The Twitter Twit

I’m a twit when it comes to Twitter.

I set up an account a couple of months back, based on advice and suggestions from Kristen Lamb in her blog, based on her book, We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.

She advocates writers need to build a platform to publication using the social media tools available to us in this technologically advanced age.

This makes sense to me. Editors and agents are busy people. The less work they have to do to sell our books, the happier they are. A solid, well-supported platform does the work for them, particularly in these tough economic times. Budgets are small to non-existent for marketing brand-new authors. Having a following is going to go a long way towards getting a book deal.

So…Facebook. Blogs. Twitter.

Once upon a time, I was morally opposed to Facebook. I was not a 20-something college student with time to kill. I’m a 40-something productive member of society. Hey! I pay my taxes!

Why in the world did I need to join some social networking site? I was doing just fine on my own, thank you very much.

Then I found myself going through a divorce. The need to re-connect with people, even those I hadn’t seen in over 20 years, became important. My brother set up my account and I was off to the races.

I’ve been on Facebook for a few years now. I love how I’ve been able to re-connect with so many people, old friends and family included, creating a network I never knew was possible.

I began blogging several months ago, as a writing exercise and a way to connect. I’m becoming part of a community that supports and encourages the other members. Most of the blogs I follow are written by other writers and they understand the stress and joys that are an integral part of putting fingers to keyboard to create.

Twitter?

I don’t understand it.

I have no clue where to start on becoming an active member of the Twitter world.

I know I’m supposed to tweet and re-tweet. I’m supposed to follow lots of people and hopefully, people will follow me. I can see how it could be a key component in a platform if enough people are following.

My blog is linked to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Three days a week, I’m guaranteed to tweet. The rest of the time? I feel like a twit.

Here’s an example:

Hashtags confuse the bejeezus out of me (even though I have a list of writing-related tags). Where do hashtags lead?

I clicked on a #WW hashtag today (this one isn’t on my list). Under “People”, it brought up Weight Watchers, MonsterWW, and Westwood fans, to name a few. None of those were what I was hoping to find. The tweets all appeared to pertain to writing, so I get that connection. But I still don’t know what #WW means. What am I supposed to do after I click on a hashtag?

There’s only so much time in the day between writing, the day job, and other necessary things, like sleep. Tweets are posted in rapid-fire succession. Checking in the morning and again in the afternoon reveals a whole slew of updates, most of which were posted within five minutes before I logged in.

How do I keep up with all the tweets from those I follow? Was I supposed to set it up so I get an email every time someone tweets? If I did that, my inbox would explode. Literally.

Ms. Lamb is running a Twitter series on her blog (Tuesdays). Yesterday’s post discussed the Twitter Hermit.

I felt like she was talking to me. I lurk and I don’t like lurking. Lurking leads to stalking which leads to, well, bad things. And I’m a good person. 🙂

I also read a post yesterday by Donna Newton that discussed the popularity of Facebook vs. Twitter. One of the comments brought me a tiny, brief, gasping moment of clarity…”Facebook connects us to the people we once knew. Twitter connects us to the people we know now.”

But I don’t know that many people now.

I keep hoping for some magical revelation to smack me upside the head, where I wake up suddenly knowing all there is to know about navigating Twitter.

Maybe if I opened and read Ms. Lamb’s book, conveniently downloaded and stored on the virtual bookshelf on my iPad, I’d learn something and stop feeling like a twit about Twitter.

Are you on Twitter? Have you found it useful? Got any pointers?

Oh, and if you’re on Twitter, you can find me @HilaryClark13. 🙂

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