Nobody'd ever call me a twitwit.  First, I'm not a dedicated tweeter because, of all the forms of social media - a couple of which I use 'cause they buy the babies the proverbial new shoes - tweeting well deserves more time than I can give it.

Second, I'm not convinced tweeting makes or breaks the careers of writers or bloggers in general.  It certainly provides a fun place for fans and fellow industry peeps to interact and share information. I enjoy the small amount of time I spend on Twitter; I seek out articles and book news posted by my tweeps, and appreciate when they do the same w/mine. But while the Twitter phenomenon has often proven to be an extraordinarily useful tool to connect individuals worldwide, evidence that tweeting consistently builds significant site traffic, for example, or tangible financial gain for tweeters isn't yet overwhelming.  Case in point: Twitter hasn't figured out how to make money on its success.   

Yet in the online romance community - and publishing community in general -- tons of folks love to tweet: authors, bloggers, readers and industry folks.  Romance publishers, for example, have strong presences, and tweet to readers about books and writers, or disseminate info to authors about guidelines for publication or hold editor "chats."

For some, Twitter's a bit voyeuristic, a chance to see what's doing in others' lives without their knowing, or our having actually to get involved.  For others, Twitter's about prestige, and the hiptwits are the folks with followers in the thousands, yet who've only the need to follow a couple score.  You know, because they don't need to know what's going on in your life.

Aspiring romance author and popular twitwit KeriStevens says that may be short sighted.  The always humorous and thoughtful Stevens - who's followed by 1,051 tweeps, yet follows 1,988 - believes that by following as many connected romance industry editors, agents, bloggers, readers, etc., as possible, one gets the widest view of what's current in the industry, as well as allows the yet-to-be-pubbed author to connect with fellow writers and potential friend/fan bases.

I tend to agree with Stevens' wisdom and Web 2.O generosity-infused outlook. One can spend tweet time ogling craptastic train wrecks, or, instead, have fun meeting folks who love the genre one digs and whom potentially might teach one a thing or two about craft - or buy your novel when it's published.

 

Part of the novelty of  Twitter might be the brevity of the 140-character tweet.  Get paid to write headlines long enough, and jamming thoughts into 140 characters loses its appeal.  So that may be why Twitter's not "all that" for me. But then again, 140-characters worth of what I have to say about anything go a long way and, probably, just far enough.


How valuable is Twitter to you as a career tool? What do you like about Twitter and your tweeps? What drives you nuts about Twitter?


You can follow Michelle on Twitter at Michelle_RBTB
Michelle Buonfiglio writes regularly about romance fiction at BN.com's Heart to Heart blog and RomanceBuytheBook.com. Click here for more of her UB romance fiction columns.

Comments
by Author PortiaDaCosta on ‎11-24-2009 05:25 PM

I love Twitter! I don't particularly use it as a career tool. For me it's just a place to hang out with friends and natter, really. I do pick up useful information, but that's not primarily why I tweet.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-24-2009 05:42 PM

Keri is the undisputed (indisputed?) Queen of the Tweets.

by RoroRM on ‎11-24-2009 06:40 PM

Everything about Twitter drives me nuts, only because I don't get it. I don't know if there's anything to get, but I just don't get it. Keri promised to teach me and she's a wonderful instructor. It was actually from her that I learned the few things I do know--I freely admit, it's me. 

 

Okay, how about...It makes me feel like I'm trying to break into a clique of the popular cute blond chicks when I'm the dark goth girl with nose piercings. I feel like I need to know all about proper twitiquette before making any attempt to make it useful. And since it's so stressful for me, I avoid it. 

 

I know, lame.

Rosie

 

 

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-24-2009 07:46 PM

I drive my son crazy by posting B&N updates in periodic blitzes. It does bring a lot of new people to this board.

by KathyFL on ‎11-24-2009 09:52 PM

I check into my Twitter page sporadically but with everyone RT@ its hard to figure out who originally made the comment and if the person doing the RTing makes a comment, where is it?  Before or after the RT?  I've seen the 140 characters taken up with RT@ so-and-so's and most of those being RTed I don't follow and have no clue what is being discussed.  Its like coming into the middle of a conversation and only getting one side. 

by JulianneMacLean75 on ‎11-25-2009 08:05 AM

Hi Michelle - I am trying to get my head into Twitter, but like KathyFL said, I find it difficult to know who's talking to who, and it can be frustrating.  I often like I'm on the outside looking in at everyone else having a party.  I'm sticking with it to see if I will eventually clue in to it, but I've been on there for a couple of months now, and it's not sinking in.  Maybe I just don't have that technological wiring in my head.  (When I first started, I thought the RT meant "Read This."  It took me weeks to figure out that it meant retweet.  Such a duh.)

