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With Twitter tips, tricks, and tools to spare, Eric T Tung joins us for Episode 3 of the Create If Writing Podcast. He is #33 on the Forbes list of global influencers and #1 here in Houston. Currently he works at BMC software and speaks at conferences all around the country. Here is what I LOVE about Eric. He doesn't ACT like he is on a very short list of global influencers. He will happily take a selfie with you---in fact you BETTER take a selfie if you ever meet him. (I prefer the goofy ones.) He is personable, hilarious, and totally not one of those people who thinks he is all that. (Even though he kind of is.)
You can find Eric on Twitter, LinkedIn, and on his blog. He is a great resource and person to follow! Let's see what he has to say about Twitter.
At a Glance: Tips for Using Twitter
Snag your name if possible. Use a middle initial if your actual name is taken (or really cool). Consider a fun alternative if your name is John Smith.
Be professional, but also personal. (Clearly his profile picture demonstrates this intersection.) Don't have two profiles. People want to get to know you.
Use Twitter lists to organize people you follow. You can make them public or private.
Save time by using Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule content tweets. This can free you up to engage in real time.
If your feed gets too busy, you can mute people. (And they won't know about it.)
Post links to your own content multiple times a day. Twitter moves faster, so it's not spammy. You can't post the exact same tweet, so change the order of the link & hashtag or pull different pieces from the content as a Tweet. (But never share JUST your stuff.)
You can schedule old evergreen content (i.e., content that is relevant ALL the time) so that you have more of your own links to share. You can also schedule date-specific content way in advance, like scheduling links to your old Christmas posts in January to go OUT in December.
Three qualities that can boost Twitter engagement: make it interesting; make it entertaining; or make it feel-good. People love that! Visuals whether photos or video are great.
Find Your First Tweet
How to Use Twitter Lists
Why Twitter Isn't Just Shouting into a Crowd
Hashtagify (we didn't discuss this, but this is a great tool to find relevant hashtags)
Eric's How Social Media Is Like Star Wars
How to Use Buffer (what Eric uses)
How to Use Hootsuite (what I use)
Tim Grahl's 3 Myths about Social Media Marketing for Authors
My Big Takeaway
In this conversation I really appreciated what he mentioned as far as how to leverage your Twitter numbers (around 30 minutes into the episode). With Tim Grahl's 3 Myths about Social Media Marketing for Authors in mind, Eric talked about not simply thinking of your number of Twitter followers as potential sales (because often it will be something like 1% or lower), but considering how those numbers can help you secure other things like speaking engagements. (If you're a writer and want to be published, realize that the likelihood of you getting a book deal is slim without some kind of tangible platform. This may not mean Twitter, but it certainly helps to have those numbers!) It isn't all about the numbers, but numbers are definitely useful. ESPECIALLY if you think of them as people to connect with, not impersonal numbers.
****Disclaimer! Though I talk about meeting Twitter friends in real life, I would ABSOLUTELY not meet a stranger in person without vetting them seriously. Adults meeting online friends, be careful. Teens? DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.****
If you want more about social media, I'm embedding this great Slide Share he presented recently here in Houston entitled "Holy Crap! I Can Get Fired for Posting on Social Media Posts?"
What I Want to Know from YOU.
Have you ever experienced one of those strange journeys in life? The kind where you start at point A and end up at point Q? (This podcast is one of those journeys for me!) Today's interview is with Blaine Hogan. Blaine started out as an actor, but as he began to really make it, a series of panic attacks derailed his career and brought his life to a halt. He is now the Creative Director at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago and the founder of the course Make Better. I first ran across Blaine years ago in an episode of one of my favorite shows, Prison Break. Listen to his story in the podcast to see how he came from there to creating a course like Make Better. Truly inspiring stuff!
You can connect with Blaine on his blog (he has a great freebie for email subscribers!!), the Make Better site, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
At a Glance
I loved Blaine's understanding of art as a spiritual experience: "The lights would go down and someone tells you the most true thing they know." Do YOU think of art as spiritual in some way?
Have you ever unraveled in the best possible way, as Blaine says he did?
Has your life ever taken you on one of those surprise journeys? Were you pleased with the destination & the journey itself?
"Disorganization is not a badge of honor for creative professionals." What I took from this is that we often need great discipline and organization to create, especially in the middle of busy lives.
Do you feel like you need validation (self-validation or validation from others) to let yourself write or create?
Has being an adult stifled or killed your creativity? In what ways do we encourage creativity in children but discourage it in adults?
Blaine mentioned the discipline of being AWARE, and giving yourself credit that what seems like a small though over breakfast might be important. Write it down. Put it on the computer. File it away. Write every day.
"Never stare at the blank page." Do you have hope or guilt with the blank page?
Are you a good starter or finisher? (Or maybe a good middler?)
Do you struggle with a sense of artist guilt if you miss a day or don't accomplish your goal?
If you have kids, how do you balance having kids & creating art?
"I am not my work." <- Do you find that as freeing as I do??
I loved his idea of not creating a singular project, but our life as a portfolio. How do you think mindset might change creative work?
Do you think you could make it through a silent retreat???
Make Better **If you are an email subscriber, there is a coupon code for $25 off the course! If you sign up AFTER seeing this, email me that you signed up and I'll pass on the code. (Good only for the April 2015 registration.)**
The Wounded Heart by Dan B. Allender
Willow Creek Community Church
My Big Takeaway
THERE WERE SO MANY. I love thinking of the idea of a portfolio rather than projects. I have so many projects and sometimes I think they are all in their separate boxes, unrelated. Thinking of my whole life as a portfolio gave me a sense of hope and also the freedom to HAVE so many random projects. I also have even more of a sense of validation for art just by talking to other artists. I hope listening gave YOU the same sense of validation! As far as a practical takeaway, I love the idea of keeping something handy to write down those thoughts through the day. I've been keeping a small notebook in my purse for the past few months and have found that I write things in it all the time. Sometimes to-do lists and sometimes fragments of a poem or story.
What I Want to Know from YOU
I'm nosy. I want to know all of these things in the comments and I want to know them NOW.
-Do you feel like you have lost some sense of creativity as an adult?
Talking to yourself in an empty room can feel a little odd. Talking to yourself when you are in an empty room knowing that you will be putting a recording of yourself talking feels TOTALLY awkward and strange! In this inaugural episode I am talking about creativity, writing, and the origin of this site and podcast. I am a little weird in that I get excited about writing, but I also LOVE social media and the idea of connecting with people. (That's how I try to think of platform---connecting with people with mutual interests.) Maybe creativity looks like baking. Maybe it looks like coming up with activities for your kids. Maybe it looks like content creation in the blog world or the professional one. Maybe it looks like writing a novel or a song or a devotional book. Whatever your avenue is, I hope this episode encourages you to embrace it!
At a Glance: Confessions & Creativity
What energizes your creativity?
Do you get more excited about the creative side of art-making or the platform-building side?
Sometimes as adults we need validation that creativity and following your dreams is not just okay, but HEALTHY.
We are created to be creative. Whether from the Genesis narrative or not, do you agree?
Resource List (my ever-growing list of helpful links!)
Ted Talks on Creativity
What I Want to Know From YOU
I’m nosy. I want to know all of these things in the comments and I want to know them NOW.
-Whether it's a job, hobby, or something in between, what do you like to create?
-When do you feel most whole and fulfilled in your life?