Twitter for Writers: the Basics

Apologies if this is obvious to some – your grandmother can give me those eggs back anytime. But there are times when I sit here with a coffee and I wonder what the hell happened to the essentials of good Twitter behaviour.

I know Twitter makes us the centre of our own worlds, and I know we’re all a bunch of narcissistic cunts (otherwise we wouldn’t be here) but seriously…

* Put up a picture, fill in your bio. Informative, witty, sarcastic, enigmatic, whatever, just put something that’s you. If you want more people to listen and to speak to, it seems kinda obvious to say who you are.

* Unless you’re a newsfeed, don’t tweet non-stop links. Gods forbid, don’t tweet the same link over and over again. If I wasn’t going there the first time, I’m sure as shit not going there when it’s in my face every three minutes.

* Don’t keep copy-and-pasting the same tweet. Even if you’re smarter than the average bluebird and keep shuffling the sentence round, sooner or later people are going to suss that you’ve been pushing that shit for a year now.

* #Hashtags #are #wonderful #tools #for #making #connections #and #following #the #right #people #but #using #them #constantly #is #like #standing #on #a #box #and #shouting #ME #ME #ME #ME.

* A personal bugbear – asking for RTs. To me, it’s like a child asking for a present. Even bloody worse is asking for RTs by reply or by DM. That’s like asking for a present, Danie – it’s a guilt-trip. Unless it’s genuinely a crisis, let your audience decide for themselves.

* Following that thought, that instant DM ‘check out my book/etc’ when someone follows you – don’t do it. Just don’t.

* If you want to sell your book – talk to people. Make friends. Take the time and trouble to communicate, get to know the people around you. I know that various writers’ sites tell you not to talk about anything but writing, but I reckon that’s horseshit. If people know you, they’re far more likely to be interested in what you’re doing.

* Tweet other people’s links as well as your own – positive karma, if you like. Give feedback, respond, support. Retweet. Thank people – promote others via Follow Friday and similar. If something makes you laugh, say so, share it. Community rules!

* Use pictures – footage if you can. From someecards to LOLcats to your book in interesting worldwide locations (hey, you never know) – if a picture’s worth a thousand words, and you only have space for ten, the maths does itself.

* Finally: a little common sense. Think. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t openly pin to the notice board in the office (or if you want to be naughty, protect your stream or begin another). A little impish wickedness is good. Picking fights, or posting pictures of your co-workers shitfaced and naked, is likely to land you in trouble.

And as a closing note, I’m writing this because a friend sent me a polite jab the other day – telling me I was really overdoing the Ecko thing and I should probably ease it down for a bit – and hey, they’re probably right. I know how exciting a book is; pub or self-pub, a work of creativity is a colossal thing, it’s a piece of your heart.

Your enthusiasm is both genuine and fantastic (well, mostly!) But don’t overdo it, hey?

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