It’s a cliché. A “Hallmark holiday.” “Every day should be Valentine’s Day.”

Ever heard – or made – any of those remarks?

I confess; I have, and I think they have a ring of truth. But cliché or not, Valentine’s Day is a way – admitted, perhaps born of artifice and over-commercialized – to show one’s appreciation and affection to those who make your life better.

To me, that includes my Twitterverse. So, for those of you who have fallen in love with Twitter, here are five ways to show your Twitter love on Valentine’s Day:

1. Mr. Tweet is a great way to find interesting people to follow, depending on what your interests are. I like to follow those in my profession (public relations), writers, social media savants, IABC members and, sometimes, folks who are just downright interesting, funny and who would probably rear up at being categorized in any way.

Take it one step further and give back to those you follow by giving them a recommendation on Mr. Tweet; this will help others find them. It won’t cost you more than a click, and there are more than enough of those to go around.

2. Re-tweet… with credit. Just as bloggers get a charge out of comments on their posts, because they show engagement, it’s very satisfying to see something you tweeted about spread through re-tweets, especially when you didn’t ask for it. If you frequently re-tweet interesting posts, links or news – good for you.

Give credit where credit is due by adding the original Twitterer’s handle when you forward the update. TweetDeck and Twhirl make this easy to do; if you’re just getting started on Twitter and using the Web interface, copy and paste in the original update, precede it with “RT @<whoever>” and boom, you’re off.

3. #FollowFriday. Increasing Twitter followers seems to be the be all and end all for some. I can’t deny it’s satisfying to see one’s follower numbers go up, but what I personally get more satisfaction out of is the engagement, the conversations I have with other Twitterers.

A great way to pay it forward is to participate in Twitter events like #followfriday, where you recommend Twitter users to others. It helps if you explain why, e.g. “Foodies: @<whoever> #followfriday” and so on. Using the hashtag with no spaces between the two words will help others find them.

4. Engage. Speaking of engagement, one of the most remarkable things about social networking is the ability to talk to and get to know people you might never have come across otherwise in the “real” world. Whether you choose to follow everyone who follows you is up to you. But one of the nicest things you can do is respond when you are mentioned in tweets, or when someone sends you a message.

For example, yesterday I recommended Paisano on #followfriday, because his updates make me think, inform me and, sometimes, he’s just very funny. I was completely unprepared for him to write back and thank me; let’s face it, he’s a pretty influential Twitterer. When he did, I was impressed and, as a result, I will be following him even more closely now.

5. Go offline. Twitter is a wonderful way to get to know people online. As you develop those relationships, take them offline. Meet up for coffee, attend tweetups in your area… get to know the people behind those avatars. We live in a uniquely multi-dimensional world. Take advantage of it.

Those are my five ways to show Twitter love; I’m sure you have many more. Won’t you share them with me… and the love?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Photo credit: ~Athena

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps purpose-driven brands bring big ideas to life. She teaches at The Johns Hopkins University, has gone back to school herself with the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and is creator/lead instructor at The Social PR Virtuoso® online training hub , where ambitious PR pros learn how to unleash their inner Social PR superheroes. Owned by Lola the Basset Hound, she's mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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