Me and My Twitter

My name is Sarah, and I have a Twitter problem. 

I actually think Twitter is freaking awesome, and love it and love using it – to the point where sometimes I have to say to myself, “Step away from the Twitter.” It’s almost a default for me – email, Twitter, web.

I can think of a few dozen of examples of how Twitter has connected me to people and information I never would have known about if I hadn’t been signed on, and I haven’t been using it that long, either. I can remember when I first signed up and had NO IDEA what to do with it. The whole “What are you doing?” question gave me the chuckles: “I’m watching the market recap, and drinking an import!” Heh. What are YOU doing, Twitter?

Holy crapdamnhell, Twitter is doing a lot. I prefer Twitter to Facebook because while Facebook is an enclosure, Twitter is a platform. In Facebook, you communicate through Facebook. Facebook is the destination and the confinement: the conduits are all Facebook, and while you can link to other stuff, most of the time, you’re following links to other parts of Facebook. You don’t have to leave Facebook, either. It’s all in there – and they want you to stay put. You don’t need anything other than Facebook. Do not look away from the Facebook. Facebook is all you need. There is nothing other than Facebook.

Sorry, what was I saying?

With Twitter, the platform encourages you to leave and come back – if you want to. There are links to other sites to read, discussions about those links, and conversations that can get larger or smaller, or move off Twitter entirely. Twitter is the connection between people without the confinement of Facebook. Thus, I love it. I like the option of expansion and freedom. I get antsy at the idea of not having expandable memory slots, even if I don’t use them. Don’t fence me in. I get crabby.

This is not to say that Twitter is perfect. Sometimes the things I learn about or hear about on Twitter are so interesting, I can’t focus on what I actually have to do. It’s very, very easy for Twitter to make me feel overwhelmed. There’s so much to think about, as Courtney Milan said to me, I run out of time for the things I have to accomplish in my real life. So much information is broadcast on Twitter, I don’t have time for it all, and have to not only bookmark things for later but then remember to go back and read them. But so much of what I find is useful, and would have remained undiscovered otherwise. Actually, thanks to Twitter, I found out about the Firefox plugin Read It Later, as part of a discussion about what to do when there’s too much excellent information and not enough time in the day.

Chances are, though, I don’t use Twitter entirely correctly. I don’t auto follow. I will not follow more people than I can actually keep track of. I see Twitter users who are following 100, 200, a few hundred thousand people, and I cannot do that. There’s no way. I get confused when I follow too many people, and some of the folks I follow tweet once a week or only in the morning, so my follow list is a mix of low and high traffic Tweeters. I do read the Tweets from people who I don’t follow using the web interface at, but it’s the difference between reading a blog sporadically and subscribing to its feed. Sometimes prefer to catch up in digest form, rather than have my “Friends” column updating with 15+ tweets every 3 minutes. I can’t keep up with that many words at a time.

There are one-way tweetstreams that I adore – there’s one for NJ Family magazine that posts about activities all over New Jersey for different aged children. On a Saturday morning, that tweetstream is a goddam goldmine. There’s another that Colleen Lindsay just introduced me to, Blazed and Confused, which tweets line from Harlequin Blazes, and the hilarious quotient is muy muy grande.

I’m kind of fascinated by how people use Twitter, and the ways in which my use of Twitter is so different from other people’s. Personally, Twitter is a tool for me to communicate as much as it is a tool for me to learn from others. I need to be able to listen and I need to be able to talk and respond. Twitter needs to be useful for me as a channel of information and conduit for connection, and if I follow too many people, I can’t keep track. It becomes a blur of information, and I don’t get much of anything out of it because it’s so much I block it all out. Twitter is incredibly powerful for me, but not if it’s a blur of chatter that I have to force myself to mine for significance.

I love Kirk Biglione‘s analogy that Twitter is like the best cocktail party ever, with people you’re dying to meet and talk to – it’s totally apt. But I don’t particularly like big cocktail parties. I don’t like crowds. I get exhausted by small talk. More often than not, I’m the one in the corner with a drink having a very happy full-on genuine conversation with 1-2 people, doing my damnedest not to count how many people are in the room. Whether a crowd is actual or virtual, a big crowd gives me twitchypants and I want to enjoy Twitter, much like I’d like to enjoy the best cocktail party ever.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk to people. I do try to reply whenever someone speaks to me. I love having conversations with new people, even if I can’t sign on to follow them all. The simplicity of Twitter and the ease with which I can enter or listen and learn from a conversation is fan-freaking-tabulous, but not if there’s so much coming at me at once that I can’t keep it all straight.

