OK, so I’ve been doing this social media thing for a few weeks now and you know what? It still confuses the hell out of me. Here’s how my experience of twitter has gone so far:-
1) Join twitter and realise that you have absolutely nothing to say to the twitterati or tweeters of tweeps or whatever they’re called, but get a warm gooey feeling inside because you’ve finally taken the leap into social media. Ponder for hours what you should say- eaten up inside by your lack of mental agility. Who the heck would be interested in what you have to say anyway?…..
2) Write your first tweet- it’s not very interesting. It simply says “For a confirmed social network phobe I think I’m doing OK” because that’s bound to be how other people are feeling, right?. Sit and wait whilst trying to do other things (primarily writing your first novel).
3) Jump for joy when you get a notification that someone has followed you- then ponder why on earth they would……
4) Notice that every time you get a new follower you get an e-mail on your smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S3- hmmm…. lovely) Editors note– The author is not connected to or sponsored by Samsung electronics.
5) Start to check the phone every few seconds- looking for the tell tale blue notification light that tells you an e-mail has arrived- it could be another follower, oh wowser, it could be another follower!
6) Become so obsessed with the flashing blue light that you develop an almost Pavlovian response to it (no, you will be relieved to hear, I don’t drool….). It starts to go off every hour or so, which is really rather distracting…..
7) Cautiously look through twitter for people who share similar ideas and interests to you. Then realise that that’s gonna take an age……Get a little less particular. If they seem like nice people then they should be fine, right?
8) Get followed by lots of people who keep tweeting you the same message- ‘Follow me!’ or ‘Buy my book, buy my book!’
9) Read an article and realise that most of the people that are following you and keep tweeting the same message are not people at all- they’re ‘bots’. Oh my god….twitter has been taken over by robots. Quickly stop following these invasive machines- No I don’t want to follow you Mr. Roboto, I’ve watched the Matrix, you know…… I’ve seen where this all leads…..
10) Realise the guy that played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek is huge on twitter. How cool is that? Always wondered what happened to that bloke……
11) Remember you had a bit of a crush on Dr Crusher (that’s Wesley Crusher’s mum) from the Next Generation when you were much younger…..please don’t tell the wife!
12) Realise you had a crush on a Crusher (!)…..Ah Beverley, sweet Beverley
12.5) Realise you say realise alot in your blog. Gotta stop doing that! People will think you can’t write…….Which is probably true…..better check the thesaurus…..
13) Start to do this thing called ‘re-tweeting’. Become cognizant of just how rewarding this can be when people start to send you messages of thanks. OK, think I’m getting the hand of this- there are some really nice folks on twitter.
13) Shudder when you think how much time as an author these days must be directed towards building your ‘platform’ . Should be good at that – always been great at carpentry…. Some of these guys must spend an age every day just surfing and blogging and tweeting. Then discern that for many of them it is a full time job. Still a nitwit…..
14) Send messages back to people by addressing them @something- get quite worried that this might constitute an invasion of their privacy.
15) Become conscious of the fact that it is not an invasion of privacy to send a tweet to someones @thingy- infact it can be the right thing to do. That’s what you think, sucka.
16) Get annoyed with people who follow you and then unfollow you as soon as you follow them back. What’s that all about, huh?
17) Wonder why some people seem to spend all their time promoting their books rather than helping people or just mooching around twitter. Then grasp that these people use their computers to send out automated tweets. Is there anyone on twitter that’s actually human?
18) Figure out what a # does. Sent some tweets with the #amwriting thingy, then feel really guilty in case you’re trespassing in some kind of private club. Cigar and a brandy, anyone?
18) Happily realise that there are actually loads of real humans just like you in the twitterverse. Well maybe not just like you- they probably have brains and I bet they can write…..
Advice from a social media phobe who’s new to all this? Enjoy twitter for what it is. Do everything you can to help people along by re-tweeting and all the other stuff I don’t really understand (favourite, anyone?). Don’t bombard people with advertising or hype or marketing for your book. Take it easy- make a few friends and try to keep the marketing down to 20% of your activity. Oh so now you’re an expert, eh? If you see something good, share it- but don’t expect anything in return and don’t get upset if you don’t get any help in return. Look up altruism in the dictionary- it’s not a given that it’s a two way street…..
Long live the twitterverse (if that’s even what it’s called….).
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