How are you tweeting today?

by limebirdkate

When I first came on the social media scene, I had trouble understanding the purpose of Twitter. Initially, it seemed like a silly, one-sided form of communication where most people “tweeted” their own horns, so to speak. I felt like nothing meaningful was being accomplished. Twitter seemed like one long-winded ego-fest.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Twitter is a real-time information network that connects users to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news. Twitter users can follow accounts they find most compelling and follow the conversations, or threads. The stream of information can be helpful because it’s up-to-the-minute, constant, and from a wide range of sources.

Even though I signed up for an account and started following people, fulfilling my social media duty, it took a long time before I figured out how to best use Twitter.

I went to a writer’s workshop last year, and the speaker discussed why it was important for writers to use Twitter. He said that particular social network was like ham radio for writers. By tweeting twice or more a day, your information is constantly on the feed, receiving high exposure.

But for those of us not ready or willing to use Twitter solely as a marketing tool, how else can we use it to our advantage?

Twitter users must condense their thoughts, messages, advertisements into 140 characters or less, called Tweets, before they can send it soaring into Twitterspace. In this day and age of brevity, I find that Twitter can help us practice writing information-packed, punchy sentences. And when you exceed the 140-character limit, you must edit – another indispensable tool for writers.

A fun way to practice your writing via Twitter is to craft a 140-character-long story. Limebird Writers has such an account, @limebirdstories. Follow us to see what stories this flock of writers can spin.

Or, if the 140-character-long stories sounds too daunting but you’re still interested in building some Twitter relationships, feel free to follow any Limebird:

@limebirdwriters – Main Limebird account

@beho9 – LimebirdBeth

@Ottabelle – LimebirdAmber

@Cat_Mercer – LimebirdCat

@DennisMLane – LimebirdDennis

@4amWriter – LimebirdKate

@loudogg2055 – LimebirdLaura

@neekswrite – LimebirdNeeks

@ravenmarlow – LimebirdRaven

@juststatic – LimebirdSophie

@sterby_ – LimebirdSter

@VanessaJ2011 – LimebirdVanessa

Do you use Twitter? What is your tweeting experience like?

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54 Comments to “How are you tweeting today?”

  1. Great post!

    I too joined twitter and then sat wondering what for… It was only months later that I really joined in.

    On the speaker’s point “By tweeting twice or more a day, your information is constantly on the feed, receiving high exposure.” I agree, but it is important that one doesn’t just tweet about one’s own product (whatever that is) as that is a sure way to chase people away. It is also important to be a part of the conversation.

    I actually have three Twitter accounts, my personal one (above) plus the one for my science fiction imprint (the Terran Dream Archive) and now one for my voice acting/narration service. I have to admit that it can be difficult being a part of the conversation with all three!

    • Hey Dennis,

      Wow, three accounts! That would be more than I can handle, but it certainly makes sense from a marketing point of view. Absolutely, I can’t stand the tweeters who use this venue as a way to push sales. In fact, if that is all I get from someone (direct messages can be abused for this reason), then I unfollow them.

      I don’t use Twitter regularly enough to know all the ins and outs, and perhaps when I need it to build my platform further, I will explore it more. But right now, it’s good for just writing practice.

  2. Really thought provoking post Kate! I too agree that Twitter is a great way to network with other writers and hone our skills. I also have three accounts that I mainly look after like Dennis. My personal, Limebird and the stories. It can be a lot, but I enjoy it! I like the succinctness of Twitter in comparison to Facebook.

    • Hey Beth,

      Gosh, another person with 3 accounts! I don’t think I was the right Limebird to post about Twitter, 😉 Twitter is a lot to take on, and I don’t use it as regularly as some people. I’m a dip-your-toes-in type of gal anyway. I always need to stake out things before I jump on board full throttle.

      I like how fellow bloggers tweet about each other’s posts. I think that’s a really nice way to use Twitter without swamping the feeds with self-promotion.

  3. I think most people can relate to that initial confusion about what the point of it is, and then later you either get it or you don’t! I went through a period of using Twitter quite a bit, and loving it, but when I started getting more active in the blogging world, Twitter is the thing that gave because I just don’t have the time to do all of it. I now tend to just tweet when I’ve done a new blog post, or I’ll respond if somebody tweets something at me. I’d like to get more involved with it again, but I find when I go on there, it can be a real time zapper just reading all the tweets in your feed!

    • Hi Vanessa,

      I agree. Twitter is one of those venues that either works for your style or it doesn’t. I can’t stand it when people DM me with their product. I will unfollow them if they do it. I too love retweeting someone else’s tweet or blog post, as a way of helping that fellow blogger out. And I need to do that more often, actually. I think it’s one of those venues that can work if we figure out how to use it our own way, but consistently.

  4. Twitter and the age of disposable sentences. I’ve used Twitter, but I’ve never enjoyed it.

    Twitter is just a constant stream of meaningless headlines with no substance. For the most part; low quality, high-speed transmissions. Rather than languishing on “fast-food” quick and dirty quips, we should be spending that effort constructing meaningful paragraphs that will stand the test of time.

