“Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.” (from Wikipedia) …or is it just another time consuming drain on my creative time?
I’ve heard a lot of folks stating they will never use Twitter, not just writers, but folks in other businesses as well. The biggest complaint seems to be “I don’t have the time to waste…”
While TV commercials have made fun of Twitter and like applications, such as the daughter complaining that dad doesn’t need to post every time he goes to the refrigerator, there are also commercials that take a humorous look at its widespread use. The truth is that many newspaper journalists are watching Twitter for late-breaking news; did you know that when Sully successfully
landed the airplane on the
It’s learning to use Twitter that frustrates most. It’s not that hard, so buckle your seat belts for a quick crash course:
Start out by going to Twitter.com and registering for a site – use your pen name (or close), business name, or some catchy service-identifiable name as your User Name. You have room for a very BRIEF bio; you can link your website to your profile so folks can find out more about you. There are several pleasant backgrounds to use for your Twitter page or you can upload one that is more personal. Okay, now you are on your way…
You have 140 characters to “tweet” messages – that includes spaces and punctuation. If you want to tweet about a blog or website, go to sites like http://bit.ly and shorten the URL (web address) and save your characters for a brief message. My URL for my VHP author’s page is approximately 65 characters; after using bit.ly http://bit.ly/aXYsPG is only 20 characters– saving 45 characters; that’s about eight words more to deliver my message. Make your message brief and direct, it’s almost like writing headlines.
Start building your community by following others – use the “Find people” function, use someone’s real name, an email address or a word that might be in their profile. Follow the ones who look interesting to you by clicking on the buttons to the right of their names (hold the cursor over the buttons to see which one says FOLLOW). You can also use the little box (right hand side) that says “search” by putting in keyword or trending phrase (current event or discussion) and follow those folks as well. Most people will follow you back within a day or so. Make sure that your privacy settings are set to accept for ease. You can always UNfollow if you see the person is sending something offensive.
Tweet regularly (once or twice a day is ideal) and mix up the topics. Yes, DO promote your books, products or services, but promo should really be no more than one-third of your total tweets. Re-tweet other tweeters’ worthy messages (hold the cursor over the lower right of the tweet box), reply to tweets (once again, hold the cursor over the lower right of the tweet box – click reply and you will see your message box with @UserName, just type your message), pass along occasional TASTEFUL humor, tweet interesting blogs (see above) and add to popular discussions (like “what did you think of the Yankees last night?”)
It won’t take long before you are tweeting comfortably and broadcasting your message to numerous people with just a few key strokes.
Still not convinced? Fellow VHP author Collin Kelley talks about Twitter and other social media in an interview here http://bit.ly/8X5qPw
Ready to tweet? Add me http://twitter.com/ChelleCordero and I’ll follow you back.
Chelle Cordero is blessed to be a full-time writer and a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. She has eight novels published with Vanilla Heart Publishing, short stories in three anthologies and numerous articles in various North American newspapers and magazines. Chelle also teaches an online writing course available through Kindle subscription.