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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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16 thoughts on “The Twitter Twit

  1. Open the book. I teach all about Twitter. You are going to laugh after you read my section on Twitter when you see you are making it too hard, LOL. It is a lot of fun. Make sure you follow me, and follow @PiperBayard, @GigiSalem, @JamiGold. These ladies will hook you up. They are writers and amazing ladies. sometimes we just need a guide to introduce us into the conversation ;).

    thanks for the shout-out.

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    • I knew it! I knew I was making it too hard! LOL! Your book is up next on my reading list, right after I finish The Fire in the Fiction. I need a break from books about writing and learning how to leverage social media will be invaluable when the day comes, off in the unknown (but I hope not distant) future, when I find an agent wanting to rep my book. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I do already follow you. I’ll make sure to add the other ladies to the list. Thanks!

      P.S. What the heck does #WW mean??? Writers Writing? Women Wondering? Wonder Woman? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • @gigisalem42

      can’t forget the 42! Otherwise it’s not me!

      so, Hilary… hashtags… basically a search string, which I think you’ve grasped… they help you find like-minded people whom you can follow. Really, I recomment Tweetdeck, because you can set it up to show several columns, separating diferent streams (don’t cross the streams! hehe *ahem*) or types of people. For example, in addition to being a writer, I am a full-time Duranie. With that in mind, while I have one column for writers, I have another for Durans (the members on Twitter and their official news feed) and another one for Duranies. Those aren’t the only columns I have, but you get the idea, yes?

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      • Gigi…thanks for the hashtag explanation and the Tweetdeck recommendation. I’ll check it out and not cross the streams. :). Watch out for the Sta-Puff marshmallow man!

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  2. Hey, Hilary. I’m on Twitter. I found you and sent you a DM (Direct Message.) When you find/get it, let me know by sending me one. Then we can chat Twitter-style. It really does get easier as you learn to navigate the ropes, er, branches.. =)

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    • I got your DM, replied, and then updated my post to include my Twitter, er, username? I figure, if my parents, who are in their 70s (and going strong) can learn how to use a Blackberry, I should be able to figure out Twitter. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, so I have no words of wisdom here. I suppose you could get more people reading your blog by “advertising” in the other media, but it’s all so confusing to me!

    Good luck navigating Twitter. It sounds like the other ladies that commented before me will get you going in the right direction ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I think the ladies will definitely be helpful! If you ever decide you have to have a Facebook or Twitter account, maybe I’ll be able to help you as payment for all the help I’m receiving from the wonder people in the blogging world!

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  4. Hilary, I was in exactly the same place last year. Twitter baffled the bejeezus out of me. Keep with it, talk to people and most important – have fun! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  5. ….Oh, and #WW for me is short for #WarriorWriter. People also use it as a shout out to other tweeters on a Wednesday – One of the ‘W’s’ stands for Wednesday……the second ‘W’ is something begining with a W but have no idea what) ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • Thanks for the explanation on #WW! I like “warrior writers”. Putting up this post helped me relax a little about Twitter, which should open me up to having fun with it! I look forward to tweeting with you!

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  6. This must be Twitter week! I just popped over because one of my fave people, Keli Gwyn, tweeted to show you some Twitter love! And it’s funny, but I ran a blog post yesterday and I’m running one tomorrow on Twitter basics.

    I think the biggest misconception is that we have to tweet exciting things on Twitter. We don’t. Many of my tweets are responses to others or a link I’d like to share. Twitter is a conversation, not a monologue. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • “Twitter is a conversation, not a monologue.”

      Thanks for the “lightbulb” moment I experienced with that sentence! I’ll check out your blog…always looking for great blogs to read and if you’re providing Twitter pointers, I’m in!

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  7. I was right were you are now. I knew nothing about Twitter. My husband had to twist my arm for me to get a facebook account, him and Savana basically had to knock me out and set up my Twitter account for me. The hashtags confused me to the point when I saw one I would run and hide. I tried using one once and my page exploded with millions of tweets from people I didn’t know.

    That was two months ago. Like I said yesterday I often reply to myself when I mean to reply to someone’s tweet, but those instances are happening less with each passing day.

    So, there is hope! Glad to see you on there. It’s a great place for support ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I agree it’s a great place for support. The responses to this blog post, both here and on Twitter, have been amazing! I found a whole bunch of people to follow and those following me doubled. I’m in a state of shock. LOL! The hashtag thing is still strange, though, and if I only click “retweet”, Twitter doesn’t let me add to it. But I’m gonna keep playing with it. I’m having a lot of fun with it today!

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