I received an email this weekend from someone who mentioned that she had to un-follow an author on Twitter whose stream was nothing but book promotion, without any invitation or even opportunity to reply except with admiration. I can understand finding that bothersome – I get plenty of advertising thrown at me. I don’t need to subscribe to more. I know there are a ton of authors still trying to figure out how to use Twitter for promotional use without seeming like they’re nothing but promo (hey, have you seen Booksquare University Tweet Camp?) but also without losing six years of their life responding to everyone on Twitter. Figuring out how to make Twitter work for you can be a challenge, and I’m still negotiating with it.

How do you use Twitter? Do you like it? What more do you wish you could do?


Comments are Closed

  1. Terry Odell says:

    Do NOT have a Twitter account.  Have no intention of getting a Twitter account. I guess for me it seems more like an issue of “quality vs quantity”.  Or maybe I don’t like the idea of people following me around. 

    I also wonder how many of my Facebook “friends” would help me move. 

    Social Networking is here, but I limit the time I spend using it. 

    And the security word is “looking 39” which was enough of a reason to leave a comment!  Heading for the mirror right now.

  2. Lori says:

    I love me my Twitter,

    I probably don’t use it effectively at all but I believe that cocktail party analogy was along the lines of a party full of people that you can listen and learn from, and that’s an amazing part of what Twitter is.

    As an avid reader and beginning author, Twitter has alerted me to more contests for free books, publishers looking for material and other information I would never have discovered. Not all of it is worth pursuing but some has been.

    As Twitter University (I think) said: it isn’t who follows you, it’s who you follow. Twitter is a wonderful tool for eavesdropping on conversations between people who know more than you do about things you care about.

  3. Madd says:

    I have what they call social anxiety, which, in my case, means I get all whacked out about talking to/dealing with people. Social networking gives me a chance to keep friends and family updated on things without having to talk to them much. It also gives me the freedom to share some of the odd random things that I think or that go on without worrying about what someone is going to think about it. In person I constantly worry that I’ll say the wrong thing and end up looking stupid, but on my twitter or myspace, it’s my place to say what I want and if someone doesn’t care for what I have to say then they can unfriend or unfollow me.

    I came across this Twitter Song by Ingrid Michaelson a long while back and it really gave me a giggle. I wish I could download it, ‘cause it’s really uptempo and has this swing-y feel to it.

  4. Babz says:

    She once proclaimed that while she loved and was in love with him, she was in complete lust with his penis. Had even named it Pepe.

    “There is so much cream here!” he said as he began to stroke her.


    Thank you for the linkage to @blazednconfused. Definitely following that, although no RTs I think. *g*

    I’m not sure how to explain why I prefer twitter over facebook. I guess I like “light weight applications”. Much how I prefer twitterfox to twhirl, and twhirl to tweetdeck. uTorrent to azureus, winamp to wmp. And twitter just does so much with so little, ya know? Call me simple minded but Fb is getting to the point where there’s so much shite in my homepage I am not inclined to read or look at anything. Zuckerberg is doing something wrong on the way to greatness.

    I am right with you about following too many people. I follow about 60+ people and I can barely keep up. I do need all of these people. Why won’t I unfollow them when I can barely keep up? Let’s see, most of these people are in my little corner of blogosphere (tennis blogs) and I like how we trade links to each other about news and gossips, etc. I love, LOVE that I know the exact moment they post something in their site/blog because in the end, I find my google reader to be messy too. I have to arrange things in my greader, and I just don’t wanna be bothered with that. I even feel like I have to go through everything in my reader everyday or everything gets messy. With twitter I decide which links I want to follow. It is a bit like a notification tool of real time source of information.

    I don’t have a problem with advertising, as my circle of twitterers doesn’t sell anything, unlike yours maybe. What I find annoying are spambots who follows you just because I tweeted something with a keyword that triggers them, and obviously expects me to follow them. I hate spam followers, just hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns. I am scared to look into my follower pages because I’m afraid half of them are spambots. I don’t get people who follow thousands to get followed back. What’s the point of twitter then? Doesn’t everything just becomes white noise?

