Friday, January 21, 2011

"Twitter"pated and "App"licated

by Tanya Parker Mills

Everyone's talking about Twitter today over on another list. Questions like: Is it worth it to get on? How do you get on? Should you "follow" or not follow and, if so, how best do you do it? And what about using TweetDeck? What's all that about?

I've been on Twitter for probably a year now and, to be honest, I just haven't gotten into it. I still don't understand "hash tags" and how to best insert myself into an ongoing tweet conversation, or even if I should. Now I realize I haven't given it the time and concentration necessary to get over my learning curve, but something about the whole thing makes me want to rebel. I'm a writer who wants to write novels, not 140-word witticisms that will attract followers. You may say, "Well, Tanya, don't you realize that if you gain a large following on Twitter, those same people will likely want to read your books?" Uh, no, I don't think so. My books are serious and tweets generally aren't (at least, not the ones that people enjoy reading). What happens when they buy my book and then find there's no happy, witty banter in it? I guess I'm being a curmudgeon about the whole thing.

Actually, I'm far too distracted these days. If it's not talk of Twitter, then it's this "Apple's about to download its 10 billionth App" announcement, promising $10,000 to the person who lucks out and actually downloads their 10 billionth app. So, what am I doing every couple of hours today? You got it! I'm checking my Apple page to see where the counter's at so I can download that free app I've been wanting for the last week at precisely the right moment. Hah! It's probably all a scam, anyway.

I long for the good old days of face to face time without gadgets, internet, and...oh, yes, blogging.

Go on, tell me I'm wrong.

10 comments:

  1. Tanya,

    There really is a place for twitter. My husband uses it in his job. He's a Public Information Officer for our fire department since retiring from the PD, and when there is an accident or a fire, and alike, he tweets it and his followers phones beeps and they get the message. All of the local reporters are his followers and they're able to get a jump on good stories and great pictures, if they are so inclinded to put shoe leather to pavement.

    I have a twitter account too, but rarely, if ever go to it. I'm usually behind my computer writing and I don't even pretend to be witty. Although I did tweet once in order to win a book. I won the book--I think. It never arrived.

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  2. Yeah- I can't get onto it either though I'm using facebook more often as I'm able to stay in touch with far flung friends (you know what that is like having lived in many different places yourself). David Osmond on his album "Road Less Traveled" has a song "Speak". The chorus says:
    Just speak - speak to me;
    Our messages are instantly
    More than a hundred-sixty letters can say
    Tell me why you and I
    Try to hide deep behind
    Charters when we could speak

    It's one of my favorite songs on his album (of which all are good).

    -Nicole White

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  3. I see your point. But it's also not really about the witticisms--although some people do tweet funny stuff.

    A lot of writing industry tweeters send along insightful links and information about the industry--I know I've learned a lot. Twitter chats are amazing to "listen in" on--you can have agents piping up answering any question any person asks, and the world can see the answers.

    And it is a great way to find readers--even without being funny. It's sad, but true but that if people don't know you exist, they can't know about your work.

    One great example of a fantastic Tweeter is Joanna Penn. She's a self-published author who tweets mostly writing-related (very helpful) tweets and is gearing up for a big novel launch. In 2 years, she's gained a huge following, and you can bet that when her book is released, it'll show it sales.

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  4. Amen to what Annette said. Joanna is fantastic, and she does it all from Australia. She must use something like Tweetdeck to manage the tweets to come out in our time zones here in the Western Hemisphere.

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  5. Okay, you are convincing me. I've shunned twitter because when I first investigated it I only unenlightening nonsense I couldn't eve laugh at. Who cares what somebody ate for breakfast? Or about any other mundane jobs? It appeared to me as a great waste of time.

    I acknowledge tweeting gets your name out there, though, and for a first-time book being self-published, I need all the selling help I just hope I can figure out how to use it.

    Thanks for the blog.

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  6. Okay, you are convincing me. I've shunned twitter because when I first investigated it I only unenlightening nonsense I couldn't eve laugh at. Who cares what somebody ate for breakfast? Or about any other mundane jobs? It appeared to me as a great waste of time.

    I acknowledge tweeting gets your name out there, though, and for a first-time book being self-published, I need all the selling help I just hope I can figure out how to use it.

    Thanks for the blog.

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  7. Debra, you're right. I can see how it can be an invaluable tool in those situations. And too bad you never got the book!

    Nicole, I'll have to check out that album. The song lyrics are intriguing.

    Annette and Marsha, I know you're both right. I "follow" some industry insiders and when I take the time to check up on them, I invariably learn something. I think my problem involves three things: 1) Having enough time in the day to regularly check Twitter or enter tweets myself...so much takes away from my writing time. 2) Knowing how best to stay abreast of the tweets I REALLY want to know about. It sounds like Tweetdeck might be the answer, but I wish Storymakers or the ANWA conference would provide a class in Twitter use for dummies like me. (I'll have to remember to put that on the feedback sheet this time around.) 3) My biggest problem is that I am NOT a multi-tasker. And Twitter seems to feed into the multi-tasking personality. In any case, I'll have to check this Joanna Penn out. Thanks for the tip.

    And Anna, thanks for your comments...twice! :)

    Annette, maybe you could do a series on your blog about using Twitter that would inform beginners like me, Anna, and Nicole of all the ins and outs...and include the ins and outs of Tweetdeck while you're at it.

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  8. Ok you all have convinced me to use my twitter account more. I mostly signed up for work since one of my employees is responsible for it and I'm responsible for her. But I could use it to my advantage.

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  9. I don't know. I think the gadgets and technology have enhanced our communication immensely, since it provides a way for us to be in contact with people we WOULD have lost contact with long ago.

    Then again, two teens texting each other three feet apart...

    Nah, that's just funny.

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  10. For me, it's a case of 'moderation in all things,' and I haven't reached a point where Twitter is on my things-to-do radar. I imagine I'll get there someday, but as of now, I'm too busy keeping my head above water in everything else!

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