Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Tweetering on the Brink

So I've been on Twitter about a week and I'll admit to being dragged there kicking and screaming. Apparently if I have any hope of getting another book out, I need a HUGE Internet presence. I didn't think I was doing too badly personally. I mean, if you google my name it would seem I'm absolutly everywhere.  Alas, it's all in vain unless you have "thousands" of Twits following you, to quote the Harper Collins guy who spoke at CyberMummy this summer. Frankly, I don't think I'm that interesting (sshhh - don't tell the publishers) but then neither is Tori Spelling and she's got the requisite amount of Twits tappy-lappying behind her. Stephen Fry posts a lot and he's mildly entertaining, or is that just because I heart him anyway?


The thing is, most of the people who are following me already "know" me from the blogosphere, and the unfamiliar followers I have obtained are obviously trying to sell or promote something. (Like I'm not.) I mean why else would Haute Groupe and Insight Group be following me? And more importantly, am I expected to follow them, because I'm not.

So, it's all looking a little bit pointless at the moment. Yes, I've been able to keep up with the latest Blogadesh antics, which is a good thing, but somehow knowing what people are craving just before they go to bed seems a little bit erm, well, pointless. Don't get me wrong - it's entertaining, but hardly in the "You HAVE to be on Twitter" category really.

Clearly I still haven't got it; I'm still not realising the full potential of Twitter.

So here's a request to all you Twits, Tweeties ot whatever you're called - tell me (in 140 charcters or less, of course) what I need to know about Twitter to really gain the full benefit.


PS. I am on as ToniHargis rather than Expat Mum BTW.



  1. Do not take publishing advice too much to heart. If you are good, they will come. Which you are so don't worry!

    Okay - I can't say it in 140 characters. But I've been to various publishing seminars (as well as that one by Robin Harvie) and whilst it is important, it's not the be all and end all. They do look at your online presence but not so much that they would discount you if you didn't have a "platform" or a twitter account.

    I treat it as a bit of fun, really good way of flagging up posts, linking to other people's, linking to articles, things of interest. I follow all sorts of writers and writers workshops that I wouldn't normally have access to and have "met" all sorts of people from all over the world who are funny and interesting.

    Changed your mind yet?

  2. Surely it would be better to have a good blog following, with good stats and comments etc than a huge twitter following.

    Any fool can raise up a few thousand followers on twitter if they're not fussed on who they invite into their world.

    Do as Deer Baby says, treat twitter as a bit of fun, somewhere to go for a bit of banter and meet like minded bloggers.

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  4. I have like you tried to be a good tweeter but it is difficult to spout constant verbal diarrhea isn't it ? I think I'd do it better when drunk but then I might say something I regret.

    re publishing what is your second book about you can email me if you like - I just mean I'd think it is more important to have a strong concept surely than a bunch of followers I would think

    oh I almost forgot I am at @naptimecocktail on twitter

  5. Well, I certainly think you should keep your twitter account even if you scale back on how often you use it. It's now so easy to tweet a new post to twitter followers; it's literally just the case of pressing a button. At the very least, I think that's a good practice to maintain.

    You may also want to consider organising those that you follow into different lists. Twitter allows you to do this and you might find it that allows you to filter the inanity somewhat.

  6. I have my highs and lows with twitter - sometimes I get it and have a laugh, more often than not I'm wasting my time reading other people interacting with each other: a twitter voyeur, which can feel rather pervy!

  7. I don't get the twitter stuff either. Seeing all those short comments about nothing bores the life out of me.

  8. Did you read the interview with author Laurie Hertzel on my blog? She said she didn't have to have a huge Twitter and Facebook presence before finding a publisher.

  9. Iota - the problem is that publishers do very little PR for most authors, and if you come with a ready made audience, it really makes a difference. Quite frankly, I will have to do without that as I can't be arsed to pimp myself out like that, especially in less than 140 characters. I did land a really good publisher first time round, altho' that was before the Tweet days.
    Oh anyone who knows ne knows, I could put more effort into the whole Internet presence, but at the end of the day, what's it all for? (Gazes into navel.)

  10. Well, I signed up to Twitter a couple of years ago and haven't used it yet, but as you and PM have recently joined, I may while away a few hours when I'm supposed to be working!

  11. FK - if you install Tweetdeck, it will just ping when one of your Tweet people leaves a comment. Very time-wasting. (ooh, get me giving advice about Twitter.)

  12. I didn't know about the tweetdeck ping thing. Must not install tweet deck, I'd never get any work done as I have the attention span of a gnat.

    I'm quite enjoying twitter, but it has taken me a while. I don't fully get it, but every now and then it does make me laugh.

  13. I think I may officially now be the only person *not* on twitter.... well, actually that's a lie. I am, in the sense I have an account, but I've never looked at it (other than to set it up) and I've never tweeted anything (have far too bad verbal diarrhoea to keep myself to under 140 characters). Plus I don't think my marriage would survive (she says, blogging at twenty past midnight...).

    If you work out what the attraction is, do please let me know.

  14. love it (that's your post, not twitter). well said, and totally agree - why do we need to know what people are about to have for their dinner? i just don't get it. perhaps i should now go on to read your comments...

  15. It seems like Twitter can be used as an effective tool (for raising awareness about issues, for advertising posts/books/whatever) but it takes so long to develop Twitter relationships with people outside the circle you already have through blogging that Im questioning any publisher's idea that its an essential. The gains dont quite balance the effort. How is a novelist going to find time to write if all they do is tweet!?

    But for a bit of fun, and an easy way to interact with several people you know at once, then its nice to boil the kettle and sit down and write a blog post and tweet at the same time.

  16. Am v. interested in what you say about Twitter. I've not dared go there yet but...give me...time (which is what I need!)...

  17. I've been on Twitter for months and I have to say I hardly look at it at the moment. I find that unless you're on it constantly, you always feel like you're dipping in and out of other people's conversations - and I don't really have time. The only time I've really enjoyed it was during the British election - seeing all the comments coming in from different pundits was hilarious....I know it's important for blogging but I feel as if it could take over your life, whereas blogging/Facebook can be kept to a set time of day.

  18. Funny, I wondered about Twitter too at first. But after a while I did enjoy a few really funny nights on Twitter. Part of the fun comes down to who you're following of course. if you go somewhere like then you can get a few suggestions of people who have similar interests to you. That can make a huge difference.

  19. Twitter's just pants, really. I joined just because the new head teacher at Son's school is on it, which is quite nice, but apart from that, I'm just not interested in other people's witterings. I don't get the appeal. Nor do I have the time to waste reading waffle.

    Now, I'm not a blogger either (why on earth would anyone want to read anything I wrote?) but I quite enjoy reading some of them. But Twitter seems a step too far.

    I followed Stephen Fry for a few days but was soon bored.

    I just don't see the appeal. Not even a little bit. Nope.


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