    Eventhough I wake up to 100+ tweets everyday, I find it very easy to scroll through all of it, if only because everything’s 140 characters or less.

    That said, I do follow a few authors and so far they’re awesome. I love when they talk about writing processes. Love little linkage o’ love to free books. Love to know how they feel about certain events in the world (iran, MJ).

    Twitter has become a tidy, intimate and resourceful slice of heaven for me.

    Sorry for the comment vom. I guess I really like twitter.

  5. Teddypig says:

    I don’t know Twitter seems just like that email message you accidentally sent to everyone in the company. The one with the stuff about your boss.

    I just think Twitter is an accident waiting to happen for most people.

    At least with my blog I can correct spelling errors or even rethink what I said. It is imperfect but you can sorta back out something you felt at the moment but in reflection was probably not what you wanted to say or how you wanted to say it. It gives you some time to think.

    Anyway, you go for it.

    I see social networking sites tending to devolve more into being about popularity contests of who friends you and less about communicating important things even if they don’t have 140 character limits.

  6. SB Sarah says:

    As Twitter University (I think) said: it isn’t who follows you, it’s who you follow.

    YES. I so agree.

    And I love hearing about how people follow different circles on Twitter. I have romance people and blog people and digital pub people and tech people – it’s a neat overlap.

  7. Katiebabs says:

    Twitter is much like one big pajama party that doesn’t end. A great networking tool overall.

    The cons of twitter is that it is a massive time suck.

  8. I use both Facebook and Twitter and have FINALLY understood the major differences and why I want them both.  Facebook is better promotion for me (I post excerpts, etc.) and I’ve found I get more comments. I think that’s because I can have 400 friends who can read what I’ve got to say, but I don’t have to read through all 400 friend’s updates. (Oh, and by the way, I link from Facebook to other sites all the time.)

    On the other hand, due to the nature of Twitter, I can follow some people who don’t follow me (like you, for instance) and so I can see conversations without actually being a part of them.  It’s odd and voyueristic. I don’t Tweet as much as some, nor do I seem to get involved in back and forth conversations for long. Due to the who follows who philosophy, Twitter sometimes seems rather clique-ish to me also.  Still, I’ve become close to some individuals I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    Either way, I like both communication vehicles. I gave up on mySpace eons ago. LOL!

  9. SB Sarah says:

    I don’t know Twitter seems just like that email message you accidentally sent to everyone in the company. The one with the stuff about your boss.

    YES: for the entertainment value alone, you should be on Twitter. For heaven’s sake, Teddy!

    I see social networking sites tending to devolve more into being about popularity contests of who friends you and less about communicating important things even if they don’t have 140 character limits.

    YES: for the entertainment value alone, you should be on Twitter. For heaven’s sake, Teddy!

    Seriously, I do agree with you about the popularity contest vs. important conversation part. I think there is a divide and part of figuring out social media is figuring out which side you want to be on. For many people, that means two Facebook accounts (one public, one private) and that same consideration influences how folks (like me) approach Twitter.

    I think that some folks are trying to use the social media outlets for the start of meaningful conversations that develop into meaningful exchanges elsewhere, whether on blogs or in email conversations between friends. Twitter specifically is a marvel for connecting people so that they can continue their conversation elsewhere. Take, for example, the #followreader tag, which is part of a blog entry later online at their blog.

    The conversation starts for a limited time on twitter, then continues elsewhere for a longer time span. I love that, especially since sometimes the #followreader conversation takes place at a time when I can’t join.

    I don’t think all hope is lost with the value of social networking. Part of it is not giving in to social pressure and using it in a way that it meaningful for you and you alone.

  10. Kalen Hughes says:

    I just don’t *get* Twitter, and after following the thread of the RT twitters in the sidebar on Dear Author recently, I don’t think I want to get it . . . there was a small number of interesting comments in a SEA of inanity. I just don’t think I have the patience to wade through stuff (patience not being among my virtues). I even tried to follow a couple of people who everyone I know said were amazing (like Stephen Frye) and I still didn’t find myself interested.

