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.