To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

That is the question:
Whether tis better to embrace Twitter
And all it has to offer or to remain in blissful ignorance
And by opposing avoid it entirely?
To tweet or retweet; or give or get a favor.
To see your followers go up and down then up again.
Aye there’s the rub.

Chances are if you’re an author, you have a Twitter account, which you are using to follow other writers, agents and publishers and post your own news and comments. You probably have quite a few followers, too. Twitter followers seem to come and go like waves on the ocean–they rush in, they depart again.

Writers go social
From the moment I completed my first manuscript, I was advised to develop an author profile on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. Facebook was easy. I already had 300+ friends, so it wasn’t hard to create an author page and invite them to like the page. Twitter, on the other hand, took more effort. I had to learn the hashtag concept, figure out how to tweet, determine frequency and decide who or what to follow.

Although it’s been a year since I posted my first tweet and garnered my first follower, I have made a few observations:

  • It’s fast. Like a speeding bullet, life on Twitter happens much more rapidly than on other social media platforms. The minute I tweet, someone else is there to retweet, comment or favor.
  • It’s mostly impersonal. Unlike my 300 Facebook friends, the majority of whom I have met in person at one time or another, I think I know maybe five of my current Twitter followers. The rest are strangers who share a common interest in books and writing. Do we talk? Sure in about ten words or less.
  • It’s noisy. Scanning my Twitter feed is a lot like being in a roomful of people with everyone shouting at once. Who do I tune into? Who do I tune out? What important conversations do I miss while I’m trying to make up my mind? And how can I possibly be heard with all the noise going on around me?
  • It’s powerful. Over the last two weeks I participated in two Twitter events: #Pit2Pub (to pitch publishers) and #PitchMatch (to pitch agents). Each involved composing a compelling tweet describing my book and posting it during a certain time period. The first event garnered seven favors from publishers and generated one contract offer (so far). The second did not win me or the majority of the other participants any favors. But I came away with a new respect for Twitter as a tool that might, with the right amount of luck and timing, attract a legitimate agent, editor or publisher. Neither of these events were time consuming, and both allowed me a glimpse into what those on the receiving end of our pitches are seeing.

Recently, a writer friend sent me a list of 91 free Twitter tools and apps. Many of these are designed to provide users with a better idea of who to follow. Clearly, there are a lot of eyes on Twitter.

So should we tweet? I’d twitter a guess we should.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Click To Tweet

2 thoughts on “To Tweet or Not to Tweet?”

  1. Since November I have been growing my twitter following. I broke down and bought a book on it (It was free through kindle unlimited). Everything made a lot of sense to me. It helped me get past the twitter limit of 5000 and now I am steadily growing my followers. And, I learned ways to get followers who are not just agents, editors and writers. Although I have alot of those too. But, when they retweet to their followers I may gain some of their following…. It is definitely a learning process and when I reach 100,000 followers I hope to be able to determine whether or not it’s worth it 🙂 I have learned to engage in 140 characters or less and I find it a lot of fun now 🙂 and enjoy meeting new people on twitter. I spend about 2 hours a day on social media mostly Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest and once in awhile Google and Tumblr. Tumblr is now my new dilemma 🙂

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