    I guess what I should do is follow Sarah and see if she makes a convert out of me. *grin*

  11. LizC says:

    I signed up for Twitter back in 2007 before it became super popular or well known and it promptly sat there unattended like so many other blogs and journals I had started over the years.

    I really started using it at the beginning of this year when it seemed to explode with popularity. Several people I knew started using it more so I decided to actually give it a shot. Now I’m pretty much addicted.

    I find its format of 140 characters is suitable to my ADD type personality. I can post about what I’m having for lunch, what book I’m reading, what song I’m listening to, basically whatever thought I feel like and I don’t feel guilty inundating my followers with that because they’re all doing the same thing.

    I like being able to follow people I actually don’t know and conversing with them and it doesn’t feel weird but at the same time it’s a bit more personal than leaving a comment on a blog.

    To me I find Twitter a bit like instant messaging on steroids.

    As for Blazed and Confused. Thanks for that new time waster. Now I’m reading all the previous posts and can someone explain this to me:

    Her thighs were wet from the sensual lubrication her body was producing in response to the fear coursing through her veins.

    Because I have never had fear produce that response.

    This one is pretty good though.

    Heaven, hell and grandma’s devil food cake all rolled up into one hot package.

  12. I’m kind of standing in the doorway of that cocktail party, at the moment, trying to decide if I should step inside.

    I’ve only just been brave enough to make the leap to Facebook 🙂 but I see all your myriad tweets scrolling down my homepage daily, Sarah, and they look so…well, so fun.

    But then I look behind me at that manuscript that’s waiting to be finished, and the fanmail that needs to be answered, and the pile of dishes in the sink, and I remind myself I’m easily distracted to begin with (that’s why I no longer have Freecell on my laptop, and why I still have rabbit ears on my TV—with cable I’d be watching old Columbo reruns all the time instead of writing) and I think, hmmm…

    I just don’t know. The party looks like so much fun; the drinks are tempting, but I’m stuck here in the doorway, undecided.

  13. Christine M. says:

    I tried, I really tried, to understand and use Twitter. I followed some authors, SBTB….and I realised that I couldn’t cope with having over 75 messages waiting for me at the end of the day when I had the time to look up what was going on. And I adamantly refuse to receieved 75 tweets a day on my mobile. No way. So I cut it all off. I ‘follow’ one friend who uses Tweeter more than Facebook (which I love to keep up with people) and Elena Michaels, because Kelley Armstrong had that brillaint idea as to how to bring her readers into the mood for the new Women of the Otherworld book that’ll be released this fall. And that’s it. Now I follow authors on Facebook instead.

  14. I love Twitter too. When I originally signed up for both Twitter and Facebook, it was more or less to socialize, and not as a marketing and promotional tool. Mainly because I’m in school and not focused on that right now. But now that I’m more familiar with both, I can see how they can help me to market and promote my next book. But in the meantime, they both provide an outlet for me to socialize, since I’m spending a lot of time alone doing studies. And usually when writing, I’m alone a lot too (of course). They can be great “mental break” tools, if used in moderation. If not, they can easily become great procrastination tools.

  15. I’m pretty sure I’m a twitter-holic. I’m following about 650 people. I keep telling myself there’s no way I should be following so many but every time I go through to prune things down, I don’t unfollow very many.

    I follow several news orgs—I like the info, it’s short, sweet and takes 5 seconds. to read I also follow a lot of publishers most of whom are very low volume, which I find kind of sad. Harlequin seems to do the best with engaging me about their books. The publishers do tend to tweet about ARCS and free content (WIN!) but I also find out about great books to read, too, or just plain good information about the business.

    I follow several reviewers but stopped following most of the ones who only tweet about a new review without more. I think I’ve stopped following most of the SQL Server folks, unless I’ve happened to establish a relationship with them; there are a few still there. I also follow a few accounts that are geared to the area where I live. Other people I follow include agents, editors and other industry professionals, all of whom have posted links to great content or are themselves a great source of information. I have a few technology accounts I follow because that’s the day job and I’m a geek. I unfollow most people who only promote, and that includes authors. That’s boring.

    The take away for following is that many of them I am mostly listening to. Some of them I “listen” to more intently than others.

