March 10, 2015

5 Reasons Why Twitter Is not Evil and 5 Tips for Making the Best Out of It


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:
  1. it seemed the most book-blogger friendly;
  2. it also seemed the right place for someone who didn't have many friends to begin with;
  3. 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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  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 ;).
So far, I still haven't experienced any of the Twitter downsides. I surrounded myself with people who have a positive attitude, and most of them are blog pals. I promised myself not to get involved in debates or fights or such. Of course, anything might happen nevertheless. But the point is, I set up my account with the aim of expanding my audience and connecting with authors and - most of all - spreading the word about awesome, or at least good, books. I hope it'll work.
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 :).

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  1. 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.
  2. 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"...
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
While I'm here, I want to recommend you another post about recently joining Twitter and its Pros & Cons, by Tessa, the mastermind behind Crazy for YA. Also, anyone's thoughts & tips about Twitter are more than welcome!

8 comments:

  1. I'm also a !!!!! abuser lol (had to add that)

    I'm glad it isn't as awful as you expected.

    I've tried diversifying who I follow recently. That way you're less likely to get caught up in these negative feeding frenzies that happen on occasion. It seems like that's all anyone is talking about but it's really just your little reader corner of the world.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. !!!!! are mandatory in my world! Well, sometimes :). Not to mention smilies!

      Wise words, and so well-articulated.

      Delete
  2. I am very proud of you! I go through Twitter phases, where I spend a lot of time on Twitter or hardly any at all... right now I'm not on Twitter a lot, but as we gear up for April's 24 Hour Readathon, you'll definitely see more of me.

    Great pieces of advice! I almost died of happiness the first time an author tweeted a reply or re-tweeted one of my tweets. I still get ridiculously happy about it. I have to really hand it to the authors who are social media active, it can't be easy and it has to be hard to put yourself out there. YA authors, in particular, seem to be very interactive. Liking an author just adds to the pleasure of reading their book!

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    1. I noticed that authors are indeed very responsive, whether it's by saying thank you or following you or adding your tweets to "Favorites". Other celebrities, not so much. And pretty much every time I use the Supernatural hashtag, someone adds my thoughts on the show to their "Favorites" as well, but no one ever replies LOL.
      Happy readathon!

      Delete
  3. I agree with you on pretty much all of this! I was a devoted FB user since its inception (you know, back when you had to attend an actual university to be allowed on the site? Yes, I know, I am aging myself!), but like you said, it felt.... isolating. Which was weird, because there were all these people, but no one cared in the least about anyone else. It was a big "look at me!" show. Twitter is SO different, especially Bookish Twitter. Everyone is awesome. If you tweet someone, they'll likely tweet you back. There is ALWAYS someone around to talk to. (Can't sleep in the US? Great, your Australian friends are awake!)

    I'm glad you've joined (and you are very right, you pretty much HAVE to have a social media presence at this point!), look forward to seeing you around :)

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. LOL, don't worry about aging yourself. I'm not a spring chicken either ;).

      Glad I'm not the only one who felt uneasy (to say the least) on FB. Your "big 'look at me!' show" comment sums it up perfectly.

      And you'll see me around - I'm a new follower :). Not just because I'm taking part in your latest giveaway.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  4. I see I'm not the only one with a sort of vendetta against Facebook, lol. Twitter is just so much more fun - plus the aspect of writing in 140 characters or less? You have to be pretty creative to get your message across, especially if you're like me and prefer to write every single word out (aside from the occasional lol).

    I haven't been on Twitter for awhile since Twitter doesn't work on Kindle (the regular version with an experiment browser) but I have gotten a new tablet and try to lurk around Twitter more often than I have been. Sadly most of the people I usually speak to are all online around the time I'm asleep or at school.

    Of course, it's probably harder to find me since I decided to merge my gaming account and personal account into one account instead of making three completely different accounts. It would be a bit difficult to keep up with all those passwords. ^_^

    See you around the Tweetysphere! ;)

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

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    1. I was a little scared of the 140 character limit, and I do have to admit it's frustrating at times - but like you said, it stimulates creativity. I don't like to write things like tnx or U or the likes myself...but I LOL a lot! ;) *adds Sophia to her list of LOL users*

      Merging accounts makes sense - it's difficult enough to manage one!

      Though I'm in Italy, I noticed that it's quite easy for me to have nice conversations with my American friends, since most of them seem to tweet in the morning, while I'm often online in the afternoon, so the 6-or-so hour gap doesn't make a difference. But you can find me tweeting (or lurking) in the evening too, so maybe we can hook up sometimes, if you're online in the afternoon :).

      Delete

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