To Tweet or not to Tweet?

I read the other day that Twitter has become the most essential online networking tool for writers.  Could this possible be true?  If it is, I shouldn't be surprised.  I've never even been on Twitter.  But I'm always so far behind the curve, the curve looks straight from where I'm standing.  I mean, I just signed up for Facebook.  I'm no Faith Popcorn, put it that way.  Thoughts on Twitter, anyone?  Do you think it is useful for fiction writers?  Who should I follow to get the hang of Twitter?


Anonymous said...

I'm not a frequent twitterer. I asked my friend, a sports journalist, about her frequent twittering. She says she uses it as a news portal. She exchanges article links to stay informed. I read that twitter is a medium for the Iranian movement. When I was curious about a downtown suicide jumper I was able to find information quicker than through news or radio. Ordinary citizens can disseminate information. I am annoyed by the length of tweets. I feel that I cannot adequately express myself. But I do think it is great for sharing links with a group of people who have common interests. Anna G

Anonymous said...

I'm not quite a Luddite, but I am awfully suspicious of anything technologically new, exciting, and popular, especially online, mostly because so much of what is new and exciting and popular (especially online) is also awfully fleeting. And frankly, I've never seen the point of Twitter. If people actually managed to say anything useful in 140 characters, it might be interesting, but they VERY rarely pull that off, and for me, Facebook's brevity and flippancy is as silly as I intend to get. I just don't have the time or the inclination to update others or stay up to date about others with the rapidity and repetitiveness that Twitter allows (or demands).

And to ease your mind: I've recently read the opposite, that Twitter (surprise surprise) is already becoming old-hat, overdone, and obsolete. It's not irrelevant yet--not by a long shot--but it soon will be. The commentary I've read is that Facebook is (slightly) more enduring because it contains (slightly) greater permanence through its games, photos, and profiles, whereas Twitter was always--by design--going to be a trendy flash in the pan, and in a world of 15-minute fame, Twitter has nearly exhausted its metaphorical 140 characters or relevance.

firstlinefiction said...

Thanks for this Anna! And thank you Sam for attempting to calm me down, Twitter-wise. I think I'll leave it alone for now (geez, I'm busy enough as it is). My life is probably too boring to Tweet about, anyway.

Unknown said...

Hello. I read your comments on Samuel Snoek-Brown's site, and I ended up here.

I am a frequent Twitter user, and this post is a quick summary of my take on that area of social media.

Personally, I use an online name different from my own until I become use to most new media. Under my online name (though I doubt it would be any different under my real name), I have developed groups that I follow: Don't Miss, Info Feeds, News, Misc Pop Ppl, Writers, Try Outs, etc... With this system in place, I'm able to streamline my information intake.

I find that I have more contact/exchanges with writers I admire on Twitter than I do on most other mediums. Every Friday, a group called #writechat posts all day on thoughts about writing, and I've often posed quick questions to the group and received answers with exactly what I needed.

Twitter functions much like a delayed, low pressure chat program for me. My Don't Miss group keeps up people whose posts are important to me. The other groups, I scan when I have time and and ignore when I don't.

Writers, in my opinion, make the best Twitter users. The 140 character limit becomes its own writing exercise. Warren Ellis is a treat if you love sarcasm and grumpiness. Susan Orlean posts interesting stuff about chickens and mules--sometimes about teaching. @mashable has a list of all the writers who use Twitter. Although most conversations are short and end with link exchanges, they can be very productive.

firstlinefiction said...

Wow, Crystal - that was incredibly useful and informative. Thanks so much. I am intrigued by #writechat and would like to check that out. And OMG - Susan Orlean uses twitter?! That's enough to get me to sign up right there! Thanks again! Take Care.