Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'll admit I'm not the techie-minded get-every-new-gadget and do-every-new-computer-thingy type person. Hey, I'm still patting my own back for getting on Facebook. (And am finally managing not to make an idiot of myself.) And yes, in case you hadn't noticed, I do blog. So there. But this Twitter business ...

Thing is, everybody seems to be doing it. From authors to agents to corporate execs like Michael Hyatt. I just don't get it.

On one author loop these past few days we've been discussing Twitter. Okay, they've been discussing. I've been lurking. And thinking what any self-respecting, calamity-minded suspense author would think: Twitter is a stalker's dream come true.

I gotta write a novel about that some day.

So why does this Twitter thing keep tweeting at me? Because as a self-respecting, marketing-minded suspense author, I can't help but notice when other writers say things like:

My blog feeds to Twitter help pull in new blog readers.
Networking through Twitter has helped me sell books/get freelance writing jobs/etc.
Twitter has gotten me interviews regarding my latest release

Now I do understand that you shouldn't actively market on Twitter. Quite the opposite. You join to build community. But ya gotta admit, it's sort of like the old Rotary Club. Good ol' Bob The Insurance Guy didn't actively hit up Rotarians to buy insurance, but you can bet when members needed new policies, they gave the guy a call.

But Tweople (Twitter People, if you have to ask) Twitter all day long. How do they find the time? Why does anybody care what they have to say? When I think of having to Twitter three or four times a day, even more--as if book deadlines and regular blogging isn't enough--all I think is "more pressure to be creative." And besides, I have a confession to make. Come closer, 'cause I'm only going to say this once. In a whisper.

I'm really a very boring person.

Here's what my Twitters would look like:

10:27 a.m.: Sitting in my office at the computer
2:42 p.m.: Sitting in my office at the computer
5:36 p.m. Sitting in my office at the computer

I will take a break to make dinner if my husband's not traveling for business. If he's gone, my evening Twitter would read:

7:34 p.m. Sitting in my office at the computer

Who would care? And why should I care about other people's daily minutiae? All the same, I hear about all this Tweople Twappiness and Twoy, and I feel like I've been left out of the Twarty.

What's a girl to do?


Amy said...

I resisted twitter for the longest time for many of the same reasons. But I'm so glad I caved, b/c I really feel like my online (and some IRL) friendships have been strengthened as a result. btw, as far as twittering all day long, you can set it up to send out as text messages from your phone and on your computer you can get an application that will just let you know when someone's updated.

Give it a boring self will follow your boring self. :) It's fascinating how stream of consciousness thoughts get responses!

Grady Houger said...

Ah Twitter, that new thing. I think all you observations are valid Brandilyn. For me, just like Facebook, I'm not going to do it until "everyone" else is too. I think it's popular for bunch of different reasons.
One is the internet infinite entertainment factor. There are several news sites I go back to several times a day just to see if a new item has been posted. If I let myself do Twitter and RSS stuff, I'd spend all day reading updates.

Also, I think many people are far lonelier than they let on. Twitter's a way to participate in something with other people, its a cross between forum posting and chat. I've been tempted to get into Twitter to develop an avenue for saying clever things so people will think I'm cool.

Like you mentioned Brandilyn, people use it for networking. The banality becomes an accepted shared experience, everyones in it together, and when something interesting comes up, the twitter conversation is already in progress and ready to go. Its like a party that never ends!

At the level of basic communication, I think Twitter is popular because people love to talk about themselves, and like to know whats going on with others. I'm one of the most interesting people I know, and when I'm chatting with people IRL, whats the first query? "How's it going, what'cha been up to?" Twitter lets people provide that all the time.

Or so I surmise, I don't use/read Twitters, so maybe I'm off base.

If you start Twittering Brandilyn, that will push you Twitterless readers one more association closer to joining in! The choice is yours!

Jill said...

