Saturday, March 19, 2011

What I learned about Twitter (and myself) this week

Everything I read about the traditional publishing world says I need to create my own platform while I write my novel.  The top two tips out there are 1).  Blog every day and 2).  Get on Twitter.  The blogging every day I've started.  (Please ignore the fact that this is my first post in how many months?)  The Twitter account I didn't understand at all until this week.
The surprising thing about my resistance to Twitter is that normally I'm very open to change.  Especially at work, I've always been given very high marks for my willingness to be open to change and embrace change.  Now I know my resistance to Twitter has been my misunderstanding of it. 
I recognized immediately the impact that Facebook has on an aspiring writer's platform.  That's very similar to how I started in Tupperware.  You have a party with your friends who have your first parties and you get your party chains started from there.  I figured I'd start promoting my writing and my novel through family and friends on Facebook and they would help me.  (And I know they are keeping up because I have cousins who are passing along that I am writing a novel.)  That concept I understand very well.
I have even seen posts from Facebook listing the "best tweets for writers."  What I didn't understand, was how in the world was I to learn about my craft from short messages of two hundred forty characters or less?  I also didn't understand the impact of followers on my Twitter account.
 So after reading last week, once again, that I needed to be on Twitter, I created my account last Tuesday, and what a week it has been.  Here are my top revelations about Twitter this week.
My first revelation is that I actually like it a bit better than Facebook.  I see it as a business tool rather than social networking.  I love the fact that I can get just the information I want through the shorter tweets rather than sorting through the posts thrown up on Facebook.  It's also a bit easier for me to arrange my lists and get through the people I am following easier than it seemed to be on Facebook.  If am truly focused on finding tips for my writing or seeing what my writing friends are up to, I just pull up that list.  If I am relaxing or just wasting time, I pull up my Pop Culture list to see what the celebrities and TV shows are twittering about.  I also love how I can skim the news and follow links when I have the time or interest to look further.
My second revelation is the all the useful information for aspiring writers like myself out there.  And, by the way, I have figured out that one finds the information they might be looking for in all the links that are posted.  These links have been very interesting this week.  Now I can't wait for the "top tweets for writers" articles to be posted so I can go find those tweets if I haven't already read them.  It's also refreshing to know if I see @mentions posted or new tweets, they'll be more relevant than rushing to see a Facebook notification only to be let down that is yet another "gift" from a friend.
My third revelation is the power and excitement of followers!  My first tweets were Tuesday night during the GLEE episode.  I am totally addicted to GLEE and love to comment on Facebook about it.  It was even more fun to talk about it on Twitter and one of my first followers came from my GLEE tweets.  Since then, most of my followers are fellow writers.  It was fun on Follow Friday to find more writers to follow and learn from.  And I think Saturday is for  Shoutouts?  I haven't confirmed that yet, but I got two shout outs today and five additional followers! 
And finally, I think some of the celebrities are a bit more active on Twitter than they are on Facebook.  I do have to admit that social networking and social media has made me somewhat of a stalker.  I love to hear what's going on in their lives and have fun with them on Facebook.  But how else, except through tweeting, could I have told @BetteMidler she looked fabulous on the @todayshow on Friday?  And how else would I have let the @beekman1802boys know I missed them in Kansas City last week?
So I am on Twitter and loving every minute of it.  I'm on there more than Facebook now.  I finally listened to my fellow writers who have been telling me for about a year to get on Twitter and start reading and tweeting.  Alas, change is good and I am actively, tweeting and writing on.


  1. Love it Dean!! I love checking out your twitter and I am looking forward to the novel!! The blog also helps you because if you're cmmited to doing it everyday then you have a task that you have to accomplish!!

  2. Thank you for the comment and encouragement!

  3. Hey Dean (or should I say, Hi L.?)

    I fully understand your reluctance to roost upon the limbs of the Twitter tree.

    I too resisted Twittering for over a year after the publication of the first book in my Arthurian saga. Yet, like you, I was assured that if a novelist wants to sell books, he or she "has" to Tweet!

    I'm glad that I listened to the the advice. I've sold more books on Twitter than through any other social media site.

    I've also made some amazing contacts in "The Industry." Most importantly, since I've been on Twitter, I've discovered amazing new authors, many becoming close friends.

    I look forward to reading your first novel, "A Place to Call their Own" (loving the title).

    Looking forward to your future Tweets.
    Dee Marie
    Author of the "Sons of Avalon" saga

  4. Thanks, Dee Marie...and yes...the L is silent in casual conversation... :-)

  5. I kind of liked the idea of addressing you as L ~ rather James Bond-ish :}

  6. Hi Dean, you have made amazing progress this week (less than a week)! And have already gained excellent insights into Twitter's purpose for you and how to use it in your writing career.

    I hope the guidebook, (also messaged to you on Twitter), is helpful.

    All the best in your writing career.

  7. Thank you for the link, I'll definitely check that out!