It’s been about six weeks since I entered the world of Twitter. I thought it might be time for an update on how it’s been going.
I started off searching out everyone I could find who had anything to do with self or indie publishing. I was following about 70 people and had about 35 people following me. Then I got disillusioned by all the tweet, tweet, retweet, retweet stuff I was seeing. I had somehow gotten trapped into a circle of people tweeting themselves and each other’s work over and over and over again.
I dropped a whole bunch of people and then a whole bunch of people dropped me and that’s where things sat for a bit.
In the meantime I started following a ton of CBC reporters and radio shows that I like – soon my account was all news all the time. That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started Twitter. It had turned into a one way street – news tweets coming in and not much going out. I did manage a couple of tweets a day but it was mostly retweeting interesting quotes or tweeting about my latest blog post.
I did have an exciting time when I heard that George Stroumboulopoulos (@strombo), one of my favourite CBC TV personalities, was in an airport somewhere. I sent him a tweet that said, “If you’re bored you could follow me. I don’t tweet too often, I’m not selling anything, I’ve always loved CBC – just wondering.” About a minute later I saw via email that he was following me. He has over 319,000 followers and follows 9,900 people himself – so I was pretty pumped by that experience.
For a while after that I was nervous about everything I tweeted or retweeted – always asking myself if George would approve. Thankfully, I got over that.
Then there was the day I did a really stupid tweet – I won’t even bore you with all the details. Suffice to say, I wasn’t meaning to sound racist – I simply didn’t read the original tweet properly. It was before I understood how to decipher a string of hashtags quickly and effectively. I responded exactly opposite to what I would have wanted to say. By the end of the day there were a string of people wondering what was wrong with me. That slowed me down for a bit and I’ll probably never tweet to that site again.
But, I screwed my courage to the sticking post, as old Will the Bard would say, and got back on the horse that threw me. I began to find people to follow by entering hashtag prompts and seeing who came up – things like #amwriting, or #amselfpublishing, or my latest great find – #writingtip.
I’ve tweeted 204 times and have now built myself up to following 170 people with 84 people following me – this ratio of approximately two to one seems to be OK for now.
I’ve discovered how to screen who I follow by checking out the last few tweets they’ve done – if it’s all buy my book, buy my book, or buy this person’s book over and over, I’ll skip them.
The group of people I’m following now is an interesting and eclectic mix. I’ve started picking up WordPress bloggers who have an option on their blog to follow them via Twitter. Lots of good contacts have come to me in that way. I’m finding other people’s blogs to put a tweet out for and that’s great – my posts have been tweeted a few times as well.
I try to tweet at least three times a day. I’ll often tweet my most recent blog post twice because the medium is moving so fast, I think it can bear a repeat. I try to do some type of interesting update and maybe retweet a good quote or two.
I’m only beginning to understand twitter etiquette, so I apologize if I’ve offended anyone. I read somewhere that I should acknowledge anyone who retweets me or favourites something I have tweeted – I’m still figuring out how to track all that information in a timely fashion. When I get that down, I might be able to be more polite.
So – all and all – a bit of a rocky start, a few hiccups along the way, but I really like the twitter world. It’s fast paced and interesting and I’ve found links to a ton of great articles and blogs on writing and self-publishing. Here’s just a taste of what I discovered – The Self-Publishing Tool Kit. Every time I see a tweet about a new article on this site, I pop over. The current article was on how to win with twitter – if you’re going to be self-promoting your own novel you’ll find these tips helpful.
Twitter is win/win my friends. If you’re not out there tweeting yet, don’t be afraid – it’s a forgiving world – maybe because it moves so fast. Anyway – I’ll tweet you later – OK?
Spring is coming!