Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How I Use Twitter

Most writers know Twitter is a necessity nowadays. It's one of the easiest ways to get out of your isolation and visit with other authors (and other types of people) the world over. And, of course, with so many people using the service, there are plenty of thoughts on how to use Twitter. Some people say you should never "pimp" your work, while others do nothing but. Some people say you should not post more than two or three tweets a day, while others post more than that a minute. And, of course, most are in between those extremes. So is the way I use Twitter the best? No, of course not. I'm simply giving you insight into how I choose to tweet. If you take a few tips from it, great! If not, hey, at least you get a little bit of insight into me. And I know writers (and people in general) love these little looks into other lives.

I follow a ton of people. I do this because I follow back writers. What this means is that if someone follows me, and they look like they are a writer from their description, I will follow back. I'm now following over 2000 people, so there's no way I could keep up with everyone. For this reason, I use TweetDeck. This lets me choose who's tweets I see. Because of this, I actually follow many less people than my actual follower count. So why do I do this rather than simply not follow so many people? This way, if someone does actually want to get in touch with me, and I'm not following them on TweetDeck, they still can quite easily. And, of course, I can add them to my TweetDeck easy, as well. My TweetDeck people are a mix of those I've friended (mostly through the Friday Flash community) through the years, and those who have interacted with me.

So how does one go about getting on my TweetDeck list and actually being read by me? If I don't already count you as a social media friend, you need to interact with me. If you retweet one of my posts or interact with me about something I've posted, I'll add you to TweetDeck, usually right away. I also occasionally will go to the Twitter home page and take ten to fifteen minutes to scroll through my unedited timeline. If I see someone who I don't already follow on TweetDeck making an interesting post, I'll check out more tweets by that person. If what they post isn't all retweets and/or a constant stream of self-promotion, I'll add them to my TweetDeck. I think this is a good tip for everyone. People will be much more receptive of your self-promotion (i.e. more likely to not only retweet you to their followers, but also actively go and check out your link to your blog post, book on Amazon, or whatever) if you add in other types of tweets. For example, I post about my writing life, my exercise life, tell occasional jokes, and other things that don't require a link. Things like this go a long way, not only with me, but I'm guessing many other people using Twitter. Post your links, just not every time you send a tweet.

Now you might be asking how often I read and post. Probably not enough, but it is what it is. I try to log onto TweetDeck at least a couple times a day. Ideally, and I often do this, when I'm on the Internet, I have TweetDeck open. Depending on how much time I have (or how I'm feeling that day), I may or may not read all of the tweets that are there when I log in. Probably about half the time I simply erase what's already posted (maybe reading a few of the most recent tweets in my columns) and read the new tweets that come in. I do, however, read all of the new ones that come in while I'm online. I usually post one or two self-promoting tweets when I'm on, either blog posts, recently published short stories, or links to my books. I also try to post funny things (my current favorite is posting a page from my one-a-day "You might be a redneck if..." calendar), updates on my writing (not links, but what I'm doing), updates on runs I've taken, other jokes, or whatever else strikes my fancy at the moment. I do try to retweet other people, though I probably don't do this enough. It's a fine line, really. If you retweet too much, people ignore your other posts, but if you don't do it enough, people don't pay back the retweets by retweeting your self-promotion links. It doesn't seem to be a set formula to me, so I vary how often I retweet.

As I said at the beginning, I'm not trying to change the way anyone uses Twitter, I'm simply offering insight into how I use it. If you take anything away from this post, great! If not, thanks for reading. If you don't already follow me on Twitter and would like to, here's a link to me: @ericjkrause If I already know you from another medium (including real life), I'll add you to my TweetDeck right away. If I don't, you saw above how you can get onto my TweetDeck. I hope you enjoyed this inside look into my Twitter habit!