With just about everyone having a smartphone, IPad or some other device, it can be assumed that most people are on social media. In fact, Statisat.com reports that 81% of the U.S. population are social media users.

Some people may prefer certain platforms over others, but they are a part of the digital community at some level. With this said, I am continually amazed at how people passively engage on social media. Especially on Twitter.

Social media, as it’s automatically implied within the term, is supposed to be social. It is not meant to be stagnant, but lively with a lot of activity. This means you are not a team player if you are sitting on the beach instead of getting in the game by socializing. Twitter users being bench warmers was especially perplexing to me this morning as I was doing my social media reporting of Roland Martin’s #NewsOneNow show. I tweet quotes from the show to generate engagement. This is important because it helps to expand my network of followers on Twitter and helps me advance my reputation for what I do. After I post the tweets, I analyze how many ‘likes’, ‘retweets’ and ‘replies’ my posts get so I can determine the most popular ones to pull ‘impressions’ for. For example, by the end of the day one of my tweets from this morning had 10 replies, 56 retweets, 226 likes and 19,850 impressions. These numbers mean I am in the game, being social online.

Being in the social media game means not just having accounts, but actively using those accounts. My #SMH moment this morning was from going on profiles and seeing that some people who were engaging with my tweets were pretty much just Twitter bench warmers. Sure they were doing something, that’s how they got my attention, but they are underperforming by not truly utilizing Twitter for what it is intended for. For example, one person created their account in 2010, yet only had sent 63 Tweets, was Following 97, has 3 Followers and 529 Likes. Clearly this is just a bench warmer instead of a true player. As with athletes, it’s all about the stats, numbers. I’m not heavily into sports, but I know that an athlete who has low stats will get cut from the team. The same is true on social media. It is hard to take someone seriously if they have low stats.

I consider myself an active social media person, consequently a significant part of my business involves the providing of social media coaching. My preferred platforms had been Facebook for personal and LinkedIn for professional reasons. This year, I developed a greater appreciation for Twitter. I originally created my account in May of 2014 but it sat lifeless until earlier this year. As a print journalist, writing long form articles is a norm for me. So the thought of condensing my thoughts into 140 characters always petrified me. At the start of this year, I challenged myself to acquaint myself more with Twitter as a way to tighten up my written style based on the 140 character limits. The limit has recently doubled, but the old limit helped me to be more creative in my tweets. Although it took me awhile to get use to ignoring traditional punctuation rules. I got hooked to Twitter through this process. Now my top three platforms are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I tried Instagram for a bit, but now I’m on the bench there.

My increased and consistent Twitter activity has me now at Following 2,836, 1,389 Followers with me having 5,924 Tweets. For me to be a non-celebrity, high-profile person, I think my number of followers is pretty good. Especially when I take into account that people follow me because they like the content I post. If I contributed nothing to the virtual team, my number of followers would not have consistently grown. The process of strategically following people in my industry and who have shared interests also helps to show me as a team player. This is in contrast to those who frequently like, reply or retweet other people’s tweets but they themselves never provide any unique content.

I’m not a social media snob, but truth be told, I don’t follow people who are only bench warmers. Sometimes I actually may block them on Twitter because they end up being trolls, hostile agitators. I’m glad that once I started being active on Twitter, others started engaging with me as well. Take it from me, the more engaged you get with social media, the more you will benefit from it. It’s all up to you.