Blogging is one of my ways to avoid talking directly with people because I can ramble on for however long I want to without getting interrupted. Then I get a few comments from friends and fellow bloggers and a couple of shares on Twitter throughout the week. But there's not much I have to do once I click "Publish" on a post. It's nice.
Facebook is pretty easy to handle since it's very low maintenance and I only have to post a few times a week. I don't like spamming people with random stuff that they may or may not have interest in. Especially since I don't have a published book yet and I don't have a ton to offer except for blog posts and funny writing jokes.
But Twitter is hard. It's all about quick interactions and hashtags. I don't understand hashtags! I don't like interacting with people! I'm slow! I'm not brief! I don't like bombarding people with post after post about myself! But it seems to be an essential part of gaining a following as an author and befriending other authors.
Here's my guide to surviving Twitter (for people starting out who don't understand Twitter, written by a person who doesn't understand Twitter but is somehow surviving):
- Figure out hashtags! The use of a hashtag is a great thing. It's how your posts gain attention. Anything can be a hashtag, but if you want to get attention, likes, and retweets, try to use specific ones that are popular and are frequently searched. Posts without hashtags are not seen. Not until you have a large following. When you're starting out, hashtags are helpful.
- Know which hashtags to use and when! Participating in twitter hashtag events such as #quill on Tuesdays and #FF (follow Friday) on Fridays. A friend and I started #Friday5th, where you share the 5th line of random pages of your WIP. It gained a bit of popularity with NaNoWriMo. Other events I participate in are #1lineWed where you post lines from your WIP based on a theme every Wednesday, and the everyday #amwriting, #amediting, and my personal favorite #writerproblems.
- Follow people! Whether you know them or not, as long as you are interested in what they post, follow them! It can't hurt. Following others gets them interested in you and could end up in you getting more followers.
- Tweet often! Twitter is all about spamming** people with as many posts as possible when you can. Post about yourself or your work. Be casual or be formal. Twitter is all about having fun.
- Retweet! As often as possible! Twitter isn't only about you trying to get attention. Everyone else is trying to gain followers and get their stuff out there. Sharing what others write motivates them to keep going, and it brings their attention back to you and can bring up more retweets of your own posts. These interactions make Twitter the social network that it is.
- Use pictures! Pictures are fun and grab more attention than hashtags. They're pretty and they break up the monotonous lines of black words and tweets. Add in some variety! Post comics, quotes, selfies, whatever you want!
- Have fun! Twitter is all about having fun and posting whatever. Don't stress about it. Post what you want and just enjoy it. It's not as stressful as it seems.
**Posting an edit because I think this post needs a bit of clarification. When I say spamming, I mean fairly frequent and regular tweeting of new and original posts. The actual meaning of spamming is to post the same thing and the same links over and over again. That is annoying. Don't do that**
Twitter is scary and overwhelming, but it's also fun. If I can do it, then you can do it too.