The Non-Writer’s Guide to a Writer’s World: (Part One) Twitter
Twitter is a fantastic platform, in my opinion, and one that many people don’t seem to understand. I’m often met with blank stares from my non-writer friends (who are also incidentally not on Twitter) when they learn I’m on Twitter, “What do you do on there? Isn’t it just a waste of time?” they all ask.
Most writers I’ve met, on the other hand, know what it’s all about. It’s almost considered a sin not to be on Twitter. They’re quick to ask me my handle (username) and to pull out their phones to search for me. I do the same.
So for those curious, here’s a quick guide to the wonderful world of Twitter from a writer’s perspective:
As a disclaimer, however, I must admit I have no idea what ‘normal’ people (non-writers and those without businesses) do on Twitter. I can’t imagine what they’d Tweet about (but I will investigate) mostly because I’m always at a loss about what to Tweet when I’m not writing (which, more often than not, leads to me Tweeting about not writing).
“What is Twitter?”
Twitter is a social media network wherein you can send out 140 character messages known as ‘Tweets’ to those subscribed to you (or in Twitter terms, those ‘following’ you) and, by extension, the internet. According to Twitter’s website, a ‘Tweet’ is ‘an expression of a moment or idea’.
“What do you Tweet about?”
Personally it depends on my day but in one word: writing. But that’s expected, after all I call myself a writer, do I not?
To expand on the answer above: I tweet when I’m writing and about my writing, what I’m reading and how I’m finding it, articles or posts that interest me and my everyday frustrations (to show I’m human as well as to vent a little).
There’s a real sense of community with all the writers on Twitter; it helps to know you’re not alone in your anxieties or your frustrations and to find others who are, at that moment, in the same boat as you.
You build friendships, connections, an audience, a presence and a community, one you can’t find anywhere else. And you learn how to write more concisely—140 characters isn’t a lot.
You shouldn’t, however, join just for the things stated above. I know social media is perceived to be very important in this day and age and there’s a humongous pressure to join all the social media sites, but at the end of the day Twitter is supposed to be a fun way to interact ‘in the moment’. If it’s a chore, or you think it will be, put some more thought into it—could the time you’re going to spend torturing yourself on Twitter be time better spent writing?
And that brings us the final question; “Is Twitter worth it?”
Yes, but only if you make it so.
Through Twitter you have the potential to connect to thousands of writers, readers, publishers, editors and thinkers, people you might not otherwise be exposed to but in the end it’s still something you have to work for.
I love Twitter; through it I’ve met some amazing people and received daily encouragement to write. I quite honestly don’t think I’d still be writing today if I hadn’t joined Twitter all those years ago!
Are you on Twitter? What are your thoughts?
The wonderful photo is by Garrett Heath