When I first heard of Twitter I thought as you did: unless I'm a stalker, why would I care? Even my family doesn't want to know all the little meaningless things I do every day. It just seems weird to me. And where do they find the time? It's like reality television on the computer--except there's no editors to weed out the boring parts and put it into a one-hour format.

Richard Mabry said...

I'm with you. You may have noticed my comment on that same authors' blog: I'm a technophobe. No, I don't write with a yellow legal pad, and I'm pretty computer-savvy. But I don't have an iPhone, I don't have to have the latest gadgets, and I don't even have a Facebook page...yet. Maybe I'll get there, but Twitter does indeed seem like inviting a reality TV crew into my life.
Besides that, I keep hearing my high school English teacher quoting, "Be not the first to take the new untried, nor yet the last to cast the old aside." So, maybe someday. But not yet.

Jay Ehret said...

I like your analogy of the Rotary Club.

Like other commenters here, I resisted at first. Be forewarned, though, once you get started you will find yourself checking Twitter constantly.

I use it as a networking tool for other bloggers and marketers. It's a group that can't be found hanging out at the local Starbucks, but we can all hang out together on Twitter.

Pam Meyers said...

Brandilyn, in a moment of weakness I clicked on the Twitter link one day that was on an author's blog and signed up. Then I forgot about it. Still the emails popped into my mailbox that people I knew were following me. And I hadn't ever posted a notice to the thing. The other day after reading all the discussion on that other loop I went onto my account and looked at it. How on earth do you do what people say they do. I try looking for people to follow and put in names. I get an error message saying the feature isn't working. I try to upload my photo and it never uploads.

Twitter doesn't like me. LOL And I have no idea how it builds your blog readership. I can't find a page that explains anything at all!

Not usual for me, a person who can figure out most techie things.

Eric Wilson said...

I'm on Twitter, but I don't really get it. It's just one more thing in a long list of online diversions and things to keep up with. I have this thing called a job--writing--and I don't know how others get anything done.

Sorry. My Twitter account is mostly dormant. Spying on others' activities is about all I do on their anymore.

Cindy Thomson said...

I'm with you, Brandilynn, and many others who commented here. I just got on Facebook, and now this. I'm going to resist for a while too (maybe forever). It's a temptation that I really feel would keep me from writing. I'm going to keep following the advice that the way to sell books is to write a really great book. That takes time and commitment, and requires that I resist distractions that take me away from that goal. For me, I know that Twitter would be a big distraction. I know that because Facebook is already doing that to me.

Kim Vogel Sawyer said...

Well, call me twitterpated, because I've never even heard of Twitter. We grammas are always the last to know...

Pam Halter said...

The more we do things like Twitter and Facebook, the less we are writing.

I do enjoy Facebook and could spend ALL DAY on it, if I kept track of ALL my friends. I could gaze for hours at Flair buttons. I could play for days with all the "gifts" you can send and groups you can join. But I don't. I try to keep it simple, check on some things, read the blogs I'm interested in and then get to my manuscript.

I am going to start a blog, hopefully this week, although I'm kind of nervous about it. That will take enough of my time without adding Twitter to it.

I suppose you could try it and then quit if it's not working?

Ane Mulligan said...

I'm with you. In fact I only recently went back to Facebook with the firm resolve I will NOT give in to pokes, prods, gifts, drinks, or causes. If I did, I'd never get a book out. They can be time-robbers. I'm simply there to build a community.

So please don't be offended when I ignore you, other than a friendship request, or to answer a note. It's not just you. I'm an equal-opportunity offender.

My Two Blessings said...

You know what the definition of twitter is, right - to utter a succession of small, tremulous sounds, as a bird or to talk lightly and rapidly, esp of trivial matters. Do I really want to twitter like a bird about nothing at all? It's not for me. :)

Robin of mytwoblessings

Stuart said...

I just use twitter as a way to quicky and easily post short news items to my website through a nice little tool they provide.

Laura Christianson said...

