My husband hates Twitter, and when I first joined, he mocked me mercilessly. To him, Twitter is just a place where celebrities indulge their narcissism, and obsessed fans drool over every character they type. And, I’ll admit, segments of Twitter are like that.
What many people still don’t realize though is that not all of Twitter is like that, and there are many excellent reasons to join, especially for writers.
Reason #1 – Twitter Helps You Build Your Social Media Platform
Lisa and I have said this before on Girls With Pens, but I don’t think we can stress it enough. Social media forums like Twitter are the new way to build a platform for writers and other artists. In the past, industry professionals wanted to know how often you speak; now they want to know if you’re all over the internet.
If you want to publish a book, you need to be building your platform long before you start shopping for an agent or a publisher and long, long before you ever consider self-publishing.
Reason #2 – Twitter Is An Excellent Learning Tool
Twitter is like a writer’s mecca because you can quickly find out about interesting and informative new blog posts, get tips on writing and publishing from huge names in the industry, and keep up on industry trends and new releases. No searching involved. It comes to you in a bite-sized 140 character nugget. If you decide you want more, you click the link.
Reason #3 – Twitter Will Make You A Better Writer
Don’t laugh. It’s true. How many times have you heard the advice to “write tight” or “cut weasel words” or “trim the fat from your writing.” Twitter forces you to do that. You have only 140 characters, and that includes spaces and punctuation. It’s like a crash course in writing tight, while also having to make what you write clear and interesting. See, that’s three ways Twitter will improve your prose. For free!
Reason #4 – Twitter Connects You to People You Otherwise Never Would Have Met
On Twitter I’m connected to people from across the U.S., Canada, and even a few in Europe. Unless you’re an independently wealthy conference junkie who can afford to travel all over North America, you’d be hard-pressed to meet as many people who share your interests.
This is a key difference between Twitter and Facebook. People who find you on Facebook likely already know your name. People who find you on Twitter might be complete strangers . . . at least at first.
Reason #5 – Twitter Is Fun
I’m loath to admit it because it’s hard to justify Twitter as a work tool if I also enjoy it, but I do. Hearing what other writers are up to, learning about new books coming out, and feeling “in the know” on the best writing blog posts is fun. And the occasional Twitter game doesn’t hurt either. I think for writers who generally work in isolation, it’s like chatting with co-workers during our coffee break and sharing the latest joke.
Is Twitter Right For You?
This is just my opinion, but if you only want to keep in touch with your friends and family, go to Facebook. Facebook is a much better place to nurture relationships because it’s about conversations. That’s why Facebook allows you more latitude in the length of your messages and includes a chat feature. While Twitter does allow TwitPics, it’s also not the same as the photo albums you create on Facebook.
Twitter is more about making new friends and meeting new people than it is about keeping up with friends you already have.
So Who Should Join Twitter?
People who want to promote their business or product, professionals who want a quick way to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in their industry, business people who want an electronic water cooler to congregate around, and anyone else who wants a quick way to keep up on breaking news or connect with their favorite author or other entertainer.
If you’d like to get started now, you can join me on Twitter. If you’re still feeling unsure, want to improve your Twitter skills, or just need a refresher course, stick around for the rest of the week.
Over the next couple days, I’m going to be doing a special Twitter survival tips blitz on “how to avoid being fed to the sharks by your fellow tweeters,” “how to make people want to share the lifeboat with you,” and “how to swim so the time-sucking current doesn’t sweep you away.”
What other reasons do you have either for or against joining Twitter?