I (Phil, not Zoe) often feel like a social media dimwit, at least when it comes to networking for writing purposes. This is especially true for Twitter. Every time I log onto the site, I look at all these blasts of text people put out there, and I just…don’t…get it.
“I’m eating toast with mayonnaise for dinner today!”
“Religion saves, but coffee gets me up in the morning.”
“I’m excited to read this new book I’m looking at.”
“OMG, my lipstick is the SAME color red as the shirt I’m wearing!”
“I have TEN fingers…on EACH hand!”
I mean, seriously, what in the hell am I reading here? Determined to crack the code/WTF-ery[i] of Twitter, I consulted fellow aspiring writer, Zoe Harrington, for Twitter tips/insight. She’s young and hip, so I figured she must know what it’s all about. Her response was great, actually, to the point where I thought I’d share her expertise with you all.
First, you can read more Zoe insight on her blog, Apprentice of Words.
Zoe’s Twitter Tips
- Don’t feel you have to follow[ii] everyone back, even if they’re a fellow writer. Instead, click on their profile and see what sort of things they tweet about. For example, do they only tweet links to their latest book? Do they post about things that aren’t useful or interesting to you? Do they re-tweet everything that comes their way? It’s all about optimizing your feed to get the most out of Twitter.
- Reply to other writer’s tweets, or send someone a tweet to let them know you enjoy their blog, their novel, the photos of their cat, etc. There’s a real sense of satisfaction when you’re successfully communicating with people on Twitter. Especially with other writers. Not all conversations will work out, but you’ll click really well with some people. Those are the people who will happily re-tweet your promotions, give you shout-outs, or just be there for you when you need them. Helping these same people with their own things is a great way to encourage them to do the same for you.
- Tweet about writing AND normal things[iii]. People want to talk to or follow other people who seem like genuine human beings—not people who copy and paste Amazon links all day. Eventually, you’ll get people who like similar stuff saying hi.
- Whatever you do, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get replies, re-tweets, etc. Twitter can be really lonely at times[iv].
- Use certain hash tags to maximize your reach, but don’t overdo it. It’s usually a good idea to pick two or three that are well-established, such as #amwriting.
- If you want, creating private lists for yourself is a good way of keeping updated with certain things. I have a list for friends from back home, a list of my writer friends and a list of editors/agents. This last one has allowed me to find their daily insight with little effort. To do this, you simply add people to the list and, when you click on it in the future, you see only the tweets of those whom you’ve selected for that list.
So there you have it. For some, this will be a rehash. For other, less Twitter-literate (twitterate?[v]) like me, this stuff is gold! A super big thanks to Zoe for sharing her insight and allowing me to share it with you.
Again, check her out at Apprentice of Words.
[ii] I did confirm that, by follow, she means clicking the ‘follow’ button on the person’s profile and NOT finding their address and hiding in their bushes and then shadowing them as they go to the grocery store. I found this clarification helpful.
[iii] …like toast with mayonnaise for dinner.