What am I doing here?

What am I doing here?

No, this is not meant to be a prompt for a metaphysical discussion on life and why I’ve got one (though I’m up for that too, any time you’re ready). No, I meant, what I am doing on here, writing this blog, right this minute? And more particularly, what am I doing on other social media, like Twitter?

I am not a fan of Twitter. You know I like to chat. That’s obvious. I get on to the keyboard and begin to flick my fingers across all these letters and what comes out is, well, me. Remember WYSIWYG? That’s me. What you see is what you get, or what I write is who I am. I pour forth my blah and connect with those of you who can be bothered to interpret understand my ramblings. I am a Writer. I Write. But what for?

I like to entertain, and I hope I do, with my stories and my chatter, and I love my blog. I love to come and camp out on your blogs, to find out what you are about, who you are, to have little chats with all you fascinating people. But the other ‘stuff’ connected with it, the ‘social media’, is intended as a sort of ad. I want us all to share in this new phenomenon of social media, Twitter being the biggest part. However, I don’t really have a clue about how it works. For example, I post a Tweet, five minutes later, where is it? Where am I? Sometimes lovely people with whom I have connected through interactions on my blog will re-Tweet and I try to return the favour, but in a few seconds those words fly into the ether. Gone forever. Does anyone else notice, even read them? Is it possible to have meaningful chatter with people who are not or may not be listening? How does Twitter properly connect me with other people, even if I Tweet all the hours of the day – which I have no intention of doing?

Apparently talking to people makes us happy. Even small talk. You know the kind of thing, you experience it every day, in the street, in shops, in your comments on your blog. Little snippets which make us smile, which endear us to the other person, which enable us to connect. Take a look at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/talk-deeply-be-happy/?smid=tw-share talking about, er, talking. Meaningful talk.

I think what I am trying to say is, all this attention to self promotion, promotion of work, via feeds like Twitter, feel false.  And streams of ‘Tweet my book, Tweet my book’ ‘Please re-Tweet my book’ drive me absolutely mad. I’m sure it must drive others mad too. How does that help anyone?

So I read articles like http://www.redlemonclub.com/networking/25-ways-you-are-failing-at-promoting-yourself-your-products-and-your-work/ and the ‘getting noticed’ articles like  http://www.blogworld.com/2012/09/12/58-ways-to-get-noticed-as-a-new-blogger/   and think they are great articles. I am interested, wanting to put into practice what I read. But I still wonder how it works. Is it a leap of faith? Do I put in all this work (when I’d rather be writing stories or my blog and living a real life), hang in there, and wake up one morning to realise that it was all true? The magic wand has been waved and I have lots of followers hanging on my every word, waiting for the arrival of my next book (should one ever be published!!!).

Or is Twitter one big non-conversation? Lots of hot air floating about on the web which few people look at and to which even fewer pay attention.

What do you think? What do you do about Twitter? What am I doing?


26 responses to “What am I doing here?

  1. Hot air. It’s all hot air, or at least that’s my take, the man whose never used it, gone near it, or understood what it’s all about. Who knows, maybe I’ll regret saying this later when I’m published and I tweet away to anyone willing to listen but, for now, it’s all hot air.

  2. I’m clicking on your tweets and following your links, but of course you won’t get those stats. I like to have a 5 minute ‘window on the world’ while I have a coffee, and that’s really what I use it for. I’ve started to prefer Twitter to Facebook, but I suppose either depends on who you follow/befriend. My Facebook feed seems to be full of acquaintances saying they’re all down the pub which makes me feel left out, whereas Twitter is more like a little online pub I can frequent, full of left-out people making me laugh.

    If anyone tweets constantly about their book(s), they are rapidly unfollowed! But if it’s occasional, and they generally tweet interestingly, I’ll check their book out. I’m much better at following than tweeting, but I’m working on it.

