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What’s your take on Twitter?


I created a Twitter account last year – I wanted to ensure I had the one for ‘JonGibbs’ if and when I needed it.

Although I haven’t yet tweeted or followed anyone [until today, that is], I can see its usefulness. The 140-character per message limit makes for short, sharp newsflashes, perfect for those ‘Just updated my blog/website’; ‘Heard the news?’; ‘Saw this great post. Here’s the link:’ kind of notices.

 From what I can tell, you follow other folks (thereby receiving all their tweets), and hopefully they follow you back – a bit like the friending system on Live Journal. If you want to, you can even sift out the ‘Just ate my bagel’ crowd from the more interesting tweeters by way of http://www.tweetdeck.com

Personally, I still haven’t decided if the benefits outweigh the effort involved. Creating the account is one thing, but keeping up with everyone’s tweets seems like a lot of additional work, but then again, I may be misunderstanding what’s expected of you on Twitter eg: Are you supposed to respond to other folk’s tweets or is it acceptable to ignore them?

With that in mind, I thought I’d conduct a little poll on the subject:
 

Poll #1522130 Twitter

Please pick the sentence which best describes your use of Twitter:

I make tweet announcements at least a few times every week.
22(40.0%)
I tweet every now and then, but usually in response to others.
3(5.5%)
I never tweet, but I follow a bunch of people.
0(0.0%)
I have an account but never use it.
8(14.5%)
I don’t have an account.
21(38.2%)

For those who do have an account, what difference has Twitter made to the amount of traffic you get at your blog/website?

It’s made a big difference.
8(22.2%)
It’s made little or no difference.
9(25.0%)
I don’t know.
19(52.8%)

For those who don’t have (or don’t use) a Twitter account, please pick the sentence which best describes why that’s the case:

I can’t see the point of Twitter.
10(34.5%)
It's of no use to me at present.
4(13.8%)
I’m happy with just using my blog/website.
11(37.9%)
I have/used to have an account, but I stopped using it (feel free to elaborate in the comments below).
3(10.3%)


Thanks in advance for taking part. 

If you have any opinions about Twitter (especially on how you think it should be used), I’d love to hear them.


ETA:  Feel free to share your Twitter name in a comment for others to follow if they wish. 


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Comments

( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
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phoenixfirewolf
Feb. 6th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
So, I follow a bunch of writers on Twitter... however a lot of them have linked their twitters to their Facebooks, so I don't get on twitter much. I have to be careful about my time. Trying to be a "full time" writer (not published of course) and have a more than full time day job. I think it's a valuable tool if used properly. Also you aren't required to respond to every tweet. Just ones that interest you. I think tweetdeck is probably a good tool. I just haven't taken the time to learn how to use it.

I followed you on Twitter. PFWolf and PFWolfmuses. I'm not active... but now you're followed :)
jongibbs
Feb. 6th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Julie :)
sandy_williams
Feb. 6th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
I think the etiquette on Twitter is to try to respond to people who @ you. Once you start following 50+ people, it's impossible to keep of with all the tweets, so you shouldn't feel obligated to read everything. No one is going to think you're ignoring them (unless they @ you a few times and you never respond).

I thought I'd hate Twitter, but I broke down a while back and joined with the intention of only following agents and a few select writers. Yeah, that didn't last long. I kept finding interesting people.

One thing that you shouldn't do with Twitter is use it solely as a promotional tool. People who only tweet when they have a book release or a review kind of bother me. If they also tweeted about other things - books they like, they're writing progress, etc. - and responded to others, then it's cool to promote yourself. Think of it like sitting in a coffee shop with a bunch of writers. Every one else is talking and supporting each other and having a good time, then this one writer, the only one who's silent, suddenly speaks up and says, "My Great American Novel just got a 5 star review!" Kind of annoying and random.

jongibbs
Feb. 6th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip (and the @ tweet).

