Writers, Are You New to Twitter? Ten Things I Wish I’d Known from the Beginning
Posted by monicamynk
In the last couple of years, I’ve been playing around with Twitter and Klout, trying to shift my online presence into something more marketable. In a lot of ways, I love it, connecting with people who I’d never meet otherwise, who share common interests. I bought a couple of books over the summer that I wouldn’t have read otherwise, and have been able to tell the authors in person how much I liked them.
Still, putting yourself out there for the world to see, especially when you’re trying to glorify God in the process, can be a terrifying venture. Like many, I had friends using it and created my account after a quick skim of the fine print. Here are some things I’ve learned since that I wish I’d have known.
- Sometimes the “people” who follow you are bots. Actually, I knew that going in because I’ve encountered them on this blog as well, but on Twitter, it’s harder to tell the difference sometimes. Web robots. Little software programs that do stuff on automation. So, if you try to interact with them, you won’t get very far. And there’s a good chance they’re promoting spam.
- It may not be in your best interest to follow celebrities. On the one hand, it might be fun to offer your support to your favorite actor or writer. I love Maggie Stiefvater’s tweets, for example. She’s very personable and human, and it makes me want to read every book she writes for the rest of her career. Another author, who I won’t name, was such an obnoxious jerk that I’ve completely sworn off his books. Disillusioned 😦
- Not everyone you follow will follow you back. It’s not personal. We all use Twitter for different reasons. I’m hoping to connect with authors. If you’re not an author or interested in reading my books, I might not want to connect through this venue, because that’s the purposed goal of my account.
- Don’t blindly follow people just because they follow you. It’s really okay if you don’t. Several times, I’ve caught tweets with book quotes that made me blush because I followed someone back that seemed “safe.” Investigate who they are before clicking to follow.
- You cannot edit tweets, but you can delete them. So watch really carefully for typos. Also, you can’t post the same tweet twice in a row. I didn’t want to–accidentally clicked again and it wouldn’t let me. So that’s a good thing, I guess.
- Use relevant hashtags (one or two) and short links. Sites like Bitly let you post the long link and convert it for free.
- You shouldn’t just jump in and follow 2000 people because you can. Be selective. Twitter has a limit on followers–it’s a ratio between the number of followers and people you follow after that, to prevent abuse. From that point, you’ll have to go back through your list and find people to unfollow so you can add the ones you really care about. Which is annoying. Really annoying.
- Make use of lists, especially for people who aren’t likely to follow you back. Take the big publishing companies, for example, and literary agents. Add them to a list, and then if they do follow you, follow them back. You can still keep easy track of their tweets without adding to your count.
- Tweet at peak user times. When I first started, I sent out tweets at 6:00 am. EST. No one ever favorited, commented, or retweeted. Duh…they were still asleep.
- It’s more interesting to follow the people who change up the content of their tweets. Don’t just post links to your blog ten times a day. And don’t use it as a place to complain about everything that goes wrong in your life. Add clever videos, links, and quotes every so often. In other words, make it about more than just you.
Hope that helps. Happy tweeting!