“Tweet, Tweet,” Said A Little Bird…

9 Nov

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:

http://www.inkygirl.com/a-writers-guide-to-twitter/

Let The Words Flow also has a Twitter, which you can follow:

http://twitter.com/LTWFblog

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!

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18 Responses to ““Tweet, Tweet,” Said A Little Bird…”

  1. svonnah November 9, 2009 at 7:35 AM #

    I think the advice about being yourself is the most important here. I felt really awkward twittering at first, but now I just try to share the fun parts about my own life, and only retweeting stuff I think is interesting, not just because I think other people will like it. I seem to be getting more followers, too 🙂

    Btw, way to promote the LTWFblog twitter! Yeah!

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 10:53 AM #

      Exactly. I’ve learned to embrace my inner nerd. 😉 Or outer nerd. It seems to be liked by many people! 😛 But, yes, being yourself and being real is important whether it is on the internet or in real life. Its important to allow yourself to be free and be you.

      Yay for LTWFblog Twitter! And I can’t wait for your entry!

  2. written November 9, 2009 at 8:34 AM #

    great article! i definitely only use twitter for friends, not for networking, but i bet it’s pretty great either way 🙂

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 10:54 AM #

      Twitter is…Twitter. 😉 It can be used for many things… I’m glad you liked my article though.

  3. Alexandra Shostak November 9, 2009 at 8:51 AM #

    Haha, I wish I had found an article like this when I first started Twitter–especially the part about being yourself!

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 10:55 AM #

      Yeah, I wished I had found an article like this when I first started. My first Twitter tweets were…embarrassing to say the least. And what’s worse is; they can be found. 😉

  4. RKCharron November 9, 2009 at 10:55 AM #

    Hi Rachel 🙂
    Thank you for the great post.
    I find that becoming friends with these many fantastic talented wordsmiths and literary-types is inseparable from networking. That was great advice to just be yourself. The people who relate to you will Follow you and those that don’t, won’t. 🙂
    I am still excited like a little kid on Christmas morning when I get to talk to the writers whose books I have lovingly devoured, many times re-re-reading those books!
    Thank you again for the great post,
    All the best,
    RKCharron
    🙂

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 10:58 AM #

      Hi RK Charron! I also find becoming friends with fantastic literary types is awesome! 🙂 I get really excited too when I get to type “@author-I-really-like.” The best is when they actually respond back! It is so thrilling!! I am so glad you liked my article. See you around.

  5. sarahjmaas November 9, 2009 at 11:04 AM #

    Amazing post!! Like Alexandra said, I wish I’d read this before starting out on twitter, because I was just SO clueless. 🙂 I think a lot of people struggle with keeping the balance between being professional/writerly and being yourself….

    Really great post!

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 11:07 AM #

      I wish I had a post like this too! There are a lot of tweets I tweeted that I am so embarrassed by (see above comment to Alexandra), but I watched a lot of people and learned how to communicate myself without seeming like a spaz. 😉 Don’t know how well it turned out, but it seems like it is going a-okay. I also think people struggle a lot with being professional and being yourself; sometimes it is hard to be both. I think, though, if you work at it and think about how you would see yourself from someone else’s perspective, it sometimes helps. 🙂 Glad you liked my post, Sarah.

  6. Donna Carrick November 9, 2009 at 11:35 AM #

    For @Alex_Carrick and me (@Donna_Carrick) Twitter has been both a blast and an eye-opener. Who knew there were so many talented, smart and often funny book industry people out there, willing to communicate so openly with each other?
    Terrific post, Rachel. See you in the ‘stream’!

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 11:45 AM #

      I completely agree; Twitter was an eye-opener for me too! I had no idea that almost every publishing house or industry person was on Twitter. From them, I have learned so much about the field I *hope* to go into one day. Twitter is such a resource!
      Thanks! See around as well, Donna! 🙂

  7. sara November 9, 2009 at 11:36 AM #

    I signed up for twitter in June. Didn’t get it, left one update and then didn’t sign on again until October. Because, similar to what you said about myspace – I figured that I was privy to WAY more information about my friends on facebook… Who cared about 140 word updates on twitter?

    Then, October rolled around and I discovered Inky Girl’s blog – became active for networking purposes (instead of friendly gossip ones) and haven’t looked back since 🙂 And the #yalitchats can be SO educational to anyone in our field!

    Great post!

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

      Hi Sara! I also signed up for Twitter in the summer and thought it was going to be useless. Inky Girl’s blog is so great; so resourceful and knowledgeable. 🙂 I agree; the #yalitchats are great (so is #kidlitchat, but that might not be in your interests). I also read #writechat quite a bit and I even believe there is a chat for scifi! See you around, and thanks for reading! 🙂

  8. Kelsey November 9, 2009 at 7:50 PM #

    Hey Rachel!
    Great article. I think you really showed how to use Twitter. I signed up for Twitter, I believe in June, and I’m still figuring it out. I don’t understand some stuff, but this article really cleared up some stuff. For example, I always thought RT meant “response to.” It’s nice to finally understand that haha.
    Again, great article 🙂

    • rachelsimon November 9, 2009 at 7:58 PM #

      Yeah, I didn’t know what RT meant either until someone explained it to me. I’m so glad you found this article helpful, Kelsey!! I hope to see you around more often.

  9. junebugger November 11, 2009 at 8:48 PM #

    Oh my. I’ve JUST read the post today. I actually didn’t know it was up. Blame my computer. It crashed. Well, only the wireless.

    ANYWAY, I am converted. I had no idea what the point of Twittering was, but now I see. Arg…the thought of trying to make others join my tweet is stressing though. I think I’ll end up comparing my number of subscribers to others…

    • rachelsimon November 11, 2009 at 8:51 PM #

      June, you computer crashed? I am SO sorry! The point of Twitter is to use it as a social networking website, but I can *definitely* see why so many people get caught up in the number of followers they have. Thats okay–like I said above, you don’t have to join Twitter. 🙂 You can always just post from the LTWFblog account. Hehe!!

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