I agree about the importance of engaging, rather than advertising. Just like with a blog, I think it's a mistake to do nothing but promote your latest product/interview/blog post on something like Twitter .
tchernabyelo
Feb. 6th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
I couldn't match any answer to the first section. I only recently started using Twitter and my posts are currently limited to announcements of submissions and responses. Whether I start to use it beyond that or not, I don't know. At the moment I really don't find it interesting - most of the tweets I see are retweets and links (which only rarely indicate what they are of/for so I don't click on), neither of which seem to be very exciting.
jongibbs
Feb. 6th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input :)

There sure seem to be a lot of uses for Twitter.
jennifer_brozek
Feb. 6th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
Twitter has been really good for me. I use it both as a personal account and as a professional networking tool. So far I have:

1. Networked with a number of authors, editors and publishers.
2. Gotten two paying writing contracts from Twitter posts.
3. Hired an artist for one of my anthologies using Twitter.

I think it is an excellent tool.
jongibbs
Feb. 6th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
Especially if they're getting you writing contracts (and someone else an artwork contract).

Thanks for sharing, Jennifer :)
musingaloud
Feb. 6th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
Time Management. I have enough going on and enough distractions already without adding in more. Twitter will have to get along without me.
jongibbs
Feb. 7th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)
I can see how it could became a time-eater, if you let it. It's like asakiyume mentioned above, about feeling compelled to answer a ringing telephone.
slweippert
Feb. 7th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
I use twitter (@slweippert) when writing for modivation. I was talked into trying it by Dina James (@dinajames)and Julie Butcher (@jimsissy) and it works for me. Julie runs a tag called #wordathon that is a week or weekend contest on who can write the most words. The writers I found on twitter have helped me alot and I follow some agents/editors who post good publishing advice too.
I think it's a good thing and will continue to use it. If you decide to try it, I strongly advise downloading Tweetdeck (what I use) or something similiar, since twitter's website is not useful IMO.

P.S. If you try it, follow me so I can follow you back! :D
jongibbs
Feb. 7th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Stephanie :)

It would appear that something like Tweetdeck is essential, I'll definitely look into it.
wordsrmylife
Feb. 7th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
I started my Twitter account 2 weeks ago, after hearing David Dobbs talk about how he came to the decision to make Twitter part of his professional presence. If you like, I'll dig out my notes from his talk and give you the very rational analysis he presented. It was convincing. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered.
jongibbs
Feb. 7th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Sounds great, Katherine, but if you have the time, why not make a blog post about David's talk? I'm sure there are plenty of other folks who'd love to know what David had to say, and to hear your own thoughts on the subject.

What's your Twitter name?
mikandra
Feb. 7th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
I have an account in the name of pattyjansen

I hardly know what I'd do without Twitter. I hate Facebook and all its inane games, but many people are on it, and Twitter allows me to be on Facebook without actually being on it. It cross-posts my Twitter messages to Facebook, and I can read Facebook as well (using Tweetdeck).

Twitter usually runs in the background while I'm working (make sure you turn the new message alert in Tweetdeck OFF). I often check it when I'm between things, and this is how I've found out about countless things I would never have known otherwise. I don't have time to wade through all the blogs I find remotely interesting, but when people post a link on Twitter, I may have a quick look when the blog subject sounds interesting.

Through Twitter, I have:
- won a couple of books in competitions held by publishers
- found out about more than a few short story markets, and submitted to them
- found out closure times, and opening times for magazines I follow
- heard about the status of their slush pool (i.e. up until what date they'd processed slush)
- found out about literary agents actively interested in expanding their client base
- been asked to send my manuscript to a publisher
- found out the lotto draw when the lotto site was down
- heard about major things that had happened (locally and world-wide) long before the regular media started reporting it

And this is just outside the obvious social function. If you post links to blog entries, you get a lot more hits.

I think a blog, a Facebook account and Twitter are not replacements for each other. They enhance each other.
jongibbs
Feb. 7th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
It looks like you've got a lot out of it already.

Thanks for sharing :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Feb. 8th, 2010 12:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Jenn :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Feb. 8th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Re: focus. I know what you mean. I've decided to give it a go, but I really don't want to let it become a time-eater.

Thanks for the input :)
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