Last week, we had an influential musician over to our house for dinner. We’d never met before, but had bumped into each other on Twitter a few times and have a lot of mutual friends.
After he went home and my wife and I were getting ready to go to bed, I wrote a tweet that said, “Great day with @__________, an artist who inspires me to be a better me.”
Then I asked myself a three letter word that has the power to radically improve every blog and tweet you ever write:
Why was I tweeting that? Why was I writing that and sharing that thought with people? What was my real motive behind that simple sentence?
The truth is, I wrote that tweet so that people who follow me would see I had dinner with someone cool and would then by nature of association think I was cool too. That was an ego tweet. Even worse, it was dressed up as if it was a compliment to that musician. In addition to hiding my true meaning behind the tweet, I also got to pretend that I was being kind to him at the same time. But that’s not true, because if I wanted to thank him for inspiring me, I could have sent him a direct message or a text message.
And I wasn’t tweeting his name so that other people would get exposed to his music and discover him. If that was my motive, there was no reason to mention that we had spent some time together. I could have added a link to his site and said, “I love the new album by @_______. If you haven’t heard it, you need to!”
I didn’t send the tweet that night, and I didn’t because I took the time to ask “why?” I stopped to ask what my real motive was. There’s been other times when, despite brilliant books like Start with Why by Simon Sinek and a history of ego-driven mistakes, I’ve just tweeted or just blogged without asking why I was really doing that.
Want to improve your blog posts?
Want to improve your tweets?
Want to improve your conversations with neighbors?
Take the time to ask yourself “Why?” You might not like the answer, but why always pays dividends if we’ll take the time to listen.