Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Twitter?

As a writer, it seems as though one has to constantly juggle time for
family, writing, social networking, house work, and the list goes on. 
Time management is vital to the successful management of all of 
the above. I've heard so many writers say that they don't have time for 
twitter. "It's just one more thing to do and keep track of." 

I admit I was hesitant to join twitter at first. Who cares what kind of 
breakfast I'm eating. I thought.  Isn't twitter a bit egotistical? Despite
my reservations, due to the advice of an industry professional, I 
joined anyway. There was a larger time requirement in the beginning,
but once I had 150 followers, it became much easier. Now I'm up
to 400 followers, and although the number is by no means colossal,
I'm still happy with reaching that milestone. Having followers is a 
nice sense of accomplishment, but it means nothing if you don't 
engage your followers, if your just another boring icon on their 
following list. 

Twitter can be used for multiple purposes, the one I prefer is a 
means for those interested in what you have to say as a person
and author to get to you. It's a glimpse into your personality
and your passions, a way for others to see what's in your 
heart and imagination. I mentioned before that I had thought,
who wants to know what I had for breakfast? If your passionate
about what you had for breakfast, it's totally different. "Coffee...
eggs... to work..." is okay to tweet, but a bit boring. "Perfectly 
toasted, blueberry bagel bursting with blueberry goodness...
a perfect way to start the day," is much more enjoyable to read.
These types of tweets are fun from time to time, but I'd stay 
away from doing them too often. Tidbits are fun to know, but 
there is such a thing as information overload. I'm not interested
in a running commentary of some one's day, no matter how 
famous they are. 

Of course, we as writers do not twitter just to share fun tidbits,
but mainly to market ourselves, and if we are fortunate enough
to be published, our books. This too can be overdone. When
I choose whether or not to follow someone, the choice is more
difficult if when I look through their recent tweets it is all self
promotion. Having those personal tidbits intermingled with
the promotion tweets lends to the idea that he/she is a real
person and not just a marketing machine. 

There are some practical ways to manage your time on twitter.

  • Utilize lists. You can break down your followers into as many lists as you'd like. Currently I have two lists - Bloggers and Writers. It makes it so much easier to keep in touch with a certain demographic instead of searching through dozens of random tweets.
  • Have a time limit. I'm sure we've all been sucked into the time warp that is the Internet. Where did that two hours go? Have I done anything productive? Ah! My budgeted writing time is gone! I try to do 20 minutes a day. If you really need help disconnecting, set an alarm. 
  • Tweet at least once a day and I recommend no more that 10 - 15 times a day. Moderation is the key. If someone has 50 tweets for the last day, I'd rather not click the follow button. 

Why twitter? It's a great way to get yourself out there and contributes to the
much needed "platform" all writers must establish. If you're a writer and you 
haven't yet taken the plunge into the world that is twitter, I encourage you
to do so. Pace yourself, be fun, use common sense, and enjoy the ride! 


  1. Great post, Tanya! And great tips, too. Ironically, I posted earlier this week about Twitter and why it can be addicting. :) I'm definitely a fan, but agree that I have to set a time limit for myself or I'll get sucked in and never get out.

  2. Thanks, Sarah. With my hubby being on vacation this week, I
    haven't kept up with my usual blog reading. You so right,
    twitter can be addicting, but used wisely, it can be a great tool.
    Have a great weekend! :)

  3. Tweeting helps others get to know us. I enjoy getting to "know" fellow tweeps through Twitter. I care about the big and the small, but like you, TMI can send me on sensory overload. And the 50 a day tweeters? No thanks. Self-promotion is okay to a degree, but when it becomes non-stop self-absorption, I tend to "unfollow."

    Thanks for the info.!

  4. I agree, Cynthia. Twitter should be more
    relational than promotional, a tool for the
    "getting to know you." Just had that song
    from the musical King and I pop into my head.