For all the twittering twits out there, I have to talk about Twitter. For the purpose of this post, I’m going on the rank assumption that everyone knows about Twitter. If you don’t, go to Twitter and sign up for a free account, start following some people, make a few random posts, watch your e-mail explode!
My problem wasn’t that I didn’t know about Twitter, everyone knows about Twitter. The whole point of social networking as a writer is to make these online services work for me. So the first thing I want to do is find other writers and tweets that pertain to writing. I was very fortunate in that an article in the Writers’ Group of the Triad (WGOT) newsletter recently talked about using Twitter. Kristen Eckstein of Imagine Studios did a great article entitled “What’s Up with Twitter?” I can’t replicate her article here, but I can tell some of the Twitter links that Kristen recommended that I think would be valuable to you. There are also others on this list that I found on my own.
If you’re new to Twitter and need a starting point, try following these people:
@bookgal (@bookgal is prolific, so be forewarned. However, you’ll find her tweets well worth reading.)
@kathowls (to follow “The Rose and Thorn” e-zine and author, Kathryn Magendie)
Should you follow literary agents on Twitter? That’s up to you, but I certainly do. Following literary agents on Twitter will give you an idea of what the agent is like professionally and personally. It’s a good way to see if this is the kind of person with whom you might work well. It’s also an excellent way to keep up with the publishing business. (By the way, only follow literary agents on Twitter. Following them at home and work will result in restraining orders, which aren’t the preferred path to publication.)
Do you have to belong to Twitter? No. You can certainly skip Twitter if you don’t want to be bothered with tweets, just keep reading helluo librorum. I search the web for nuggets that might appeal to other writers, and some of these I find in Twitter. I always re-tweet (RT) the good links and you can follow those in my side-bar under Or Follow Me on Twitter. Really great links that I find on the web, I post in "lunch hour links for writers."
Of course, if you’re like me and you’re one of those weird, free-thinking people who want to make your own decisions as to what’s worth reading and what isn’t, then by all means I encourage you to start twitting as soon as possible.
So how do you know who to follow? Join Twitter and run a search for your topic, then start following people. If the tweets are too prolific, then you can simply “unfollow” the individual. Don’t block them unless it’s someone you never want to hear from again.
Is there spam on Twitter? Are there stars in the sky? You bet’cha! *wink* *wink*
You’re not required to follow everyone who follows you. Use Twitter to keep tabs on the publishing business, not as a popularity contest, and don’t be dismayed by the numbers game. Don’t even get sucked into the numbers game; otherwise, Twitter starts using you. Make online networking work for you to keep abreast of the publishing business.
One final caveat and I’ll leave you to discover Twitter on your own: be careful what you write there. I know, I know . . . we’re all grown-ups, but you will be absolutely amazed by what you see people post on Twitter. Remember, anyone, anywhere can follow you, and once it’s in writing, you can’t take it back. My general advice is: if you wouldn’t say it in a roomful of strangers, don’t post it on Twitter.
Now go forth and tweet, my beautiful twits! 😉
copyright 2009 Teresa Frohock