    The rest of the people I follow are mostly other authors, readers, reviewers and industry folks. The ones I interact with most often tend to feel like friends and some I now feel are, and I would never have “met” them but for twitter.

    I value the conversations I have on twitter; they’re amusing, interactive, informative and can be VERY distracting. I do occasionally have to de-twitter myself for a time in order to get the writing done.

    From Twitter, I’ve found out about people (readers, writers, reviewers etc.) who have really liked my books, and found early reviews that I can forward to my agent and/or editors. When I post about a blog or contest on Twitter, I see a near doubling of comments and entries. I’ve found this to be an extremely effective way to get the word out.

    I have learned a lot, really, really a lot about what’s going on in the publishing world from people who are in the trenches. Twitter is also a quick, fun way to stay connected to other writers. Writing is a very isolating endeavor, and since I live in the boonies, I love that Twitter makes it so easy to connect to the writing community.

    Since I don’t pay attention to writers (or anyone) who shouts at my to buy their stuff, I limit my promotional tweeting. I think we all notice when someone only uses twitter to promote. Ick. Besides, that’s not fun or interesting and I’m all about that.

    I have something over a thousand followers, which baffles me, but there it is. And so far, to be honest, I haven’t had any issue with the number of people I follow. If they’re interesting or funny or in publishing, I follow them.

  16. I like the brevity – and the ability to chat with folks across the globe, including authors, publishers, or agents you might otherwise never get to meet.

    I’m a big hashtag follower – I know, it sounds like something with smoke involved… but the #followreader #writegoal and various other hashtags hosted by agents, authors, book clubs, and publishing professionals can be really handy when looking for specific information.

    Twitter is different when you have a goal in mind—keep it professional, or make it personal. Never the twain should meet. Okay, maybe they should meet a little bit. 🙂


  17. KellyMaher says:

    There is no one way to correctly use Twitter. Even not using it is the correct way to “use” it if that’s how your brain works. I have exactly one post on my Twitter account for this ID. Why? Because I’ve built up a strong account under my day persona, and I’m not sure if I can be bothered to separate out the library world & the romance world, especially as I need to know about the romance world as part of the day career.

    Honestly, I held off adding the romance circle to my list of people I follow because I did *not* want to break the 100 mark of people I followed. Finally, I gave in because I was tired of not being more involved in that conversation. I’m now edging up to 250 people, and it’s making me twitchy. However, there are quite a few low/no traffic people in there, so it makes my account a little easier to manage.

    Since I don’t auto-follow, I do make a point to reply to @ messages as much as I can. I believe in Twitter as a conversation tool, and if I want people conversing with me, I need to be conversing with them. As for the popularity thing, yeah, it’s nice to have over 1,000 followers, but I don’t pay any attention to when people stop following. I don’t even know *when* people stop following me. If I’m not going to automatically follow everyone back, I can’t get chuffed when someone I choose to follow does the same.

    This is what works for me, and it’s not going to be what works for you because your brain doesn’t work the same as mine. (Be glad of that, especially after the messed up dreams I woke up to.) It make take you a few months of messing around with Twitter to figure out how it’s going to work for you. It may end up *not* working for you. Take a little while to consider what your goals are in using Twitter. If the way you are using it is not helping you to achieve your goals, consider changing the way you use the service. If you *are* meeting your goals, then don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong.

  18. Keishon says:

    Another Twitter user. Love it. It is a major time suck but I use Twitter to talk about books most of the time. It’s a quick way to say how I feel about the book I’m reading right now and then post about it on my blog latter.

    Someday, I do plan to dump the blog and just hang out on Twitter. Do reviews in 140 characters or less. I love how some people use Twitter. It’s a certain style some people use that I love and hope to emulate. I only follow about 90 or so people as I don’t want to be overwhelmed either. I do respond to my @ replys all the time. I don’t need to follow you to have a conversation with you.

    Twitter isn’t for everyone re Alice Hoffman meltdown. It’s not a place to vent about your job or your family. If you don’t have some common sense and can’t use a bit of restraint, then yeah, you don’t need to be on Twitter.

