Most days, I can barely find time to write let alone carve out extra time to create clever tweets. I used to worry about becoming the wallflower at the Twitter party, until I realized that listening matters, too. If you’re struggling to figure out what to say and do on Twitter, take a deep breath and read on. Here are seven meaningful ways you can connect on Twitter:
Listen. Above and beyond, Twitter is a great place to search out conversation and information around ideas and experiences that interest you as a writer. Search for conversation threads using #hashtags and listen to what other people have to say.
Ask questions. Need help with an article you’re writing? Curious to know what the teens of the 80s think about the boat shoe fashion trend? Looking for a good lead for your latest blog post? Ask the Twitter crowd.
Share. Just like the real world, it’s important to practice give and take on Twitter. Offer resources for your followers. Publish quotes, questions, or inspiring ideas. Link to helpful resources you have discovered.
Recommend. Retweet the posts you have found helpful. Twitter provides an automated tool for doing this with a simple click. I prefer the old-fashioned copy and paste because I can add my own comments. Make sure you include the handle of the original Tweeter as well as “RT” and quotation marks so that others know you are retweeting.
Discuss. Twitter chats offer a great opportunity to talk about books, ideas, and current issues, often in real time. Twitter chats use special hashtags with the title to help users follow them–#pubchat, LitChat, etc. Search for Twitter chats on topics you are interested in using your favorite search engine. Once you find a Twitter chat you like, listen in for about ten minutes until you see how they work and then jump in!
Connect. Don’t forget the “social” in social media. Much of the dialogue on social media is no different from the kinds of conversations we have in person. If you want to talk to another person on Twitter, send tweets to @username. Start by asking and answering questions—just like you were talking in real life.
Promote. You can also use Twitter to promote your own workshops, events, and blog postings. But be careful—if you self-promote too much, then you’ll get unfollowed. I don’t remember where I read it, but the rule I’ve heard is this: promote other people 12x for every single self promotion. And don’t forget to promote other people on Writer Wednesdays (#WW) or Follow Friday (#FF). Use Follow Friday Helper to get help finding people to recommend.
Your turn: How do you use Twitter?
Google Spreadsheet on Twitter chats:
InkyGirl offers a list of Twitter chats for writers.
Use TweetChats to more easily follow a Twitter chat: http://tweetchat.com/