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Tried Twitter yet?

November 21, 2011

Some scoff at it from afar. Others become obsessed by it. Others check in daily to see what their friends have posted. Others use it like a news aggregator.

Confused yet?

Not to worry. All you need to know, if you’ve never tweeted, is that Twitter offers you a very useful tool to get attention for your work.

To my mind, Twitter is a giant cocktail party that never stops. You hear snippets of all kinds of conversations (or monologues)—some smart, some funny, some political, and others just plain raunchy. You choose who to listen to by selecting the people you want to follow. And of course, you can join in, too. Just keep your comments to 140 characters or less.

I follow people who cover the publishing industry and so the main part of Twitter’s functionality for me is serving as a news source for my business and to help me figure out what book to read next. Plus I get a mild kick from following some celebrity tweeps (people who tweet) like Lily Allen and Martha Plimpton.

For authors (or others) who want to build an audience, Twitter can connect you with people who might care about your work. And here’s where the cocktail party analogy comes in handy. You wouldn’t go to a party with a megaphone and start shouting your name and book title and telling the crowd to go buy it. Similarly, it’s not a good idea to sign onto Twitter and immediately start blurting about your book.

The better approach: Join the Twitter party long before your book comes out and gradually build your network and following. (Celebrity authors get this, too. Mindy Kaling joined Twitter many months before her book came out.) Then follow people who interest you, share your links and ideas. Look for others who tweet about your interests. For example, you’ve written a book about global warming. Then search for users tweeting about that topic. Follow them. Talk to them.

There’s lots of great info on how to get started on Twitter. Here’s the official version from Twitter.  And here’s an excellent set of tutorials from Mashable, which covers digital culture and technologies.

In the end, Twitter may not be for you. And if not, that’s ok. Not all social media is right for everyone. But do give it a go before you turn your back on it. You might find that it’s just the right social network to reach your potential audience.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2011 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the insight regarding Twitter. I’ve recently signed up, but have yet to ‘dive in’. I’m looking forward to using this medium as a compliment to my networking and marketing efforts!


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