Some of the best advice on how to use 140 characters to promote a position is 18 characters long and 2,000 years old.
A key element of the Rhetoric is Aristotle’s three proofs, things that should be in every good argument: ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos is a demonstration of the speaker’s character – whether or not the audience takes the speaker to be a man of good will, pathos appeals to emotion, and logos appeals to reason.
Social media experts say that one should curate one’s online persona, one should create a vision or view of oneself, and strategically put it into the ether. A good persona is one that doesn’t just plug one’s self (“and here’s another review of my book!”) or one’s job (why follow you online if all you do is push out content of someone else I follow, or worse don’t care about?), it isn’t all personal (yes, your kid is cute, I got it), and it doesn’t undermine one’s credibility with drunken selfies, partisan political rants, and inappropriate jokes.
A good online persona, in other words, is one rooted in Aristotle. Consider:
A way to build ethos online is to put out, promote, and share credible, considered information. Demonstrate you are reasonable. Conversely, avoid the drunken selfie or cheap shot.
Post a picture of your son or daughter from time to time, pass along a tear-jerking video, give a shout-out to a bold or noble act. Don’t be afraid to show the personal, it makes you real and makes it more likely I’ll take your work seriously.
Share good, useful, information. Pass along interesting insights or good tips. Don’t be afraid of data. Conversely, don’t spread bad information.
Communications tools are changing, but the elements of what makes good and successful communication haven’t changed in thousands of years.