  19. Twitter can be a very effective way to stay in touch with many people.  When you post the whole world does not read what you post. Only those that follow you. If you are using it to enhance your own public image you need a very large following. With a large following the key is to learn how to get on and off quickly and how to isolate the special people on twitter you want to follow. Their are so many tools that can do that for you.
    I have also found it very useful to have many files available to drop information into that followers find for me. It pays to stay organized.
    I currently have over 16,000 followers and receive over 500,000 tweets a day. And I still can manage twitter in less than an hour a day. If anyone needs help with twitter, please let me know. On twitter I am Sirjohn_writer

    Johnny Ray

  20. Lorelie says:

    I don’t auto-follow. I do reply to almost all @ messages.  I’ve slowly been able to up my number of people I follow as I’ve been on twitter longer.  And yes, I am liberal with the un-follow and ban buttons (though not usually for the same people).  I love that with Twitter, I can stay in the know about things *I* want to know about.  Following the information out of Twitter is my choice.

  21. lustyreader says:

    I guess I am fairly new to twitter, about 3 months now? And I just use the simple web form, no tweetdeck, etc for me. It reminds me of AIM instant messages and a chat room combined. I just wish I could organize my followers and those that I’m following like a buddy list.

    I mainly use it for three things:
    Romance book bloggers or general book bloggers and readers (ive gotten LOTS of great reading recs and discussions, although it’s hard bc we can’t go indepth with 140 characters, twitter is SO easy i never move to email with these folks for our chats)
    News about my area (dc fox news, washingtonian)
    Pop culture

    In regards to the “news” aspect of twitter, what I find fascinating is the SPEED. When the metro trains in DC crashed I saw tweets within 10 MINUTES with pics from people’s camera phone.

    On the not so helpful, but fun stalking side, the next season of MTV’s real world is currently filming in DC and I have seen up to the minute tweets of EXACTLY where the cast is, what bar they’re at, and pictures of them.

  22. Laura Kinsale says:

    I figured out decades ago (literally, sigh) that you can use the internet or the internet can use you.  Twitter is the kind of internet that uses you.

    Besides, if anybody ever says “follow me,” I go the other way. 

    I do get lost a lot.  But it’s entertaining.

  23. Twitter makes me feel dumb.  I don’t know how to RT, or reply to more than one person at a time.  I’ll tweet stuff, get bored and leave, then come back to find a response from three hours ago.  Is it too late to reply?  I don’t know.  I’m not cool/smart/hip/witty enough for Twitter!

    For me, blogging was love at first type.  Twitter, not really.  Or at least, not yet.

  24. Janet W says:

    I do tweet a tad—mostly to be a good example to my boss who I wish would use twitter more—but people who only pimp, or 75% of the time pimp are really dull. The TIME mag article on Twitter suggested 3 topics … whatever but for example: baseball, home, work/passion … and since I have a passion for threes, that worked for me.

    One sad side of Twitter (thank you Laura Kinsale for your wise words), it can trivialize the words of someone for whom you might have a lot of respect. Be careful out there Author Ladies 😀

  25. Cat Marsters says:

    The thing about Twitter.

    I see Twitter updates all over Facebook, and apparently you can use it to update other things, like MySpace (which irritated the hell out of me, especially when it refused to turn off other people’s choice of music).  If you’re using your 140 characters to say something witty and interesting, that’s okay.  But most of the Twitter updates I see are full of @ and # and http://, which apparently make sense to Tweeters.  To anyone else, it looks like the cat just sat on the keyboard.  Nonsensical.  Annoying.  I’ve got better things to do.

  26. HelenB says:

    Slightly off topic but has anyone out there heard about the new M16 boss and facebook. Now the name of head of the UK’s most secret spies etc used to be a secret in itself, now we are allowed to know the name but nothing else, until the wife of the soon to be head posted their holiday snaps on Facebook. Look all you bad people here is our address, where our children live etc. The mind boggles.
    about47, about 47 reasons not to do this!

  27. Well, it’s no secret that I love Twitter. I over-Twitter. I over-follow. For someone with a reclusive nature and an isolating job, it’s the perfect water cooler.

    For me, it’s much LESS pressure than the other social networking sites. I don’t have to read through a 1000 twitter messages at the end of the day. If I’ve been offline, then I missed those conversations, just as I’d miss them if I hadn’t been at the party.  I just check the comments specifically addressed to me and answer the 1 or 2 that need answering. And wherever people are at that moment, I jump into that conversation. Because there is ALWAYS a conversation.

