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Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tweetophobia

This week is turning into a list of semi-embarrassing tidbits about yours truly.  How did that happen? (If you missed it, Sunday ended in my admitting to missing a character, and yesterday I discussed my cast and—former!—Gossip Girl obsession.)

So today, here I go admitting another of my problem areas for all the world to see:  I'm afraid of Twitter.  Yes, I admit it.  The first step in seeking help is admitting you have a problem, right?

At least the little birdie is heading east :)

You may be wondering how on earth I could possibly be afraid of a social-networking tool.  I obviously blog, I have a Facebook account**, I have previously had MySpace and Friendster accounts (although I think I have finally gotten those closed), and I have three email addresses.  I am not anti-technology.  I am not anti-social.  Therefore, I should not be anti-social technology.

Here's the rub.  I joined FB back in the days when you needed a .edu email address to get an account—very long ago indeed.  We also all know that academics tend to have strong opinions.  Having been on FB for *cough* years when Twitter rolled around, the FB backlash strongly influenced my understanding on Twitter:  it's a useless long list of unrelated tweets about whatever random things Ashton Kutcher's brain can create, and a bunch of tweetheads who tweet sweet nothings in his ear.  Does that sound positive to you?

But I have recently thrown myself into the blogosphere, full of writers and agents and editors who all suggest you follow them, be it for networking, researching, or simply gaining more points on that contest to receive so-and-so's latest ARC release.  I've been pondering Twitter and it's meaning in my life now for two months and have yet to muster the courage/hutzpa/cajones/jajca to open an account.

Surely I have nothing to fear but the fear itself.  Now I just need to move past it.

I would ask if you have a Twitter account, but that's probably an obvious yes.  How do you use it?  Do you tweet and retweet or just follow?  And, forgive my ignorance here, but how do you follow a tweeted conversation when other tweets show up in between?  Is there a Twitter equivalent to the Blogger dashboard or Google reader?  Anybody got a Twitter for Dummies manual lying around?

**I am not trying to hide on FB from anyone, even though I haven't linked myself up here.  At the moment most of my academic compatriots know nothing about my alternative life as a writer, and I'm not quite ready to have the world merge.  If you're truly motivated, I would never deny a friend request.  But when I get more of my clashing-world scenario smoothed out, I'll add an FB link on the sidebar.

21 comments:

LilyofDarkness said...

Twitter is kind of like talking in a crowded room. You follow people and then you can reply to them. Think more secure chat room. It's good for me, I love it. You can check me out at @LilyofDarkness but I also have secured tweets so only people I approve can follow me. I'm kinda private about it sometimes.

Karen Walker said...

Hello. I found you because you recently chose to follow me, and I'm so grateful. I am also Twitter-phobic. I've had an account for quite awhile, but I felt as if I had to sit in front of the computer and wait for a meaningful tweet to flit by and it never did. I've never figured out how to manage to follow groups of people with similar interests. Nice to know I'm not alone out here.
Karen

Helen Ginger said...

Twitter is easy to do, but not easy to follow conversations. You'll find some have created "groups" which makes it easier to follow threads. You can use Twitter to promote your book, blog or self, but don't overdo it. In-between those kinds of posts, put in other interesting tweets. And it's good (and easy) to tweet about interesting blog posts that you see as you zip around the Internet. That makes it less about "me, me, me."

You can find me at: @MermaidHel

Oh, as you already know, I gave you the Versatile Blogger Award today!

Straight From Hel

Sangu said...

Hmmm, with Twitter, if I'm trying to follow a 'conversation' I find that they usually have a certain hashtag. Like, for example - #funtimes - and if you click on the tag, you'll see just the tweets with that hashtag. Otherwise, I just follow as best I can. :-)

Tiffany Neal said...

Heehee. I used to be very afraid of Twitter and then I took the plunge.

Honestly, it took me a little while to get into the swing of things with it.

There's a ton of hashtags and people to reply to and do I interrupt a conversation only to get ignored? Aigh!

But, now I'm more confident and I understand it much better and even tweet with Maggie Stiefvater now! So cool. Find me on there when you get an account. (Cuz you know you will).

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I, too, am somewhat cautious of Twitter. I have so little free time that I have to choose my focus carefully.

It sounds a little like a group of children in an enormous room all shouting : "Listen to me! I'm important. Oh, and buy my Kool-Aid, only a quarter a cup. It's really good stuff."

I, too, have a Facebook account, but I rarely visit. If it's important, my friends will email me.

I focus on my blog, revising my urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE, and writing the two novels that I'm writing concurrently. Oh, and the job that pays my rent -- that's important, too.

You have a fascinating blog, Roland

Hart Johnson said...

I am a twittering twit--have an account--use it ALMOST exclusively to post that I have a new blog, or to SHARE when somebody ELSE has a blog I think think is particularly fabulous.

My opinion is it is hit and miss on whether you see anything interesting (I'd see more if I was THERE more) but if you use the hashtags (#amwriting, for instance) you can usually find something worth looking at.

The more people you follow, the LESS you will catch from the people you care about, but following tends to be a trade-off and you want to BE followed so people get YOUR news... meaning there is a funny line to walk.