    • Interesting. And I get what you’re saying about unfollowing people who tweet constantly about their books. I have one particular one who is driving me mad. So you do think it’s worthwhile?

  3. I make Twitter lists, and that’s the only way I can really follow people. I keep the lists private, and they only make sense to me, but I can group together people who I can easily interact with while separating out those into other categories that are more news-related tweets or promotional tweets or educational tweets, etc. Makes it much easier to navigate. But perhaps you already do this, and I am telling you nothing new. 🙂

    • No no. That sounds a good idea. I am all at sea with Twitter, as you probably gathered. Although I have recently joined Tweetdeck which seems more logical to me. I can see at a glance what is happening. The main Twitter feed is just too much for me to follow.
      But yes, lists, I can see the sense in that. I suppose Tweetdeck is about that sort of thing too.
      Don’t know why I didn’t think of it.
      And me a list person! Thank you.

  4. I don’t get Twitter. As a writer who hopes to write for others (as well as myself), I feel compelled to understand Twitter, but really, I agree with Codex. Hot air.

    • That’s me as well at the moment. But I am giving it a whirl. Waiting to see what transpires.
      Going to try Carrie Rubin’s lists and see what happens.

  5. reflectionsonlifethusfar

    I just use Twitter for tweeting news stories and causes I support. I use my real name so am not going to post it on here. Tweets I like and re-tweet are those that link to an interesting piece of information or website. Tweets about what people ate or how they just bought some milk leave me unimpressed.

    Judicious use of Twitter for self promotion is alright. Don’t have a constant stream of tweets all saying the same thing or something very similar though. I can’t say what the appropriate frequency would be for promoting your book but maybe once a day-unless you send out a lot of tweets and it would not stand out if you put a plug in a second time the same day.

    Obviously I don’t use Twitter with my blog on here because I’m supposed to be anonymous! lol

    • Hmm. Can see where you’re coming from. I don’t yet have a book to Tweet about, but do want to use my real name for obvious reasons.
      I can see the news stories thing and causes too. And I re-tweet those I care about.
      It all seems so weird otherwise.
      Thank you for your thoughts.

      • reflectionsonlifethusfar

        You’re welcome. I am unsure how to use Twitter for sending messages to followers and replying to others’ tweets. It’s sort of pointless to me for anything besides news and other information I think is important. I can just use facebook and instant messaging for other communication.

  6. I have to say I do t really get Twitter, and all I seem to see is people I follow ReTweeting people they follow lol. I love Blogging and FaceBook though, as there, I feel I really connect with people who already were friends, or have soon become friends 🙂


  7. I have avoided Twitter as I once avoided Facebook for the simple reason that I know once I start, I will get drawn into it.
    Now that I have two Facebook accounts (one for the real, personal me and a distinctly separate one for Andrew Toynbee the writer) I find I have to rigorously limit my time on-line or I get carried away, spending hours following links and reading funnies.
    The first post on my brand-new unblemished Facebook wall was from a friend; ‘Welcome to the waste of 10% of the rest of your life 🙂 ‘
    So to embroil myself in the incessant and etherial noise of Twitter? No thanks – I’d prefer to use the time wisely and write more books.
    Does that make me a dinosaur?
    I like to think of it as making a rational choice.

    • Hi there Toynbeesaurus – I see exactly what you mean. Most of this ‘social media’ stuff is sooooo very time consuming. I have to admit to largely ignoring my Facebook pages – and most of the other stuff too.
      I belong to a lot, but cannot find the energy, enthusiasm, or willpower to deal most of it.
      I have not yet gathered why it is all so important.
      Nathan at The Writers Codex describes it as hot air. At the moment I am inclined to think the same.
      Love the blog, probably the best thing I have ever done with regard to my writing, and I include going on writing courses in that. The blog inspires me to write, allows me to vent, to have writer-y-friends, to read other people’s work and to show some of mine off. Most of that is very satisfying.
      Everything else seems like that hot air.

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