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Is Twitter really all that useful?
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 1:51 AM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55


I've been on Twitter (annabellerc), but have to ask, what is the blasted point of this site? You accumulate followers. But are these people really following you? How can someone who follows one thousand plus people really pay the blindest bit of attention to your tweets?
My personal experience of twitter is that it's like millions of individuals taking turns to run into a room and yell a sentence before running right out again.
An now with all those 'follow me and i'll follow you' discussion forums all over the net, how does having followers even earn you any credibility. Does it mean anything anymore?
Seriously what is the point of twitter? All insights greatly welcomed.

Annabelle
Author of A Life Lived Ridiculously
www.ocdridiculouslife.com

stephmcgee
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 3:35 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


I use Twitter to connect to people. Sure there are a lot of people whose tweets I follow that don't expect a conversation back. But I've gotten betas through twitter, encouragement, friends, etc. It's all in how you use it. I look at it like a giant chatroom. There are many many conversations going on, all of which are open. If someone you're following says something interesting, you tweet a response to them, they respond, and you've got a conversation, even if it's short-lived.

Some use it to simply push their books. Those are the people I run from as fast as I can.

There are scads of resources on Twitter for writers. (There's a discussion or two here in Book Country about the different hash tags and other uses of twitter.) Twitter is a great way of having real-time discussions on all things writing with many writers of varied backgrounds.
RebeccaStevenson
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 11:42 AM
Joined: 4/6/2011
Posts: 31


I find Twitter like being forced to attend a cocktail party full of strangers. After a few weeks the pressure to be witty and interesting gets the better of me, and I drop off for a while.

There are a few people I chat with off and on and exchange writing support with, a few people I follow because they are better cocktail party guests than I will ever be , and I've run across a lot of interesting blogs via Tweets. I follow a lot of agents, just to get a sense of what's going through their heads. There are a few interesting chats and hashtags (#queryfail being my particular favorite). It *is* really useful when you want to procrastinate.

I can't say I've figured out how to make any sort of real connection with people that way, though; it's bus-stop level conversation, unless I already know you in real life. As if the Pacific Ocean was a half inch deep. There are just too many people and too many simultaneous threads for my old-school brain to filter usefully -- at least, not without spending a ridiculous amount of time there.

RJBlain
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 6:14 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224


I follow almost 2k people, but I definitely don't read all of their tweets. I DO, however, keep a very close eye on certain people that I have great conversations with.

I have found some excellent writing partners on twitter. You get out of it what you put into it. I don't try to be witty, or try to gather followers, I just talk and respond to the tweets I do see and notice and hold conversations with people

That is how I ended up meeting Colleen, and eventually got to join the beta for this site.

It isn't about reading every tweet, it isn't about trying to be witty or fun, but it is trying to meet new friends that share your same interests.

I'm on there as @rebeccablain -- I often reply most frequently to mentions, but I will respond to people, or just tweet what I'm up to.
Annabelle R Charbit
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 2:57 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 55


RJ, you're most likely right that you get out of it what you put into it. But with so many sites out there to choose from and only 24 hours in a day (actually about 2 hours in a day for those of us who have newborn babies), it's hard to give one's all to all the sites. In the end it's important to be selective and Twitter hasnt sold itself to me, so featyres very low on my priotity list.

Steph, you say it's a chatroom with conversations going on. Again, if i gave it more time, i might experience that too. My experience has been the opposite. Everyone talking at once and no listening skill whatsoever. No dialogue. Just monologue.

I did give it a try at first, but just like Rebecca mentions, I too havent figured out how to make any real connections on Twitter. Plus with so much 'follow me and i'll follow you' nonsense going around all over the web, the site has devalued. It's currency is weak!

Annabelle
stephmcgee
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 3:32 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


I do not buy into the "follow me and I'll follow you" attitude. Most days I get a lot of random people following me because of some random thing I said. (You'll be amazed at how many people use twitter for that purpose.)

