Saturday, June 29, 2013

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

Just over a month ago, I joined Twitter. It wasn’t an easy decision as I already felt overwhelmed by the amount of social media that I was involved in, but having seen numerous suggestions that Twitter was the way to get some recognition as an author, I decided I should really give it a go. 
I signed up one evening. The site suggests you immediately follow about twenty people, so I picked people/organizations who I thought would be interesting. Then I did nothing more for over a week.
Imagine my surprise when, going back to my account, I found I had ten followers! All people I had never heard of. I hadn’t posted anything. So what were they following? 
I did eventually send out some tweets. And added a few more people to follow. Suddenly I started getting five to ten new followers every day. Given some accounts on Twitter have thousands and thousands of followers that might not seem much, but most of these requests were again from people I had never heard of.
At first I just followed them back, it seemed the polite thing to do, but then I discovered that some of them were sending out tweets about once an hour, sometimes even more! And as you might guess, most of the posts were not-so-subtle advertising for their own books/services. A lot of those that didn’t fall into that category were inspirational quotes – now I happen to like quotes, but not in the quantity that filled up my Twitter Feed and all but hiding the interesting tweets that I might want to read.
I understand that there are some apps which allow you to organize your incoming tweets so that you can get to the most interesting ones first, but I haven’t got to that stage yet (though I will probably have to). For now, when I am notified I have a new follower, I click on their link and see how often they post and on what topics before I decide whether to follow them or not.
I’m sure this means that many whom I have not followed back will ‘unfollow’ me eventually because I will not be retweeting any of their posts etc., but I’d rather have a small group of people who I’m interested in and who might be interested in me, than a huge number of followers whose only interest is to get their message out to as many people as possible regardless of the relevance.
Big numbers on your account may look good, may even endow a sense of importance/achievement, but, in reality, who has time to read tweets from thousands of people a day? Which means you could have lots of followers, but your messages are still falling into a void. So is it really worth it?
I’m still deciding whether to continue or whether to concentrate on the seemingly more manageable forms of social media. What about you? Have you joined Twitter?  

This post was originally posted on Scarsdale Patch.


  1. Yes. I haven't quite gotten the hang of Twitter either. I first tried twitter a couple of years ago and found I hated it. It was TMI, literally. Tons of post and no time to read them all.

    I've joined on my author page and tried to interact a bit, but I find the rolling thread a bit hard to follow. However, I have found tweets about some useful articles.

    I tend to use Facebook more often, so I set it so my Facebook posts appear in my twitter feed. But, doing it this way doesn't let you really interact on twitter, so I'm not sure how useful it is. Doing it that way will give you a twitter presence, but you have to actually check twitter to find out if people have reacted to any tweets, and then you have to respond to them via Twitter.

    I think the real question you have to ask is whether you want to have a Twitter presence or participate in Twitter. Linking the tweets to a media you already use will give you a presence. But, you won't really participate. And there may be other sites out there that let you update your various social media through one screen (connecting all the accounts).

    Good luck with your social media stuff.

  2. Thanks RJ. My concern about linking various social media sites is that anyone I know who is linked to more than one of them is likely to see the same message multiple times, just on different social media, and I don't want to annoy people because of it. I do tweet some of my blogs or post them to Facebook/Google + but I decide which ones to share (and where) rather than have them all automatically post to every site.
    You're right about there being useful articles among the tweets, it's just a question of being able to find them among the mass. What I don't understand is how the people who tweet every hour or so (often more) have time to do it!
    Yesterday I decided that from today, writing must come first and then social media - just recently it has been trending the other way!