My opinion? There is no downside to HAVING ONE. Whether there is an upside depends on how much energy you are willing to expend learning to use it. It is my least favorite of the social networking media, but that still isn't NEGATIVE. I don't NOT like it. I just like it less than blogging or facebooking (though honestly, FB, I mostly use for actual friendship stuff--conversations with people I know--I HAVE a writer's profile and I've made some new friends there, but the actualy NETWORKING of it has been more an extension of blogging, NaNo, or ABNA)

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm on twitter (@jemifraser) but I'm sometimes shy about it. I really like the writers' chats. I do more lurking than participating some days, but they are great sources of information.

I use TweetDeck rather than the Twitter main page. That way you've got different columns going on - makes it much, much easier.

Good luck - it can be fun & helpful :)

RosieC said...

Thank you, everyone, for all of your advice. We'll see if I can figure it out.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Rosie--I mostly lurk on Twitter...I just don't get it for the most part...I did however strike up a friendship with a lit agent on twitter. He's someone I can go to for advice via email or fb now, but it all started with me responding to one of his tweets...I don't have a clue what a tweetdeck is???

Best wishes and thanks for playing along on my blog...

Lynda Young said...

Twitter is great but it does take some getting used to.

You can follow me @LyndaRYoung

Hashtags are helpful. For writers, try #amwriting #wip #writegoal #writetip and there are many more.

Tabitha Bird said...

You know, I felt the same way about twitter for a long time. I joined a couple of weeks ago and I love it. It doesn't take much time and I follow literary agents, literary magazines, other writers and my fav authors. It is amazing what you find out and learn. I do not regret it.

Cold As Heaven said...

I have a Twitter account, but doesn't use it much. It's hard to say something meaningful in 140 chars. If I use it, I tweet headlines from my blog. I have an FB account too, but hardly ever bother to log in. I think it's boring, with all the cosy shit-chatting, and my family getting embarrassed and complaining when I post stuff like "Merry anti-Christmas" (on 6th of June) and "in Satan we trust" (just for fun). Blogging is a lot more interesting I think >:)

Cold As Heaven

Talli Roland said...

I lurve Twitter, as you know! :) It's fab and it's been so helpful to me.

JC Martin @ Fighter Writer said...

Hey, I'm a Twitter newbie too. How are you finding it now? So far I've been finding it a great way to network with other writers, publishers, booksellers, literary agents and book reviewers! Nowhere else can you find such an eclectic mix of people. Plus you can follow your favourite celebrities. I found all the random twitterings confusing at first, but you'll soon get used to it!

RosieC said...

So, my Twitter update. 24 hours-ish. I haven't been too proactive at finding the right people, but I haven't had much time, either. I'll probably spend way too much time on it this weekend when I should be working and writing. Thanks for everyone to sending me their tweety-aliases. Mine's now @rosieanabelle for anyone who's interested.

I'm still figuring things out. I'm still not sure how the hashtags work. And TweetDeck is awesome (Thank you, Jemi!). It's a downloadable program that sorts the tweets and makes them more manageable. Just search for TweetDeck in Google. Fastest download ever.

You're all awesome for your support and advice. Thanks a ton!

Medeia Sharif said...

I started tweeting a little over a year ago. For the first month I used "M. Sharif" rather than my full name. That's how strong my hesitation was. What do you mean people want to read my micro-blog posts?

I slowly learned how to use it through observing other people's accounts. I learned about chat times and hash tags. Mainly it's jump-in communication. You're not meant to read every tweet your come across.

Honestly, I've connected with so many writers, agents, editors, book reviewers, bloggers--it's amazing. It can be a time suck, but it's an educational one.

Cruella Collett said...

You're not alone (or were not alone, since you seems to have signed up now). I'm afraid (or at least sort of bugged) by Twitter too. I stayed away for the longest time just because I had convinced myself I didn't like the concept. Then I decided to figure out why I didn't like it. So I signed up with a bogus name just to see what the whole thing was about. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I think I'll sign up eventually, and then link it up with my blog. It's probably useful, but not yet for me (besides, I already have a number of time thieves in my day).

And I totally have two Facebook accounts. One for my Cruellity, and then one that I've had for years, which has all my "real life" friends on it. It makes me feel less awkward about the whole out-of-closet writing...

Sam said...

I originally signed up for Twitter because a few of my blogging friends had accounts. To begin with I didn't have a clue what I was doing, or if Twitter was going to be useful for me. A year and *cough* 21k tweets later I have made so many good friends among the writers community that I wouldn't be without Twitter.

TweetDeck is my app of choice, and I agree with you, it's awesome! You can also use Twitterfeed to automatically tweet when you post something on your blog (complete with a link back to your post), I find this very handy for my #FridayFlash short fiction posts as quite a few of my readers live overseas so I usually shedule my posts to go live when I'm not at my computer.

Anyway, enough of me blethering on. I've followed you on Twitter (I'm @FutureNostalgic), so if you ever get stuck/overwhelmed with it (as I did in the early days), or have problems with TweetDeck, feel free to give me a shout.

Nice to meet you BTW!

RosieC said...

Hi Sam. Thanks (in advance) for the help. I may very well take you up on it.

So what is #FlashFriday? And how do you like the blog to Twitter? I think I'll have to go google Twitterfeed in a little bit.

Nice to meet you, too!

creativebarbwire said...

I don't use Twitter either, for your very same reasons... I have a Facebook account one year older than my blog, but I opened an "author" page on FB as well... some people also say that each author is free to "network" the way he/she prefers, if you hate Twitter, don't use it, which it's what I'm going to do for some more time! ;-)
Happy writing (and thanks Tessa for putting up the Blog Hop)!
Barb

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