    And if I don’t feel like interacting… heck, there’s so much going on that no one even cares. (FYI, if you go missing on a cold, dark mountain while Twittering, no one will notice that either. I know.) And I have made SO many new author and reader friends that RWA seems like an entirely new gathering to me now.

    Last tip: I have lost 7 pounds with Twitter. I kid you not. Used to be, I’d write 2 or 3 paragraphs of a story, then get up and wander into the pantry to think and snack. Now I just refresh Twitter, snack on some convos & get back to work.

  28. Kismet says:

    I don’t Twitter, and I don’t really get it…. but I did think it was hella awesome that Twitter served as a conduit for the recent revolutionary movement in Iran.

  29. CupK8 says:

    I adore Twitter, and will continue to use it for as long as I have this 9-5 day job.  Twitterfox keeps me entertained at work when it is more difficult to have a good blog discussion.  Last week was my first #followreader discussion and it was AWESOME.  I primarily use Twitter for my romance updates – blogs, authors, etc – since very few friends of mine use Twitter enough to justify keeping it around.

    Once I start grad school in the fall, I will likely put Twitter on hold until I get a phone that will send me updates.  I came home from not being on Twitter all weekend and had 200+ tweets to sift through. @_@  Needless to say I skipped most of them (and then immediately thought I might have missed something good and skimmed them).

  30. Susan D. says:

    Twitter, for me, was love at first Tweet.

    I get biz done with twitter: networking; biz news that has potential to affect decisions we make; learn about things I didn’t know & ask questions about things I want to learn.

    Twitter is how I keep up with biz friends from around the world: Oh, you’re eating BBQ tonight in London? Cool Your kiddo spilled milk on your computer? Bummer. Your book pub’d today? Awesome. (etc. etc.)

    Lastly, been reading some good books because of twitter recs. It’s much easier to keep up with fave bloggers and journalists by tracking them in twitter than by going to individual sites to see a) if they have a new post and, b) if it’s something of interest.

    The problem: now hv difficulty wrt’g in complete sent. w/o abbrev. Need blog 2 practice wrt’g more than 140 char. bites.

  31. Hahaha on Blazednconfused. A few lines I immediately recognized from my own books.

    I do Twitter but I know it can be a major time suck. I tried to keep up at first, before I really understood it. Now I just bop in and out when I feel like it. I equate it to the movie Finding Nemo where Marlin & Dori jump in with the sea turtles and ride the East Australian current for a while, then they jump out.

  32. JenD says:

    I was at the party for a while, then I left and went to hang out at my dive bar. 

    I quit Twitter for many reasons. I don’t care to follow people, I’d rather follow a subject. Preferably one that I don’t have to find by guessing word combinations at random until I happen to find something. So message boards make much more sense for me.

    I also didn’t find it easy to communicate. I would send someone a message and hear nothing back. What’s the point? I would follow twenty people (authors included) but there was no ‘real’ interaction. I was just reading what other people wrote- no way to really have a conversation.

    I felt like I was at a party where tons of people walk around trying to show how Important they are by constantly jabbering on and on and on and on….

    Eventually, I got bored. I ditched the dress and heels, donned my comfy hoody and headed back down to the dive bar. I’m much happier here with my Uncool People than I ever was at the nice popular party.

  33. Flo says:

    I have to say I’m not interested in it.  Nor facebook.  Nor Myspace.  It seems to me like mor eof an encouragement to show off and have a mental masturbation moment.  I don’t mind them but I’m not interested in participating in them either.  The people I want to talk with I’ll pick up the phone and speak with them.

    The thing that kind of wierds me out is that my school now has a facebook and a twitter page.  I cannot fathom what for.  I suppose its just keeping up with the times but it feels… strange.  The computer teacher was vaguely amused that he had to put one up.  I just wonder… when I proposed a blog page for literature class… and was shot down.  Now we have facebook and twitter?  OK.  I’m not bitter!  NONO!


  34. Cyranetta says:

    I have yet to jump into the TwitterPool. For one thing, I suspect I would spend a lot of time feeling that I was missing out on the “good Twitterstuff” and would spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find it. It’s much more efficient to miss out on all of it at once.

