1. Pray. Bring Christ into the relationship at the very beginning, and let your prayer have more of the ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’ than ‘Lord, open my lips that I may declare your praise …’
2. Listen. Engage with others, don’t preach at them. Know when to be quiet. It’s O.K. to have nothing to say!
3. Respect. Don’t abuse anyone or vent your anger online. It will scare off some people and make others feel uncomfortable in your presence.
4. Encourage. Give help when you can; affirm, compliment, if appropriate.
5. Spend time: you can’t build good relationships in just a few minutes. You have to be serious about wanting to build a relationship and prepared to commit yourself.
6. Share: not only what you are doing, but also what others are doing. This particularly applies to Twitter — don’t use it just for self-advertisement!
7. Be welcoming: you need people who disagree with you.
8. Be grateful: whingers are not very attractive, nor are those who take things for granted.
9. Be yourself: truthfulness is essential. ‘You’ online should be the same person as ‘you’ offline.
10. Love. Like prayer, it’s obvious, but unless you pray, unless you love those with whom you come into contact online, you’re wasting your time as well as theirs.