Uh oh. Appears you've got a lot of anti-Twitterers! I feel compelled to announce that I do Tweet and find it useful.

My biz partner and I opened a Twitter account several months ago to lurk and see how Twitter might help us promote our blogging, writing, and marketing business.

At first, I rarely updated because I wondered who in their right mind would care that I was sitting at my computer at 7 a.m., 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. (just like you, Brandilyn!). And we only had two followers, so no one really did care.

Then I started following a few marketers, authors, and marketing bloggers on Twitter and learning from them. They posted all kinds of cool stuff that I could use - links to helpful blog articles, ideas for how to build my business, etc.

I began doing the same and people started following us in droves (if you call a jump from 2 to 45 to 80 to 141 followers a "drove." And can "drove" be singular? I don't think so).

Anyway, I limit myself to about 10 minutes a day on Twitter (okay...20) and I post--and read others' posts--as I'm transitioning between projects. I view it as simultaneously taking a break and getting inspired for my next project.

Because Twitter allows you only 140 characters per post, it's impossible to get long-winded like I'm doing here. I view it as a challenging exercise in writing tight.

As with all marketing tools, I advise using Twitter in moderation. Use it to help you condense your thoughts and practice writing tight. Use it to get and share good ideas. Don't let Twitter time take over writing time.

Give Twitter a 3-month trial period. Who might discover you like it.

Laura Christianson

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Thanks for all the comments! Laura, I appreciate your thoughtful feedback.

We're going to look further at Twitter tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally with you. The Twitter comments are soooo BORING! I don't care that someone went to the grocery store. I can think of few famous people whose Twitter I'd want to read (Madonna, Queen Elizabeth), so I know mine will not be interesting to anyone, including me. I'd rather have my time. As a teacher, I can see this voyeuristic attitude growing and growing. Our kids don't know anything different than all access. To them, nothing is off limits. Everything private is public.
Off to clean a toilet and know no one cares. . . ; )

Julie Carobini said...

Last week I got an email that someone was twittering about moi. Fortunately, it was all good, Lol.. Now that I've heard how stellar the conversations are, I just might sign up :))

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

I reluctantly signed up for Twitter a month or so ago, and still don't see the point. My Twitters would be much like yours, Brandilyn, only it would be my office at work. I've caught a few interesting links on Twitter, but still only visit a few times a week.

Facebook, on the other hand, I keep up in one of my browser tabs nearly every minute I'm online. My friends list includes people I knew growing up, co-workers, people at church, and writers with whom I have some personal connection. People are easy to find, links only take a few seconds to post and can include comments and pictures, and my news feed gives me exactly the info I want with preference settings.

I may try to figure out something that'll post my Facebook updates to Twitter, but I still have the feeling that I'll only visit Twitter when I'm bored.

The Surrendered Scribe said...

I see both sides. I resisted thinking who is going to care that instead of writing I'm off to find a mocha? Turns out, I've made new friends and have been able to market others by tweeting what I'm reading at the moment. I also noticed on my blog with the Feedjit widget that I am getting hits on my blog off Twitter. That's one more person aware of my work than before.

I use Tweetdeck and turn the audio down to keep me disciplined. I do see some people obsessed with it, one kept up with tweets through childlabor!

For now, I'll let you know what I'm writing, blogging, reading, and sometimes thinking, but the finer details of life, I'll spare you all!

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hey Brandilyn,
I'm right there with ya. My hubby signed me up just so I could get his Twitters when he's playing disc golf. Amazingly a bunch of people are now following me, but I NEVER twitter. LOL! I can barely keep up with blogging. To add that, just to think about it, stresses me out. But I will admit I'm intrigued. Yet when my hubby says he gets about 100 tweets a day, my resolve to resist is strengthened again!

twiga92 said...

Resist, I tell you, resist! RRRUUUUNNNNN! LOL! I have found it very addicting. My life is incredibly boring anyway.