Back to Twitter–Tweet, Tweet


My on again, off again relationship with Twitter is back on! A few posts ago, I wrote about reassessing my social media platform for book promotion. The discussion that followed this post was engaging and useful.

Peter Mallet commented: Twitter is very social. You won’t see value if you only tweet buy my book, or service. Instead, do those kinds of things rarely. Do have your link to your site in your profile but then try to be useful. It does come down to being social. These aren’t ad platforms, so if you’re social first you’ll find people being more interested in what you do. It’s harder, but it’s what works. It’s like speaking first (providing a service) and then having a book table at the back.

Check out Peter’s own post on this subject – Gaining Attention Without Losing Ground

I’m back at Twitter and actually enjoying it! Here’s how I’m currently making it work for me.

First, I seriously honed down the number of people I was following – probably by 100 or more and that process is ongoing. If it isn’t working, folks – change it up. I stopped following people for a number of reasons.

  • People who re-tweet other people over and over in a short time frame – say five minutes. (My impression is that they must have a reciprocal arrangement with these people. Maybe I’m the crazy one here, but – you tweet me and I’ll tweet you – defeats the purpose of being socially genuine.)
  • People who tweet or re-tweet things I find questionable. I’ve dropped most people who use foul language or mentions private body parts in their tweets. Really – is there a need for this? (But no hard and fast rules either – if it’s a funny use of profanity, there’s no reason to over-react, right?)
  • People who tweet about how many people they have unfollowed in a given time frame – who cares? (The argument here is that you must follow everyone who follows you or extreme circumstances will befall you – crap to that.)
  • People whose tweets are overflowing with mentions and hashtags – so blue, I can’t determine the purpose of the message.
  • People whom I have never seen tweet anything but – BUY MY BOOK or avail yourself of MY SERVICE – boring.

With those changes in place, I am enjoying my Twitter feed more and more. But I also needed to take a serious look at the way I was tweeting and change my own habits.

I still tweet out a link to my book on Amazon, or to let people know if I have a new review, or if I’m going to be appearing on a blog, or if something exciting happens to me in my self-publishing life. But that isn’t all I tweet (and, by the way, it never was!)

I’m now working hard to be much more social. I pull off a brilliant one-liner in response to someone else’s tweet, re-tweet other people’s blogs or articles, tweet out some value-added information. Recently, I took three days to tweet my whole dirty dozen list of bad communication styles from my Saying What Matters Blog.

And some days, I just tweet for fun.

Here’s a link to a excellent post I found today on (you guessed it) Twitter – How not to annoy your Twitter followers. Belinda Pollard at Small Blue Dog Publishing has this subject nailed and if you follow the link to her site, you’ll discover this for yourself.

And another I discovered while participating in a great sharing event, Tidbit TuesdayTwitter Prose: The 411 on Crafting Good 140’s

It’s all about attitude. Social media platforms don’t sell books. Books sell books, one reader at a time. If you’re only on the social media bandwagon to sell stuff, you’re bound to be disillusioned pretty quickly. I love the way Peter Mallet says – be social first, but you can still have the book table in the background. That’s me – social foot forward, and if you’re interested . . . I did write this book . . .


We even get social here at the lake now and then Open-mouthed smile

18 comments on “Back to Twitter–Tweet, Tweet

  1. hope you didn’t drop me ow!!! ❤

  2. Hi Francis, thanks for quoting my blog post, I’m honoured. 🙂

    I find that I go through phases with Twitter. Sometimes I’m on it a lot, sometimes I just drop by from time to time. And sometimes I’m tweeting heaps of links to great articles I’ve found, while other times I’m just chatting with people about writing or publishing… or dogs, or aliens, etc etc.

    I fully agree with you that it should be enjoyable! We get so much pressure to do all the social media, but I think it’s much better to find the platforms that work for us as individuals and for our books, and which we enjoy. Have fun on Twitter!

    • You are very welcome, Belinda. I’m not surprised anymore when someone else is writing about the very things I’m thinking about around about the same time. Happens too often. So, I’m glad to link up. I hope to keep on having fun with Twitter and making this whole experience enjoyable – for myself and others.

  3. […] view of the lake, scroll down to the bottom of today’s post from my wife’s blog  – Disappearing in Plain Sight.  (The motor boat is not […]

  4. If I ever jump on the Twitter bandwagon, I’ll certainly use your post as a reference guide, Francis. You make some excellent points on the dos and don’ts.

    When I started my blog, I set up a Twitter account, but I don’t Tweet. I can certainly see the benefits for a published writer, but honestly, I can’t handle another distraction that takes away from my writing time. Beautiful photo!

    • The writing has to come first and therein lies a bit of the danger of social media – a quick check can have you looking at the clock a few hours later wondering where on earth the time went. Definitely a two prong approach is necessary – make it enjoyable – yes by all means – but discipline oneself as well.

  5. Gwen Stephens says:

    I’m glad you followed up your last social media post with this one, even though I still count myself among those who are mystified by the value of Twitter. Like you, I do not subscribe to the notion of following someone because they followed me. I’ve made that mistake, and it only leads to a feed cluttered with the annoyances you mentioned above. I suppose I’ll discover Twitter’s usefulness eventually, but in the meantime, I’m continuing to learn from those who’ve gone before me. Thanks for another educational, thought-worthy post.

  6. dana mentink says:

    Good blog post. I am puzzled by those “this many people followed me and this many unfollowed” tweets, too. What is the purpose of that? Also, it’s a turn off when someone posts a half dozen promo tweets all at once. Oy! Once in a while I can take, but so many in a row isn’t very pleasant.

    • Thanks, Dana. Sometimes I get the distinct impression that people have scheduled a series of tweets and gone off to do whatever else it is they do and that is that as far as their Twitter engagement goes. Basically, free advertising on a one-way street. More and more, I am learning that social media must be a back and forth dialogue – be it as short as 140 characters or as long as a 500-800 word blog post.

  7. Thanks for mentioning my ramblings on the subject. I still reading and learning every day, so I also appreciated the additonal links.

    • My favourite part of this whole linked-up world of social media is the opportunity to connect various bits of information, ideas, people. Many moons ago, I organized and ran a resource library for teachers. Putting the right resource in a person’s hands was very rewarding. Do you find that you just keep doing the same sort of things using new methods? The more things change, the more they stay the same and all of that.

  8. This comes at a great time for me, since I just released a small story collection and have been struggling with ways to (tastefully) promote it. I’ve noticed, vis-a-vis my blog, that very few page views come via Twitter anyway, so to saturate it with pitches to buy my stuff seems fruitless. Might as well be a mensch there and hope that goodwill relationships develop from it. Thanks, Francis!

    • Your welcome, Kevin. This promo gig – its a tough one, for sure. I struggle between being cyber-polite and unnoticed. But any way you look at things, tasteful has got to be good.

  9. Francis, do you use Twitter lists? I discovered them only recently, and using them has helped me enjoy Twitter even more. When I follow someone, I add them to a list that I’ve created. For example, my lists include Writers, Quality Tweets, Blog Friends, Technology, Books, Photography, Words and Grammar, and more. I can then click on the list that I want to read through and not have to swim through the Twitter stream. Since I use Twitter mainly for research, having everything categorized saves me a lot of time.

    • Great suggestion, Darla. I haven’t tried Twitter lists yet but I’m planning to now. It will obviously take a bit of backtrack organizing, but it sounds like once that is accomplished lists will be very helpful.

  10. Great post Francis! Thank you for sharing the links too. Very helpful!

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