, and now Awake.

Wonderful analysis from Lonny Dunn over at ProNetworkBuild. Does Your Twitter Profile Really Matter?

Holmes spotted this hysterical post by Leanne Shirtliffe over at Nickmom. 9 Ways Feeding an Infant is a Lot Like Having Sex

Having grown up in a very fundamentalist Christian part of the world, Jenny Hansen’s post had me ROFL, especially the video. Perfect for the season of Lent. Help Prevent Sinning with “The Sin Collar”

I went to see This Means War with my daughter, and we loved it. Great fun. Jillian Dodd has a terrific review with, of course, some great pictures. Movie Review: This Means War

Welcome to the Otherworld by Kate Wood. This falls under “pleasant things to think about that stimulate the imagination.”

Foods for a Beautiful Brain by August McLaughlin. You’ll be surprised at some of the foods on this list that can help your brain be its best. The only flaw I can see in it is the absence of bacon. That has to be a mistake.

A little known Piper Fact. I love rabbits. So when I saw this video of a Swedish rabbit that takes charge of the barnyard and herds the sheep, I had to share it with you. It had me laughing through the whole thing. I especially like how the sheep dog and the farmer hang out and and watch through a lot of it. Meet Champis, the sheep herding rabbit.

All the best to all of you for a week of keeping your sheep in line.

Piper Bayard

Social Media: Costco or Lost in Space?

By Piper Bayard

I took the plunge into FaceBook and Twitter this week. You computer savvy folks might well ask, “So what?” To that I would answer that when I was growing up, technology was a dishwasher that didn’t have two feet and answer to “Junior.” This was a big deal to me. So let me tell you what I found as an alien on my own planet. . . .

In the beginning, Facebook was like my first trip to Costco. So much stuff! So many people! There’s the buddy who got me into social media over by that stack of self-help books, the extended family who probably don’t remember me next to the mashed potatoes, and the “Is she really still alive?” on the chair in the pharmacy section. How cool is that? I was like a kid stumbling with wonder through Toyland.

Then it happened. I tripped over that friend of a friend I hadn’t spoken to in twenty years. The one who knows too much. The warning went off in my head. “Danger, Will Robinson!” That’s when I realized that my jaunt through surreal surprises of seemingly endless stacks of stuff might be more like one of those sci fi shows where you think you’re in paradise, only to find you’re really Lost in Space.

Allow me to explain. If you think about it, everything that ever happened is still happening if you just look from the right vantage point. For example. Anyone 20 light years out in space can look back and see exactly what you were doing twenty years ago. Sort of a creepy thought, huh? Someone could still see you TP-ing their prized, new truck on a damp night so that it would set into a “body cast,” or tying your college suitemate’s door shut to make her boyfriend have to climb out the second story window. *whistles innocently* Anyway, though such things are long past in our awareness, they’re still happening if you’re looking from the right spot in the time/space continuum.

Facebook is the same way. Sure enough. There’s Truck Boy. Wonder how long that TP stuck in the crannies between the cab and the topper? And Suitemate. Has Hell frozen over yet for her to forgive me? (That was her timeline, not mine.) I pause with trepidation. To friend request, or not to friend request? Will the memories of stolen kisses, wild road trips, and shared losses be enough renew the latent bonds of ages past? Or are there still good reasons we didn’t keep in touch? . . . What the hell? Space is supposed to be an adventure, right?