My suggestion for how to fit twitter in is to use Tweetdeck. It pops up in a little screen in the corner when someone tweets and you can organize it into columns that are important to you. This way, you can be working on your writing or on any number of other projects and still involved in teh conversations on Twitter. It took me a long time to get sold on Tweetdeck, but I use twitter more than Facebook now for connecting with other writers so it really works for me.
LisaMarie
Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2011 7:56 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 216


@stephmcgee

I get the "random thing I said" followers too.

Of course, this comes with its own mini-horror/humor stories. Someone retweeted a comment; I was bored and mouthed back to the original tweeter. Original tweeter requests a follow. Some guy. Whatever, okay. Turns out this is a lead singer in some .alt band I should have heard of and haven't because I'm unaware. Next thing I know, I have follow requests from head banger-lookin' dudes who I assume are looking on his "following" list.

Lovely ... and ... No. I mean, not that I'm a snob. But reading the tweets of a bunch of kids is not my cuppa.

Then there are the guys on Twitter looking to score. Which appear to be legion. Worse than Flakebook.
MB Mulhall
Posted: Friday, May 6, 2011 4:16 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 81


Twitter has been the #1 writing network builder I've used. One thing you might find helpful is to use a specific Twitter client. There are several out there. I prefer to use something called Hootsuite because I don't have to download anything (like with Tweetdeck) and can access my Twitter from any internet connected computer.

Here's the deal with Hootsuite. You can set up your followers into lists. I have home town friends, writing resources, authors, etc. I can then set up a specific column (feed) that will show me Tweets from only people in that specific list. It makes it easier to follow what certain people are saying.

You can also set up specific columns to follow hashtags. I have one devoted to the #amwriting hashtag.

By separating my followers, I'm able to see when more things are going on: questions, contests, chats. There are often writing related chats going on in the evening. #YAlitchat, #askagent, etc. They are SUPER interesting and helpful. You don't even have to ask any questions, you can just follow along (Again either by setting up a column for that specific hashtag or by using TweetChat).

I also use Twitter to get my blog posts out there. I blog twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays and I will post the link and a little blurb about it 4 or 5 times that day with the #amwriting tag. It brings in a lot of traffic and people will re-tweet me or put me in their daily writing news letter.

Also I will occasionally post a line from something I'm working on with the #amwriting hash tag. People will respond, show interest, come to follow me. It's all about building your fan base and platform.

Some of my favorite authors are also quite active and will frequently answer questions. I love when one responds to my Tweet. I feel special!

Seriously though, Twitter is definitely useful and a great networking tool. If you have the time to figure it out and post on a somewhat regular basis, you may find for yourself how handy it can be.
stephmcgee
Posted: Friday, May 6, 2011 5:43 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


Great tips, MB.

Lisa, that's why I use the "block" and "block and report spam" buttons liberally.
Sonia
Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 11:38 PM
Joined: 5/4/2011
Posts: 10


I like twitter for the weekly chats. storycraft, writerchat, scifichat, writersroad, scribechat, bookmarket. it's all pretty useful. i like following various publishers/agents/editors on twitter, too.
stephmcgee
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:53 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


I've posted a basic guide to Twitter for authors here in this section of the forums, too. I'd suggest looking through it if you're unsure of how to use twitter.
Krista D Ball
Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011 6:15 PM
Joined: 5/12/2011
Posts: 3


I do not use Twitter as a means to sell my books. Sure, I put links up whenever I think about it (usually once or twice a week), but mostly I use Twitter as a way to interact with folks I know, and with readers who enjoy my work.

That's why it's called social media and not sales media. Folks get that confused.

From a business standpoint, Twitter has done a lot for me. I've gotten a decent freelance writing gig and I got a manuscript request (that became a book deal). But, I use Twitter to socialize with my friends and my fans. I find that it works our better for everyone that way.
 

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