I’ve been on Twitter for seven months now, and it’s time to question its value for me. I had hoped to use it as a business tool. Yes, I know Twitter is primarily a “social” tool, but I’m not built that way. It’s not that I’m unfriendly, I’m just socially awkward. The evidence supports that.
As of today, I have 116 followers. Some of you are laughing because you had that many followers before the end of your first week on Twitter. I could have amassed more, but I block anyone who isn’t a writer (published and unpublished), agent, editor, publisher, or associated somehow with the writing business—especially if their icon is a scantily-clad woman or I see the words internet marketing in their “bio.” And, of course, I could have a bigger following if I were famous, witty, or fascinating, but I’m none of those. Unfortunately, it seems a good percentage of my 116 tweeple appear to be mimes. Or should that be twimes?
After I post a new blog post, I tweet a link to it. But I also re-tweet links posted by others. I always respond to direct messages, and I remember to thank someone if they retweet mine or include me in a #FollowFriday post. Almost always, I follow back those that follow me. So, I think my Twitter etiquette is good.
What I’m not good at is small talk, though I’ve tried. I even dared to join the crowd and tweet my breakfast choice once. If there’s such a thing as whispering on Twitter—I do that. I simply lack the self-confidence (or wit) to speak loudly in the Twitter feed. Though I frequently respond to tweets that interest or amuse me, most times, I just observe the party … and partying is where Twitter excels.
But the business thing? Well, yes, I see links to many great writing blog posts, but I’m subscribed to most of those blogs, so the posts are in my reader anyway. And to be honest, reading all these “personal” tweets from agents and editors has begun to make me feel like a stalker. At first, being on Twitter seemed to increase my blog hits, but in the last couple months, few of my visitors have come via Twitter. (WordPress stats show Twitter as the referrer when someone clicks through.) Maybe that’s because of the holidays—though proportionately my other top referrers held their own. I even experimented a few times by not tweeting a link to my new post and still got my usual number of visitors.
In the future, after I’m published, I think Twitter may be a more valuable tool. I’m not pulling the plug on it yet, but I’m weighing the cost of time spent on it against the benefits received. So, if Twitter works for you as a writer, please tell me how.