Posted by: Natalie | June 30, 2010

To Tweet? Or Not to Tweet? That, is the Question.

I will happily admit I know nothing about Twitter. Well, I say nothing, I am aware that you can ‘follow’ people and ‘be followed’ in turn, each person writing a quick line or two about their happenings due to a restricted character count. But beyond this, I’m not sure I get it.

Up until now I have been quite content with my ignorance of this global social media, but little narks and niggles are setting in. Am I some how missing out by not being a Tweeter? Am I, by unhappy fate, causing detriment to my career by not partaking? I like the idea that I can get instant updates from certain sources; publisher’s and their up and coming events, fellow writers, agents, professional authors etc. But even still, what is my place in this whirlwind of whizzing words? Who would find me interesting and what on earth would I write?

The strange thing is, these are all the questions I asked that held me back from blogging proper – oh yes, I have tried before and obviously failed. However, The Writer Side of Life quickly became part of my daily routine, a realistic reflection of my world and the words I want to write. Who knows how long it will go on for? I hope for as long as I have typing fingers and kind readers like you. But am I ready for the condensed version? Do I want to succumb to that power I solemnly vowed not to entertain? I’m really not sure. I would be very interested to know any pros and cons of Tweeting from any Twits there might be out there – sorry, Tweeters.

I suppose I should at least look into it, there can’t be much harm in it – can there? I feel like I am on the brink of opening Pandora’s Box. Will the whole world implode if I dare to join in? I am not really a technophile, yes I like the gadgets and gizmos I have, but I fear I am already growing into my Grandma – “I don’t want that, its new!” kinda thing. (I would just like to mention that my dearly loved, and sadly departed Grandma refused to have a microwave, I believe, because the local Vicar didn’t have one.) But I don’t want to be like that, I want to embrace the new and combine it with the old. I’m just still not convinced Twitter is one to include.

Who knows, by the time I return from the States, I could be converted! Feel free to share your thoughts.

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Responses

  1. Well I still love Twitter having being using it for well over a year now, although I will admit I am less active on there than I have been in the past but I think this is just because I go through phases with it. What I will say with Twitter, is that it only works if (at first at least) you really give it a proper go. Find people to follow – at least 50 – and make sure they are both real people you know, real people who live near you (you can search for nearby Tweeters) and famous people / commercial people. Don’t be shy about whay you tweet – only about one in fifty of my tweets are vaguely witty. Usually they are just a place to vent my current disposition. And don’t worry about people following you back – your friends will, and then maybe other people you follow (usually this only works with businesses and real people – famous people don’t follow others). The more you tweet, the more people you will attract.

    Moreover, I find twitter a really useful way of keeping track of the people I know online that I care about – I can tell when they are having a bad day, have had exciting news, etc. and the communication aspect akin to instant messenging (albeit more public) is great. You do have to option of sending private message too and these are great when you want to quickly get someone’s response to something or tell something urgent!

    Jump in, give it a go and if you don’t like it, just stop! Simple!

  2. The biggest drawback of twitter is that in order to partake in the major benefits, you have to be open to the world. You can’t selectively regulate your content like Facebook: either it’s all public or it’s all protected (only your followers can read). So you have to decide carefully whether you are going to be using it for professional purposes or personal–maybe even have two! It all depends on how you want it to function.

    I have a twitter account. Right now, it’s protected. I had a “friend” who would try & take my tweets out of context to cause trouble in my relationships with other people. You can get comfortable & forget other people are actually reading (and forming their own opinions, etc.) But that’s what we do here as well.

    If you want to use Twitter, go for it; it’s fun. I would just advise you be informed on all pros & cons before signing on.

  3. Nat,

    As a Tweeter myself, I only joined because of all the panels and publishing events I’ve been attending. They strongly push social media as the new publicity/marketing for a writer.

    I use Twitter to plug when I put up a blog post (more readers and maybe more followers), I retweet useful information from fellow writers, publishers, or anybody in the publishing/writing industry, I also tweet events I know about like an author reading or randomness like my thoughts on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. There’s room to be yourself and still be professional on Twitter. You are a person. I don’t use Facebook for professionalism – that is my fun, silly life in cyberspace.

    I think you should give it a shot. You would be surprised how many people will start following you. Esp. if you tweet your blog post when you have one and use the hashtags (#) for when people search any word that describes your post. You can even search and find me on there if you like to have a sense of what writers do on Twitter. My name is Bkwriter4life.

    Additionally, the goal is to have a significant amount of followers so when the time comes to publish/market a book, you are not completely unknown. It’s marketing yourself gradually to have an online presence. Because if you are not known, who’s going to buy your book? That’s what tweeting is a part of.

    Hope that helps!

  4. Well, you know my feelings on twitter – I love it! I use it as a way to keep up with blogs without feeling guilty – whereas my google reader account was frequently full to bursting with content I hadn’t time to read, on twitter I can follow a link to a post as and when a writer I follow posts it IF I have the time. If I miss one because I’m too busy – well, so what??

    I think it might well be worth you checking out how a handful of writers use it too, looking at the different ways it is used depending on the writer’s level of success and notoriety. I love that I can follow Neil Gaiman on there, although I’m well aware he has no idea who I am and will never respond to my @mentions. I follow him because I want to know what he’s up to, when he’s blogged, where he’s making an appearance, when I can expect his next book… He is using social media to market to me and I am choosing to listen.

    On the other hand, just this week I discovered author Gail Carriger, sent her a tweet saying how much I’d loved her book and got a personal response within hours. I want to know all the same things from her as from Gaiman, but because she’s as yet relatively (relative to Gaimian, I mean!) unkknown and able to respond on a personal level I feel I’m a part of her network and part of her brand. I want to buy into her as a brand, want to attend events she’s championing, and am chomping at the bit to buy her next book. As a blogger, a member of Good Reads, and being active online, I am promoting her to people I know and encouraging my peers to buy her book. I am providing free marketing AND it’s Word Of Mouth – the most powerful marketing model out there! This is where the reciprocal side of social media comes in – I’m essentially working for her, and my payment is being (and appearing) ahead of the game and “in the know”.

    (Sorry – bit of a marketing essay there. But you knew this post would provoke a response from me, dintcha?? I very nearly didn’t get started for this reason…)

    I wrote a “beginner’s guide to twitter” for work – if you’d like a squiz let me know and I’ll ping you a copy over!!

  5. Wow, ladies, thank you – wonderful feedback! I did suspect I may have to take the twitter plunge and I appreciate all your thoughts. I’m still not completely sold on the idea, but I suppose it is just like any other social media – give it your all or just don’t bother! Once the jetlag is over and I have got back on the treadmill (metaphorical only, I don’t intend on running for anything for a while!) I shall look into it in a little more detail!

    Thank you all again, and I look forward to reading these comments once more when I feel less like a vegetable!

    Nxxx

  6. Hmm, finally got around to reading this post like you suggested. I’ll be thinking about becoming a Twit more seriously now (although being blonde, some would probably say it is a foregone conclusion 🙂 )

    • Heehee! I have to say Suzie, I am quite enjoying being a Twit – It has really opened up one or two avenues for me (mainly being sent proof copies of new books which is very exciting!). Still no closer to being published, but I am aware of so much more ‘stuff’ in that world now. Be glad to follow if you take the plunge!

      Hope you are well,

      Natalie x


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