So, officially I’ve been on Twitter for a little over 5 years now, but have only come online as an Author for about 18 months. In that 18 months, I have found a number of behaviors a little disturbing so I decided to write this post. These are my opinions, and you know what everyone says about opinions…
Twitter, for writers, is an interesting social media subculture. It is very accepting of new writers, with most experienced writers always willing to lend a hand and embrace the newbies. I was that newbie, now a little more seasoned and consider myself to be somewhat of a veteran at the old’ daily writing prompts game. There are still things for me to learn, but as I’ve done with everything else in my life, I’m actually going to take the time and learn it and be successful with it. There are no shortcuts to success in life. A lesson hard learned by not only me but many out there.
Eight Interesting Twitter Behaviors I’ve Observed…
- I hate Politics BUT – People will post that they hate politics yet 80% of their posts are about politics. Give it a rest. We know you hate whoever it is that you hate.
- I hate Religion BUT – see #1. The same applies here.
- Buy Link Bonanza – Retweeting nothing but your own stuff or buy links. Yeah, I get it. You’re trying to sell your book or promoting other people’s books, but if that’s all you’re going to post, it becomes ineffective. I’m all for helping other authors. I do all the time, but when you’re clogging my feed with buy links and nothing else that might prove useful to me as a writer, again, it becomes ineffective and I use the mute/unfollow. But hey, if the shotgun approach works for you, be my guest.
- Follow then Unfollow – Tweeps, yes even some, not all, writer tweeps, are guilty of this one – following a lot of people in order to get them to follow back and then unfollowing in order to falsely inflate their ratio of following to followers, Maybe it’s an ego thing or a low self-esteem issue, but falsely attempting to inflate your level of self-importance is evident. We get it. You think that by having a high follower count and low following count, people are going to think you’re way more important than you really are. Smooth, but that’s not how it works, especially with writers.
- I’m too good to follow you back – Not mutually following people. Most writers, artists, poets, creative types are generally good about following back, but there are some who, for some reason; thinking they’re too good to follow back, thinking they’ll look more popular and that many people are actually taking to heart/hanging on their every tweet (See #2), or just don’t have mutual respect for other creative types.
- I want to thank the academy and everyone in it – Thank every person who likes every single one of their tweets, not realizing that notifications can get clogged from all the traffic it generates unless the other people tweeting reply only to the original tweeter and then it gets annoying. Again, I get it. Thanking people is always a very polite and kind thing to do, but overdoing it can create more issues and it makes you look like you’re needy.
- Cause and Effect – Tweet about a cause and not about writing. If you’re going to interface with a bunch of writers, poets, artists, and other creative types, we would appreciate that you actually talk to us about those things concerning our crafts instead of blasting us with your “support my cause here”.
- Pay Me to Write – Personally, this is one of the most disturbing issues for me. People actually thinking that I’m going to spend the money I work hard to earn on paying you to practice your craft without getting something in return. Maybe there are people with a philanthropic heart of gold. More power to them. Most people, however, actually have a J-O-B. You know, that place you go and the thing you do to earn money for actual work. I have to admit, some people are pretty ballsy, asking total strangers to spend their hard earned money to support someone they don’t know in order for that person to pursue their “dream job” as a whatever. I’m not against helping someone when they’re down. I do it all the time. I support charitable organizations, people I know who need help and I even throw a few bucks for someone who is willing to do something for me, such as provide a service or product. You know, capitalism. However, I am NOT going to allocate money on a monthly or however often recurring basis to support someone who is not willing to work, and yes I mean a REAL JOB. If you can make money at it, without asking people for a handout, provide a service or a product, then it’s a REAL JOB. (FYI – Posting to your blog about this or that, or writing a short story for a flash fiction contest, unless someone is paying you (not donating) is not a service or a product) If you have to ask people to donate to your “Insert website name here” in order for you to pursue your whatever it is, then it’s not a real job. Provide something of value. Earn the money. I could preach on this all day, but there are going to be people who love throwing their money away. Enjoy their willingness to help your prosperity, but be careful. When that goes away and you’re left having to actually work for a living, by actually selling your books, or whatever it is you’re pursuing, you’ll realize it’s not as easy as it looks.
Eight Basic Twitterquette Suggestions for Writers/Artists/Creative Types…
- If a creative type/writer follows you, follow them back. It’s pretty simple and good form. People figure out quickly the ones who don’t follow back. I have unfollowed many people for not doing it.
- If you follow someone, don’t unfollow them after they follow you just to boost your numbers (That’s kind of a dick move). People see right through it. No, your words of wisdom are not going to impress me if you don’t have the life experience to back it up.
- Be generous with your comments/loves/retweets of posts, but don’t overdo it with the buy links. That gets annoying. Be constructive. Offer suggestions. Don’t insult people. The writer community is very close and people talk. If we’re not writing, we’re tweeting and to some of us, tweeting is just as important.
- Don’t Overpromote Your Stuff. Interact with other people directly. If all you’re doing is trying to sell something, whether it’s for you or someone else, people are going to figure that out quickly. I can look at your feed and tell within a few seconds. Most people can.
- If you don’t want to talk about religion/politics, then don’t, but don’t say you don’t and then blow up everyone’s feeds. I unfollow people for clogging my writer feed with politics or religion. That’s just me. It’s my writer twitter profile. I can find the politics and religion everywhere else.
- Don’t Tweet Excessively About a Cause – If you are going to tweet about a cause, be sensible with your posts and don’t drown people with “cause” posts. We’re writers. We appreciate a good cause as much as the next person but remember – moderation.
- Don’t Tweet excessive amounts of motivational quotes – They are helpful, but again, in moderation. They lose their effectiveness if you do it too often.
- Participate – talk to other writers/creative types. Share your stories, your blog posts, interact in the daily # events. Tell us about your life. We do care. We want to read your stories and we want to share our stuff with you. Be a part of the #writing community and you will find it to be rewarding and fun.