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Ben Folds just tweeted me. Goodnight, folks.

I’ve only ever exchanged tweets with a celebrity twice in my life. Once with musician and lyrical genius Ben Folds (@BenFolds) on the personal intricacies of his song, “Trusted.”

And with political satirist, news correspondent and all-around spectacular human being Mo Rocca (@MoRocca) on his new Cooking Channel show, “My Grandmother’s Ravioli.”

They were brief encounters. A mere blip on the screen. But my heart still fluttered to see a reply from two people whose creative work I greatly admire. I have every Ben Folds Five album ever made (Yes, I know. I’m old), and I’ve been a fan of Mo Rocca since he was a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” And these guys took time out of their seemingly busy schedules to share a dialogue with me.

What separates Mo and Ben from other celebrities, only tweeting about their next book deal, energy drink endorsement, perfume line? They are using owned media to connect with real people on a personal level. It’s that simple.

Celebrity or not, if your tweets begin and end with yourself, you’re doing it wrong. You’re forgetting to engage with people in a way that is genuine rather than manufactured. It always irks me when people resort to shameless self-promotion of their own brand. If you have a good product, let your audience do the talking for you. Instead of forcing a contrived pitch into a tweet about how awesome you are, focus your attention on connecting with people first. Does that mean you shouldn’t share good news about yourself or your brand? Of course not! Always share personal victories. But there has to be a balance between engagement and self-promotion, otherwise you just come off as braggy and narcissistic.

My point is this: Be authentic in everything that you do, and it will resonate with your audience.

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