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎11-25-2009 10:08 AM

I'm afraid my wings aren't fly worthy yet. I've yet to attempt to tweet, don't have a twitter account and don't know when that will happen. I know it will, it's just a question of when.

Deb

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-25-2009 10:36 AM

KathyFL and Julianne, I'm laughing because I thought RT meant "Romantic Times," as in the magazine, and I was, like, "shoot, great branding!"  I found Twitter pretty confusing at first, too. A little like those message/chat boards that layer responses to comments over other people's responses in boxes, one on top of the other.  I never could figure out at first the thread, or where the convo's going.  Among the romance tweeps I see -- and I'm only on once or twice a day to post things -- I enjoy reading funny comments and quotes or good news about someone's book release, manuscript being bought or maybe a writing milestone being hit.  Those are the fun things to me about Twitter. 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-25-2009 10:37 AM

becke, if KeriStevens is the Queen of Tweets, you are the Queen of Quotweets.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-25-2009 10:40 AM

Deb, I think your attitude is good.  Never say never w/social media. one author I know said she was not going to do Twitter becasue she had to draw the line somewhere. Now her tweets are fun to look forward to, and she's pretty into it.  There's probably something for everyone on Twitter, but like any social media online, it's a good idea to check out whom you want to hang w/ so you're not surprised by the chatter and commentary you're going to be part of.  There's a lot of good stuff out there.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-25-2009 10:48 AM

RoRoM, I believe wholeheartedly you ain't the only one who's feeling the Goth Girl vibe w/ Twitter.  Part of the success of any soc media endeavor is how well it makes us feel we're part of an exclusive group.  We just have to search out the groups we're most comfortable w/.  It's not like some are right and some wrong, it's just that so many are different, we're happier when we take time to find the communities right for us. That said, it's harder to navigate through stuff we don't want on Twitter because it's pretty boundary-less. You can see anybody's stuff if you dig, and they can see yours.  That can feel really creepy. Iknow I hate the idea of tapping into the personal stuff of others' lives, especially the misery.  And, of course, while Twitter can be used to gather large groups to disseminate useful info in real time, it also can be used to wreck stoopid havoc karma, which feels bad to lots of folks. 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-25-2009 10:49 AM

Hiya, Portia!  Yes, I do see you tweeting what's going on for you, and I smile when I find out what you're working on -- or what new TV cop you've found to inspire you of late. :  )

by keristevens on ‎11-25-2009 08:50 PM

Omigosh, I have a comment box today (B&N & I have one of those passionate hate-you-love-you things going on; someday we'll be bonded forever).

 

Ro, the great thing about twitter is you get to choose your own clique. If you don't particularly care for the blond chick (you don't mean me, do you? Do you?) you can choose to follow (listen to) only Goth girls. You can create your own Goth Girliverse without apology or obligation.

 

I found using a secondary program (tweetdeck, free at tweetdeck.com) made twitter much more usable for me. I have six columns: Mentions (of me), Direct Messages (private conversations), Authors, Agents, Editors/Publisher and Book Marketing. Your columns can be whatever you want: Whale Lovers, Goth Girls, Celebs who Can't Dance--again, create your own universe.

 

As for stupid havoc karma, I have "unfollowed" (thereby no longer seeing the tweets from) people whom I feel are excessively negative. It's like being at the party where the slightly drunk guy starts ranting about politics--you just quietly slip away.  And in cases where the drunk guy starts slobbering down your cleavage (when tweeple get downright nasty and rude) you block them.Twitter handles this quietly and privately: They won't get any e-mail saying "@keristevens blocked you because you scare the pee out of her."

 

I love twitter because I've identified what I want from it and because the people I follow (like the lovely Ms. DaCosta) are so generous about helping a gal out.  Don't know what RT means? It's okay on twitter to say, "Help--what is this?" and one or a dozen of your followers will send you an answer (which may, on occasion, even be the correct one).  For me it's a wonderful blend of work and play. 

 

If you want to tweet me, start your message with @keristevens and say hi. Next time I'm online, I'll greet you back. I'll click on your name to see your profile and ensure that you're not a "bot"--a fake robot twitter program--or trying to sell me snake oil. If you're a real human interested in reading and/or writing romance, I'll follow you.

 

But if you don't want to get into twitter for whatever reason, just smile and nod when you meet twitterevangelists like me IRL (In Real Life). We all had perfectly rich, functional lives before social networking, and when the battery dies on the laptop, we all can find other lovely things to do. Or so I hear, anyway.

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