By Rachel Simon
Hey guys, Rachel here! I’m writing this entry to address Twitter.com, which is a fairly new social networking website where you only have 140-characters to type out your thoughts.
Now that that has been explained, I can get to the logistics. I use Twitter to network. You could use Twitter for your own personal fun, and I follow a lot of my college friends because they use it to update “@ psych, bored!” Actually, I think its hilarious that I am writing this article when I am on a Twitter vacation because of my Twitter addiction. 😉
At first, I joined Twitter because I didn’t understand it. I figured it was a social networking website like MySpace, where you friended a lot of your real life friends and then were friended by a lot of creepy old men. It turns out… That, no, it was not like that.
As I surfed Twiter, I found that a lot of authors, publishing houses, editors, publishers, literary agents, editorial assistants, and writers had Twitters. They tweeted about their daily lives, what they were reading, what they were interested in or not interested in, and what they thought was interesting. Soon I friended (or in Twitter terms, Followed) these people and soon I began to have a following myself.
I also learned there were chats with these people called kitdlitchat and YAlitchat*. I was able to interact with them without being physically socially awkward. I soon began to think of Twitter as a Godsend. I mean, it allowed me to interact with some of the biggest names in publishing. Who wouldn’t want that opportunity? And I didn’t even have to leave my bedroom or change from my pajamas!
Now Twitter may seem scary (and for me, it totally was at first!), so I am going to try to explain it to you. Here are some things I have learned:
One: You can use Twitter to network OR you can just use it for your friends. But make a choice. And remember unless you “lock” your Twitter, everyone can see what you write. Even when you delete it.
Two: Be yourself. Don’t try to impress others. People will gravitate to you more if you are being yourself versus the stiff/what-you-think-others-want-you-to-be you.
Three: The #kidlitchat and #YAlitchat can be really, really, really overwhelming when you first start. Sometimes, its best to just sit back and watch the chats happen before jumping in. If you miss anything, there are copies of the chats on certain people’s blogs. You can always catch up later! 😉
Four: Twitter lingo can get confusing, so let me explain. Twitter is the name of the website. Tweeting is the action you perform on Twitter. If someone “RT”s you, RT means “retweet” – its saying they really liked what you said and wanted to share with everyone on their followers’ list. A hashtag (something like #this) is a topic that you want to bring attention to. A DM (or direct message) is a private message that only you and the other person can see.
And one last thing… Don’t feel pressured to join Twitter. If you have no interest, don’t do it! I have a feeling it is like MySpace: hot for a few years and then, not.
Here is a great resource for writerly types about Twitter:
Let The Words Flow also has a Twitter, which you can follow:
And that’s it! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me! Have a wonderful week, everyone, and I hope you return on Wednesday for Savannah’s post about writing as a mental disorder. 🙂
*Note: #kidlitchat is hosted by Greg Pincus and Bonnie Adamson on Tuesdays at 9PM EST, and discusses children’s literature and the children’s publishing industry. #YAlitchat is hosted by Georgia McBride and Lia Keyes on Wednesdays at 9PM EST, and discusses young adult literature and the young adult publishing industry. Feel free to chime into either of those; newbies are always welcome!