Archives: How to tweet

A tweet can make a difference.

I see this happen all the time. But many writers I’ve advised to blog and tweet, will grieve: “no matter what I do, I don’t see anyone coming to my blog!”

But then, suddenly, one day, one hour, and within ten seconds, that changes, and one of the most influential Twitterers falls upon your blog, and tweets about it to his thousands of followers. And suddenly, you see 20 new follows and an unprecedented spike in your web traffic; if you’re published, maybe even a spike in your Amazon ranking.

In publishing today, there is no such thing as “build it and they will come.”

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This week, the series continues with Man of La Book on the almighty powers of Twitter. You can see the first post of the series here.

Hello again, Zohar. Here’s one question that I, at least, would love to know: What makes you follow someone? Do you give it more than a moment’s thought? Are you most likely choosing on the basis of that person’s popularity or on their content? Have you noticed that following others increases your following, or has no effect?

Here is one no-brainer way to approach it: if someone follows me, I’m pretty likely to follow back. It seems indecent not to — no skin off my back! Many people believe that following back is good “netiquette:” if someone takes the time to listen to what I have to say, I like to show my appreciation.

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Here is the last segment of this week’s social media series before we say sadly say goodbye to Man of la Book. If you missed prior posts in the series you can find them here and here. And we’ll be back with more interviews with authors, bloggers, and publishing experts on in our next series on Authors and Social Media, coming soon.

First question: are there any favorite author Twitter feeds you follow? Why?

My favorite authors to follow are Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) and Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter). They talk about writing, life, research, and you can always find them engaging with their followers.

It seems that the most popular tweeters constantly a) tweet constantly and b) link to breaking news, blogs, etc. According to your profile, you are a book blogger, engineer, “wood worker,” father and husband. How is that you can also tweet with such enthusiasm?

My secret is that I’m pretty good with technology. Combine that with obscene laziness and you find good solutions for such issues. I use the cotweet online utility to send out tweets at intervals (30 min. to 1 hour), but check Twitter several times a day to answer questions, interact with others or see what I might be missing (sometimes not much, but that doesn’t stop all of us on Twitter from checking anyway).

But don’t be fooled: it takes great patience, persistence and hard work. Though often a great substitute for real work.

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This week has been a revelation on the power of Twitter. Broadcast journalists looked to Twitter to predict the final vote for the first primary based on mentions of competing candidates. Ed Burns, the famous-in-certain-circles rom-com filmmaker, created a low-budget movie, Newlyweds (9k? No way…) crowdsourced by his Twitter followers. Who else can direct a director but Twitter?

Even white-shoe finance firms aren’t above the trend. The real-time aspect of Twitter gives it a newsbreaking advantage in reporting earnings, and thereby could even decide important trading decisions. It’s opinion, not always credibly so, that seems to matter most to Twitter’s 225 million, and clearly diversely interested, members.

I am no Twitter junkie. I’m still learning best practices for Twitter just like everyone else. I started out hating it on principle alone, and then fast realized that, as a marketer, it was a fight ’em or join ’em, crush or be crushed situation. Now, I struggle to create my own persona: a mix of pop cultural addictions observed with dry humor, a proclivity for being controversial…all of which can misfire. And then there’s the publishing and author promotional part — my job — which I try to balance with personal commentary. And risk either navel-gazing or overshare. (You can witness my hapless daring, stumblings, and book cheerleading @lucindablu and attempts to follow industry news at the company account @lucindalitNYC. Tell me what I’m doing right or wrong, by all means.)

Last, I keep abreast of all those I follow in hopes there’s an interesting fact to be learned or conversation to be had. It’s time-sucking, but it isn’t mindless. I’m devoted to seeing value in Twitter myself, so I can more authentically advise my authors.

It’s an art, in progress. And no doubt, after Twitter, there’s another boiling pot.

But getting to authors…and back to Ed Burns. There’s something he’s done in conceiving “Newlyweds” that should be noted among the writing community. Read more »