    I also know another time suck would be bad for my mental health. Following the RSS feeds of all sorts of blogs takes enough time as it is, and I like the kind of writing seen on blogs as opposed to Twitter limits.

    I tend not to abandon online activities, just add to them—I’m still subscribed to the Dorothy-L and RRA-L lists, and when you add blogs like this one as sources of reading suggestion, I’ve developed a list of books to consider running pages and pages long. The main problem is that all the online reading has decimated my actual book reading time.

    I still have my Second Life account, but it’s been months since I used the character, and SL as a social network was more intriguing to me as someone who used to do a lot of community theater. It’s hard to do social networking in small doses, especially somthing as immersive as SL.

    Twitter is one of the things that convinces me that I am slipping well beyond the gateway of “keeping up with technology.”


  35. Kiersten says:

    I came reluctantly to Facebook and kicking and screaming to Twitter, mostly b/c SBTB and other favorite authors seemed to have these great, fun confabs on Twitter and I was missing out!

    I hate missing out.

    I loved Facebook right off and spent the first few weeks totally immersed, but that’s tapered off to a daily or every other sort of thing. With Twitter, I’m finding it hard to drum up enthusiasm. Part of that is I have no idea how to engage without following the whole bloody world. Clearly I need some Twitter U. Still, I’m open to discovery, just yet to be gung ho about it. I can’t figure out the whole hashtag thing, for example (do you smoke it?) I just dunno.

  36. Tammy says:

    Laura Kinsale said:

    I figured out decades ago (literally, sigh) that you can use the internet or the internet can use you.  Twitter is the kind of internet that uses you.

    Besides, if anybody ever says “follow me,” I go the other way.


    My name is Tammy, and I’m experiencing technology overload.  In my day job (technology), I get hundreds of emails every day, not counting spam.  Add to that my personal email, time spent writing, the dozen or so Yahoo loops I try to keep up on, the miniscule number of websites, blogs etc. that I go to only after an explicit assessment of the value they provide in my life—- if I spent one more minute than I already do with my ass planted in this chair, it would grow roots.  My brain, it is fractured.  No mas. 

    I use Twitter as a way to dynamically update my website, and that’s it.

  37. MelB says:

    I’m a writer and Twitter, with only 140 characters makes no sense. I want you to tell me the story in 1000 words not symbols, abbreviations, etc. The English language says “You are” not “UR.” I think people are becoming dumber as they text and tweet as opposed to actually writing. They make up shorthand so they don’t have to bother actually spelling an entire word. Exactly what is “hv” or “squee”? As an author, Twitter is absolutely the worst thing you can do. Promos should include pics and a couple of paragraphs about the story, no one will buy a book based on 140 characters, at least not any of the intelligent readers I know. Society needs to slow down and people need to start reading and writing again. I love receiving really long emails, reading long blogs and comments. I hate the drive by mess of Twitter.

    I refuse to text for the same reasons. I am an advocate for complete coherent thoughts that do not include made up shorthand, symbols and purposely misspelled words.

  38. Amie Stuart says:

    To me I find Twitter a bit like instant messaging on steroids.

    I think this describes Twitter perfectly!

    And I use it a lot like Ann does—I track my food blogs, readers, writers, etc.  Writing is very isolated and it’s a way to connect with other writers which is nice.  That said, it works best for me if I keep my list of followers small…that right there does wonders to save my sanity!

    I really dislike Facebook and don’t use it much—I don’t use Myspace much anymore either.  I find all the facebook aps etc annoying to the nth degree!

  39. Victoria Dahl says:

    no one will buy a book based on 140 characters, at least not any of the intelligent readers I know.

    This is absolutely not true. Not true at all. I’ve found several new writers via Twitter, and I’m pretty sure the new readers I’ve found are not typing monkeys, even if you think I might be.

    I don’t disagree with you that society could use a little slowing down, but I’m also not in denial about what’s happening. It’s speeding up, whether we’d like it to or not.

  40. I’m also pretty damn sure that someone enjoying or not enjoying a technology shouldn’t be grounds for insult or mockery. I’ll concentrate on being respectul of the people around me. You go ahead and concentrate on saving the English language.

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