How To Get More Twitter Followers

Unless you just want to vent, the reason you post things on Twitter is to influence people. But you can’t influence people who don’t see your tweets. The more people who see your tweets, the more influential you are. So you should increase your Twitter followers. twitter

How can you increase your followers?  Research at Georgia Tech gives you the answer.

Twitter Things To Do

Be Positive. Positive tweets are more likely to be retweeted and people who use positive words have more followers. Who wants to listen to people complain all day? Use the ideal positivity ratio of 3 positive tweets to every 1 negative.

Be Informative. People like useful information. Link to How To articles. Give useful tips, like “Order the Margharita Pizza at Stefano’s.”

Get Followed By People With Lots of Followers.  Network overlap is the number one driver of followers. If you know someone with lots of followers, ask them to follow you.

Fill Out Your Profile. Longer profiles earn more followers because people want to know about the people they follow. Link to your facebook page, to your blog, or to someplace where people can learn more about you. And tell people where you live, because we like people who are like us, even if they only share a name like ours.

Follow Back. When a real person with a picture and a profile follows you, follow them back. Reciprocity is the most powerful tool of persuasion, and it works on Twitter, too.

Twitter Things To Avoid

Avoid Negativity. Negative sentiment turns people off.

Avoid Hashtags. While hashtags help with SEO rankings, they turn people off. And never use a hashtag if you’re cross-posting to Facebook.

Avoid Broadcast Communications. People don’t check Twitter to read your ad.

You might say, “Great, Bill, but the country’s going to hell in a hand basket. Why shouldn’t I complain?  How else will we get people to pay attention?”

Most people know America is heading in the wrong direction. They don’t need more evidence; they need more answers.

Every bit of scientific evidence shows we’re attracted to positive things and we avoid negative things. Negative campaigning works by turning people away from the other candidate, but it also turns people off from the negative campaigner.

If you want to influence people and win your point, first they have to like you.

So here’s your super simple task for this week: post 3 positive tweets every day.  About anything.  “My kids are great!”  “Here’s some good news we can use [link].” If you want, you may add one negative or neutral post.

Do that for five days and see how many followers you gain.

BONUS: You will love this new information instantly, because it’s free!

2 Ways to Make Christmas Season Happier

Is it better to give or to receive?

Before you answer, let’s look at some of the science behind giving. Then let’s look a little deeper.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson studies the psychology of happiness. About a decade ago, Dr. Fredrickson announced a formula for creating an “upward spiral” of happiness.  In other words, she identified what it takes to have happiness breed happiness.  The formula applies to individuals, families, groups, and even companies.

The baseline formula requires three good experiences to every bad experience.  If three-fourths of your interactions with a spouse are positive, your marriage will last. If less, it will fail.  If your best employees have more than three positive experiences at work for every bad experience, they will stay. Otherwise, they will leave.  Same for your customers.

Once you’ve established that baseline, there are things you can do start the upward spiral.  Yes, you can intentionally drive up the happiness index in your life.  First, though, let’s look at a simple way to get to that 3 to 1 baseline.

Writing down three things you’re grateful for every day, and an account for who or what is responsible, will elevate your happiness, according to several studies.  I heard about these studies from Dr. Shawn Achor who led positive psychology studies at Harvard until very recently.  If you’d like to use a convenient online journal for this, try www.thankfulfor.com.  It even lets you share your gratitude with the world on facebook or twitter if you choose.

The reason writing down gratitudes works to elevate your happiness is because it forces you to be on the lookout for positive experiences.  In other words, there are good things happening to you or around you all the time, but culture and work and school have trained us to ignore good things and look for problems to fix or complain about. 

Write down three things you’re grateful for five days a week for three weeks.  See if you don’t start noticing more and more positive things in your life.

This practice alone, though, probably won’t kick off the upward spiral.  That’s because being kind to others is far more powerful than having kindness done to us.  What’s more important than doing good works, though, is acknowledging them. 

The next step in the upward spiral, then, is to add two acts of kindness to your gratitude journal.  These are two acts of kindness you did for others that day. 

You can see what’s happening here, can’t you?  The gratitude exercises forces you to stop and take note of the good things in your life without ignoring the problems.  The kindness journaling requires that you actually perform two acts of kindness at least five days a week.  (If you want to be a self-serving jerk on weekends, go right ahead.)

The whole exercise takes about three minutes a day.  If you start today and continue these exercises through Christmas, the positive effects will last to Independence Day 2011. That’s according to research that has been replicated by Dr. Martin Seligman of Pennsylvania University’s Positive Psychology department. 

Finally, one of my gratitudes today:  I am thankful that you read my blog and will try this fun and happy exercise. 

Merry Christmas!

How to Be Happier

Happiness is a choice; anger is a tactic.

Anger will have to wait for a future post.  This one is about happiness. So let me ask: would you do something that took less than a minute if that something would make you happier?

Martin Seligman at University of Pennsylvania’s school of Positive Psychology has broken down happiness in more scientifically measurable components:

  • Positive Emotion
  • Engagement
  • Purpose

Other research has shown how to increase your happiness score.  Before we discuss that, though, let’s dispel some notions.

When we talk about increasing your happiness, we don’t mean eliminating the bad or troubled things in your life. What we mean is increasing the happiness.  You can be despite your troubles—look at Job and Mother Teresa. 

Nor do we mean that you will rate yourself as “Hap- Hap- Happy!” if someone asks, “How you doin’?”

Before you wander away, though, consider this: if you do this thing for 30 seconds to a minute every day, early in the morning, at each point during the day, after each interaction, you will be happier than you’d have been if you hadn’t done this simple thing. 

Even better, if you do this for 21 days in a row, the effects will last for six months. 

Now, are you ready to be happier? Then here’s how. 

Every morning, write down five things your thankful for. 

That’s it.  If you want to get a reminder, register here and they’ll send you an email if you go twenty-four hours without recording things you’re thankful for.

This works by instructing your subconscious mind to notice and note things that are positive.  These could be very little things, like a little boy trying to close the tailgate of a very large SUV. 

As you catalog more and more positive things in your life, you’ll arm yourself with more and more solutions.  But if you only recognize problems, then you’re armed with more and more problems.

Try this for twenty-one days.  If you’re not satisfied, post comment.  If you are satisfied post a comment.

BONUS:  If you really want to make a difference, consider sharing the things you’re grateful for.  Tweet them or post them on facebook.  ThankfulFor.com makes this easy.