Wonder what the deal is with Twitter? Is it a tool to reduce stress by staying connected and feeling like part of a community, or a time-sucking trap?
It can be both – the trick is managing the flow!
Imagine a storm drain pipe pumping out water after a heavy rain… That’s Twitter!
Thousands and thousands of gallons of information gushing at you non-stop.
Overwhelming? Yes it can be – but if you harness it correctly it can be a way to connect with a community of like-minded people and reduce stress.
First – let’s talk about managing the information flowing toward you.
Get a Twitter tool to help you. (I use TweetDeck) This will help you channel the gush of information into smaller – more manageable streams.
TweetDeck divides your information into columns. In this example first column (or stream) features all the people you follow on Twitter.
Doing a Twitter search on a particular topic such as heart health, your town, your job, parenting, etc can help you find interesting people to follow. Tweets from these people will show up in your “Friends” column. Choose who you follow wisely. If someone is over-tweeting or sharing information you don’t wish to read, simply unfollow them. They won’t know – it will be fine!
Next is the “Mention” column. This keeps track of anytime someone uses your @name in a tweet. This is a great way to find out who responded to something you wrote without having to constantly monitor your Twitter account.
The third column is “Direct Message.” Remember anything you write in a tweet goes into that giant stream of information – anyone can read it, comment on it, or re-tweet it. (RT). If you have something more private to share, you can send a direct message (outside of the stream) only that person can read it. Again, this column helps you keep track of your incoming messages without having to constantly monitor your account.
You can add more columns (or streams) to your page. Perhaps you want an ongoing search on a particular topic, such as health care reform. Searching for hashtags is a great way to sort the information too. A hashtag is a number/hash sign (#) followed by a word, for example #hearthealth. Including a hashtag in your tweet is a great way to raise a flag and say to everyone interested in the same topic, “Hey, pay attention!”
Here are some hashtags you may want to check out:
#hearthealth, #GoRed4Wmn, #stroke, #afib (atrial fibrillation), #cardiovascular, #stress, #nutrition, #food, #quote, #balance, #wellness, #parenting, #family, #kids, #children, #worklife, #busywoman, #agchat, #assnchat, #journchat, #hr, #followfarmer
Once you find some people and topics to follow, start tweeting with idea of sending good information out into the stream. Have a comment on a book you just read? Great, make a comment, link to the book or author, and use a hashtag. See a tweet you like? Super, reply to it – or show some Twitter-love by retweeting it. If you think someone is really great show them love with a #FF (Follow Friday) include their @name and tell the world why they should follow him/her too!
Here are some great people to follow:
@stopafib, @HeartNews, @womensHealthMag
@mpaynknoper, @agchat, @AthleticFoodie, @gilmerdairy
Giggle and Inspiration:
@RockandRollGuru, @TheOsheaReport, @JoyTripProject, @jusonlaipply @kimandjason
@Price_Points, @nametagscott, @Ginaschreck @Joelcomm @laurastack @billgeist
Remember, as with all technology, Twitter is a tool. You can use it or it can use you! Turn it off when you are trying to get things done, relating to people face-to-face, or eating! More tips to manage electronic induced stress.
I wish you low stress and great tweeting success!
Eliz Greene survived a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggled to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and searched for a way to hold on to the perspective and passion she found in her near-death experience. Drawing on her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress. Find out more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com