Ah Twitter. Nowhere is the Reluctant Author more reluctant than on Twitter. We know this because during the course of many a social media session, we've watched an author’s eyes become glassy as we explain Twitter until they just go 'OMG IDK BRB, ROTFL. KTHXBAI!' as their brain shuts down from sheer overload and the deluge of foreign terminology. As you might have gleaned from those strange phrases above, Twitter can be like learning not just a new tool but a new language. And while that may be helpful if you’re trying to spy on your teenager’s text messages, the whole thing can be confounding for beginners. Because of the seeming inanity of much of what goes on on Twitter, it can be easy to dismiss it as so much noise. But Twitter is an amazing place. People organize whole revolutions there! Jennifer Egan (the only author who could ever pull off a chapter written in Power Point) wrote a novel just for the medium! Adorable tech nerdy poetry lovers use it to generate love poems!
It’s true that there is a lot of clutter on Twitter, but there also are fascinating conversations going on there, and it can give you the opportunity to interact with a much wider spectrum of potential readers than you would anywhere else.
Think of Twitter as a cocktail party with a whole bunch of people you’ve never met, you wouldn’t walk in and start yelling at people at the top of your lungs to buy yourbook would you? (or maybe you would! If so, you are not invited to any of our cocktail parties until you think of something more entertaining to yell about). Your goal on Twitter is not to have it be a one-way bullhorn where you broadcast every thing you ate that day (people have this covered, don’t worry) but rather to engage in an intelligent conversation during which you gain the interest of a band of merry followers.
More than any other social media tool, Twitter can turn into an outrageous time suck if not used properly, so we suggest dipping your toe into the water slowly. With that in mind, we are going to give you only two-steps for this week.
Open an account here: http://www.twitter.com
- Add a picture of yourself as your avatar. Your hair looks fine in that one, we promise.
- Choose something as close to your own name as possible for your handle and avoid dots and underscores for simplicity sake. @bubbles_7.McGee%$^ is very unique, but not recommended.
- You will need to create a bio in only, you guessed it, 140 characters. Make sure to include the (shortened) links to your blog, Amazon page etc.
Follow and observe:
- Who to follow? Start with some authors: @MargaretAtwood, @colsonwhitehead, @AnneRiceAuthor, @jenniferweiner, and @megcabot all have excellent Twitter presences.
- Look for conversations you might be interested in by searching hashtags; threads on Twitter denoted by the ‘#’ symbol. Try: #amwriting #publishing
When you’re done, give us a shout out! @GirlFridayProd