June 3, 2013

Authenticity on the Internet. ~ Elizabeth Crisci

The age of the internet has long dawned.

These days, any decent entrepreneur is expected to be proficient at social media, WordPress-site building and wielding a smart-phone with deadly accuracy.

Yogis are not exceptions to the rule, but it is a fine line between inspiring your students from afar and turning them off to you completely.

If you’ve been on the scene a while and are “following” a few yoga studios, teachers and pretty pose-sharers, you have probably done your share of “liking” and probably, a good share of disliking, too.

It’s hard to pinpoint the traits that turn me on or off on my Twitter feed, but I have noticed that regardless of someone’s success level, some people just rub me the wrong way.

Here are a few Do’s and Do Not’s for social media and the yogi:

1. Do:  Give unto others the social media spotlight!

If you’ve read an article that interested you or you’re really looking forward to attending an event as a student, chances are your network is interested, too.

If people find interesting content on your page, they are much more likely to return. It is also a gesture of respect to acknowledge your sources.

Promoting your own workshop is important, but if it’s the only thing you’re talking about it may come across as self-involved.

2. Don’t: Trash talk on the internet! (Duh!)

There are exceptions to this rule of course, and if you have strong feelings about an issue you are directly involved in it is authentic and appropriate to share your thoughts.

But, don’t be the person who has to add two-cents to every yoga scandal and item of gossip. This screams “middle school bathroom” more than “beacon of inspiration.”

Even if you have had authentic in-person conversations about social issues, keep in mind your observations will come across a lot more like criticisms in writing.

If you’re unhappy with studio policy or another teacher,  keep it to yourself—being overtly critical makes you look like a jerk! Just don’t do it!

3. Do: Share inspiring pictures to add interest to your content!

Everyone loves some vibrant photography, even iPhone photography.

Spending a little time on Instagram or Pinterest can turn you on to some wild ideas. Juice recipes, woodland landscapes, cute dog pictures!

If you like it, feel free to snap a picture and share away!

4. Don’t: Be a cam-whore!

Sorry, I had to go there. I myself am no wallflower, and I have many photos that have been taken of me practicing yoga. I use them for promoting events, to add interest to blog posts or for profile pictures on sites that I use for professional purposes.

I don’t set up a camera with a self timer to snap pictures of every home practice I do; I don’t post myself doing scorpion every day.

In fact, even super-yogis like Kathryn Budig and Tiffany Cruikshank who are known for their advanced asana are not blowing up my feeds with pictures of themselves. If they aren’t doing it, you shouldn’t do it.

Keep these posts occasional to avoid looking like an attention-seeker (which is not very inspiring).

5. Do: Let your network know about schedule changes and special events!

If someone is “following” your social media, they want to know what you’re up to—don’t be shy about telling people what you’re doing.

Even if a student has been going to your Tuesday class for six months, they may have no idea that you teach the same class on Fridays. Posting your schedule and what you plan to teach, or sharing your excitement about the workshop you’re teaching next week are great ways to build attendance and interest in your teaching.

Just keep in mind that if you’re not sharing anything else, people may quickly bore of seeing the same “Hot class today! Come to my hot class! DID YOU KNOW I AM TEACHING HOT YOGA!” posts.

If you feel like you’re posting something a lot, you may be over sharing. Find your own line.

6. Don’t: Take anything too seriously on the Internet.

Sometimes a negative comment will slip into your world wide web: just let it go.

Sometimes a post you thought was just fabulous will be mostly ignored: let it go.

You can use feedback from any source to help you fine-tune your offerings online and in life, but don’t let it sting.

Remember it’s only your ego that wants to be the popular girl on Pinterest. If you’re not getting the attention that you want, patience may be the only missing link, and no effort is not worth it if it comes from your heart.

And on that note, these are certainly my own opinions; these words were not inspired by anyone or anything other than my own experience of social media as a yoga teacher.

What turns you on or off when you’re browsing?


Elizabeth Crisci is an ERYT-500 who teaches Vinyasa yoga in Fairfield County, Connecticut and has been practicing yoga since childhood. She has had the good karma to study with many brilliant teachers, and teaches in the Kaia Yoga Teacher Training Program. She loves her work, her friends, her dog and her mat. She is grateful every day to her students and teachers for making it possible for a big-mouthed girl from sleepy Connecticut to adore her life so thoroughly and work in her dream job. Learn more about Elizabeth on her website.


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Assistant Ed: Paula Carrasquillo/Ed: Bryonie Wise

Image source: Justin Michael Williams via Pinterest

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