Being Human on Twitter

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Be human. You’ve probably heard this advice before. It’s become a catchphrase almost nowadays. But is there a real, deep meaning to the now age-old saying, ‘be human’? Yes, and in this super-fast super impersonal online world, it’s more important than ever to be your own genuine human self. This week on the chat, we invited business development strategist, Maiko Sakai, to talk about what it means to be human on Twitter. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Maiko Sakai
Topic: Being human on Twitter
Format: eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What does it mean to be human on Twitter?

Our guest shared her personal take on being human on Twitter. For her, that means to share what’s going on in her personal and professional life—as long as it’s relevant and useful to her audience. But she also has an exception: Sharing light-hearted content that’ll amuse people or positively impact their day is also part of being human.

Jim put it nicely: Being human on Twitter is the same as being who you are offline. If someone you’ve connected with on social met you in real life, they shouldn’t feel like there’s a difference between engaging with you online and offline. A great way to share your personality on Twitter is to use video replies to connect with your audience.

Q2: Why should you show your human side on Twitter?

You should showcase your human side on Twitter because it’s a great way to stay on top of people’s minds. The more people know and like you, the higher the chances of them remembering and recalling your content.

That said, remember, the key is to connect with your audience. It doesn’t mean you have to share every good and bad thing in your life. Being human is about being relatable—not about broadcasting your entire life.

As Kami added, a lot of brands these days tend to be rigid and robotic. In an effort to be professionally perfect, they sacrifice personality. People want to feel like they know a brand, and the best way to do that is to be quirky and show your personal side.

Q3: Do you have to post photos of yourself and your team to be human?

It’s not necessary. But it’s nice to have. A lot of people will relate to you more easily if you show them how you and your team work on a daily basis. There’re a lot of creative ways to achieve this.

For example, you can share photos of your workplace, an office upgrade, your team having a break, a card or a nice comment a customer left you, or a favorite meal you shared with your team or loved ones. There’re so many ways to use photos to tell your story.

However, if you still don’t like the idea of sharing photos, take Carla’s advice: Focus on building out genuine conversations, instead. Avoid using too many automated messages, and start replying to people organically.

Q4: What types of content can help showcase your human element?

Photos can definitely help—the more creative you are, the more chances you have of getting high engagement.

There’re also things you shouldn’t do. Like showing off, for instance. As we said before, share things that are helpful to others. If it’s only meant to serve your own ego, then it’s best to keep it to yourself.

Similarly, avoid sharing too much useless information. A rant about the traffic is ok once a year, but don’t make it a habit. Don’t complain about family or bad food at a restaurant. Before you post, ask if whatever you’re about to share has a teachable moment. If the answer is no, then don’t post it.

As for what you can do to make yourself instantly likable, tell stories. As Madalyn explained, when you share your experiences with your audience, you’re inviting them to be part of that experience. It’s a great way to connect with people.

Q5: Is it bad to be emotional on Twitter?

Not at all. But you should also only do what feels natural to you. Don’t tell elaborate stories and cry on camera if you’re trying to garner sympathy. Trying to emulate someone else isn’t ideal.

How much emotion you can show on Twitter, and how much your audience will appreciate, will vary for each person. As our guest suggested, experiment to find out what works for you.

As Christine added, showing some emotion is a good thing. It shows people that they can be honest and open with you, which helps build strong relationships.

Q6: Can you be human on Twitter without being emotional?

Yes, you can. Being human is not only about showing your emotional side. It’s also about responding to people and engaging with their content genuinely. Don’t overthink it—behave just as you would in real life.

As Alyx pointed out, a lot of people automatically assume that being emotional is being teary. That’s not the case at all. Emotional also includes feelings of passion for your work and happiness for someone else’s achievement.

Q7: How emotional is too much on Twitter?

Emotion that’s counterintuitive is a bit too much on Twitter. Showing people that you’re just the same as everyone and you, too, have rough days is a good thing. But if that’s all you’re sharing, then your content will start to lose its value.

Keep your priorities and goals on top of your mind. Your main focus should be to share helpful resources and become an authority on Twitter for your work. Any emotional content you share should ideally complement your goals, not jeopardize them.

As Maiko explained, find the balance between education, sales, entertainment, marketing, and personal stories.

Q8: If you’re rational, does it mean you’re not showing your human element?

No. Rational thinking is a crucial skill. If you tend to look at things from a rational angle without letting your emotions take over, that doesn’t mean you’re not human. People will appreciate you for being rational, just as long as you’re not being clinical about the way you approach things. Rational involves emotion. Clinical doesn’t. It’s the absence of everything that makes a person relatable.

Michelle made a great point, too. You don’t have to be emotional to have or acknowledge them. You can talk about how you’re feeling rationally. That’s a pathway to productive discussions.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Maiko have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together for us. If you like this summary, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET for #TwitterSmarter. We also have an after-chat on Twitter Spaces at 5 pm ET. See you there!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—marketing stuff to pay the bills; haiku and short stories so I feel wholesome. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.

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