So, my darlings...as you may have noticed, three weeks ago (Feb. 17) I took the plunge and joined Twitter, creating the account @offbeatya. You probably all know I've always been extremely wary of social networks, for a ton of reasons. Anyway, they seem like a requirement for a self-respectable book blogger. Most publicists will never take your blog into account if you're not on Facebook or Twitter - even if it had a million followers (well, in that case, maybe, LOL. But even a couple of hundreds or three might probably mean nothing to them if you have no social media handle). So...I opted for Twitter, because:
- it seemed the most book-blogger friendly;
- it also seemed the right place for someone who didn't have many friends to begin with;
- I loathe Facebook with a passion ;P.
Yes, dear friends who have a FB account. No offence meant :). But I had a brief taste of it years ago, with a page in Italian, and bailed after a month or two. In my experience (and everyone's is different of course) there was zero interaction, zero feeling, zero interest in what other people had to say. It may be due to the fact that those who are not your friends will never read what you write, unless someone points it out to them. Or it may be due to the format, because you can write I-don't-know-how-long posts and pontify and feel like a philosopher who doesn't need to read what the rest of the world writes. Anyway, I felt so utterly alone on there.
Now, Twitter. In my extremely brief experience with it, I've already spotted 5 points in its favour - some of them unexpected...
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- If you're online at the right moment, you can have little fun conversations with your friends, that feel exactly like a chat would. For example, I often happen to "meet" Karen from For What It's Worth on there, and we happily chirp about some small stuff that's going on in our lives at the moment, plus LOL an awful lot (because Karen is the only person I know who uses "LOL" as much as I do. LOL). Which feels really nice.
- People are much more inclined to follow you on Twitter than on your blog/site. Which doesn't guarantee they will read you later on, but still - you want to build a potential audience, right?
- Author interaction. Do I have to say more? And if you mention one of them in a post, chances are she/he will even follow you. Which surprised me, because apparently, I'm so naive ;P.
- People you don't even know will unexpectedly retweet you and/or add one of your tweets to "Favorites" (of course, using an hashtag in your tweets is mandatory, because how would they find you if you didn't?). Which feels so validating, even if it's still small, trend-of-the-day popularity.
- If you don't follow 230.498.765 accounts, it's quite easy to get a picture of what's going on around you/interests you/might amuse you, because of the brevity a tweet requires. Which is like the Reader's Digest, but you can still take a deeper look into the matter(s) once you've closed your Twitter tab ;).
I only have one complaint...the 140-character rule. Being the talkative person that I am, I struggle with having to be so succinct. On the other hand, it's the right format for aphorisms and funny remarks. Or remarks that I hope are funny ;P.
Now, I'm probably not the best of sources for this, since I've been on Twitter only for three weeks, but after having a taste of it, I thought I'd share some things I noticed/discovered about the place. They could come handy if you're thinking of joining too, and of course, if some more experienced people feel like giving wiser/deeper advices, they're welcome :).
- Try not to fall into a following frenzy, or at least organize your favourite accounts into lists. You can't get updated about everyone's activities everyday, unless you spend the whole 24 hours catching up.
- Personalities aren't likely to tweet you back (or even read your tweets to them), even if they have only 4 or 5 hundred followers (sigh. I tried). Also, it's very difficult to impress them within the 140-character limit. Brace yourself for being ignored. On the other hand, writers are apparently more likely to pay you attention. At least those who don't have thousands of followers, that is. Chances are they'll thank you, or even follow you sometimes, if you mention them/their books in a tweet. Or they might add your tweet to their favourites, which is still a (quicker) way to say "thank you"...
- You're not on Twitter only to show up, are you? Remember to show some love to your friends, retweet their more meaningful/interesting toughts/links. Same goes for those perfect strangers whose tweets drop into your stream via someone you know. Sharing is caring.
- On the other hand, you don't want to clutter your followers' stream with dozen of retweets...or even tweets, for that matter. There's no law about having to tweet every day, multiple times a day, or whatever. You don't have to rack your brain in order to find something to say at any cost. Be natural. Be funny if you can, but again, don't try to hard.
- Last but not least...try to include an hashtag or two into your tweets (I'd suggest not to go further though...personally, I tend to skip hashtag-filled tweets. I don't even feel the need to know what they're about. Too much work - and anyway, they look so ugly). Hashtags will increase your chances to be found and read by alike minds outside your circle of friends.