Tweeting Like a Bird

By Maria Giordano
Killer Nashville Staff

When I first encountered Twitter, I veered onto the twitter-sphere highway flush with skepticism. I posted a link here, a witty comment there. I connected with a few people and discovered that the whole endeavor was a bit of a time-suck and abandoned it with flair.

I mean, 140 characters or less? Pshaw!

But times have changed, or better said, I have changed my thinking since.

It happened when, as a reporter for a local newspaper, I was following an accident that occurred on a major thoroughfare near my office. Right away, people I knew, law enforcement officers and other reporters were sharing real-time posts. It was that friendly, hint, hint, nudge, nudge, to other folks in the Twitter-sphere area not to drive towards what was a major traffic jam.

It was good advice, and I learned an important lesson. When I tweeted, people followed to learn what I learned, and I followed back to learn what they learned. It was like peanut butter and jelly. I became better connected to a different kind of community and I gained followers. Before too long, I was getting more information from Tweets than actual phone conversations. Strange, I know.

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All kinds of writers need Twitter. Besides the fact that it is a fun puzzle to unlock – try dropping a heavy concept in 140 characters – it’s a great way to reach likeminded people, other writers, authors, agents, and publishers. It also provides a simple, easy way to promote.

Courtney Seiter, Content Crafter for Bufferapp.com, explained it like this, “Publishers want someone who is willing to work with them and carry a bit of the weight when it comes to book publicity, and Twitter is one of the easiest ways to create or tap into a community that’s interested in what you have to say as a writer.”

Courtney said that she had recently spoken with a writer that told her that a publisher asked about her Twitter following.

A decent-sized and relatively engaged Twitter following provides a bit of social proof to a publisher, she added. “It’s also awesome for fans of your work to feel the personal connection to a writer that Twitter provides.”

But Twitter is an interesting animal. You want to grow your followers and it’s not always the easiest thing to do. Here are some ideas:

  • Start with people you know. Then, branch out, follow other writers you may have heard of and, of course, businesses in the writing and publishing community. You’ll find that others will follow you back. Twitter offers up columns of folks to follow as well.
  • Give people a taste of who you are. “I just ate a sandwich” might work for Chef Mario Batali, but not for everyone. Stick to what you know. Offer links to your work. Share your latest success.
  • Keep your posts tasteful. Remember, you are building awareness around your name and your work.
  • Most importantly? Have a little fun.

Co-Pilot Family posted a tweet recently that said “You’ve gotta dance like nobody’s watching, but post like somebody is.”

Follow us on Twitter. (@KillerNashville) We will even follow back!