    I think it should be renamed to Writer’s Bane.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Kate! I hope you don’t mind my rather alternative point of view 😀

    • All views are welcome, Scree 🙂 And I really do agree with your take on it. I don’t like how a lot of people use Twitter to push their product, especially when they DM me to follow them, or buy their book, or vote for them. So, I unfollow them. Now if a fellow blogger who I’d engaged in conversations with had asked me to review their book, that’s different. For me, I’m all about relationships. Twitter can be really fake.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Thanks for demystifying Tweeting. I don’t have a Tweet account and probably won’t get one (even though I know as a new author I’m bucking the technology system). I caved in and opened up a Facebook account. My instinct is to close it, but I’ve been talked into keeping it open for a while. Blogging seems to suit me best.

    While I understand the value to pithy messages to potentially scads of people, I’m wired in a different way. Blogging allows me to express myself and develop relationships that feel real. I spend so much time doing this that I barely have time to do other things that are important to me (like starting my next book and have a life).

    My sense is that fully utilizing all these social networking outlets is a full-time job.

    • Hi Lorna,

      I prefer blogging to tweeting a hundred times over, too. As I said to LordScree above, I’m all about the relationships, and Twitter doesn’t lend itself well to that. And I don’t have enough time for Twitter to make it something that matters. However, what I do like about it that helps me cultivate my blogging relationships is that I can tweet about a post that a fellow blogger made, or retweet a friend’s message. In that way, Twitter is helpful.

      And yes, social networking is like raising and nurturing half a dozen children. Most definitely a full-time job. 🙂

  6. This has been really helpful. Although I’ve created an account, I have yet to use Twitter the way it’s intended. At the moment it feels like “one more thing” to pack into my day. I’m sure eventually I’ll find a purpose for it that suits me and I’ll figure out how to fit it in.

    • Hey Gwen,

      We each have to find our own best use of Twitter, just like any social media venue. And you’re spot on–it is one more thing to pack into your day. It’s not easy, and it takes up a lot of time and attention. Another way to use Twitter is to promote your friends, so perhaps that’s something to think about.

      Thanks for commenting.

  7. I have to vary my Tweet times more. I tend to Tweet first thing in the a.m. Well, if I’m pushing something (book, blog post, review) that’s only going to catch the folks that are on in that time frame. I have to remember to re-tweet later in the day or early evening. But, I agree, if all I seem from someone is that they’re pushing their own agenda, I tend to not pay attention to them any more. Still, I’ve had some great back and forth conversations with people. Sometimes, however, given Twitter’s nature, it’s hard to tell who is saying what to whom when there are several involved.

    • Hey Kathi,

      There is a service that can help you tweet at different times throughout the day — and of course I am blanking on the name. Hopefully my lovely supervisor knows what I am talking about, and will comment here with the info. Anyway, you can sign up for this free service, schedule your tweets whenever you want and then it will automatically post them for you. once I remember what this service is, I will let you know.

      Twitter can be a fun way to have a conversation, but you’re right, with it being real-time, it’s easy to lose track of who says what and when. I like to use Twitter to help out a blogging friend by tweeting their posts, but because I haven’t made that a habit, I often forget to use it for that reason.

  8. I’m afraid I’m with lordscree on this one, I have very little use for twitter. I never go check it unless a blip shows up in my email that someone sent a tweet or mentioned me in one. Even then often not, as I can read the tweet in the email. I used to be on there more, but like others there simply isn’t enough time in the day for all of these things.

    When I do go on twitter, it’s like I’m always coming in on a conversation. You don’t know what’s gone before so you always have to stop and ask so that you’ll be able to understand the joke. And so many tweets are not just 140 characters, many have links too. By the time you’re finished checking them all out dinner may be ruined and your children and husband are staring at you….

    • Hey Neeks,

      I hear you loud and clear. I definitely have my problems with Twitter, which is why I had to figure out another way to use it than for what it’s truly intended. I also like to tweet blog posts from fellow bloggers, or something to do about a writing friend in general. That’s a nice way to cultivate our relationships while also staying afloat in the social media frenzy.

      Umm, Neeks, I think I smell something burning…? 😉

  9. I’ve debated about joining Twitter, but I’m afraid my feelings are similar to those of lordscree and Neeks. Tweeting just strikes me as another nail in the coffin on what used to be a healthy attention span. Now there are so many things we’re “supposed” to do and keep up with that we can’t spend quality time on any of them.

    I know we’re supposed to do this (and Facebook and blog and LinkIn and Pin….) to help build an audience, but I’d never get anything done if I did what’s necessary to be a good tweeter. When I’m closer to publication, I know I’ll have to rethink my attitude. For now, though, I’d rather stick to one thing, blogging, and do that to the best of my abilities.

    But I’m open-minded enough to know that Twitter could be a better platform for others than it is for me. So for those who can understand it and do well with it, by all means go for it!

    • Hey JM,

      I’m with you about the negative side of Twitter. And you’re right, it is another nail in the coffin. There is no question about that! I don’t use Twitter as often as a lot of people do, but when I am on it I try to make it count. For instance, I retweet something for a friend, or I tweet about a blog post that I enjoyed reading — basically helping out my writing/blogging friends. Or if I’m tweeting something for myself, I use it as a way of practicing those punchy sentences.

      I, too, prefer blogging because of the relationships I can cultivate. That will be my go-to social media venue for the forseeable future. Twitter might be my second choice because it is quick and can handle the other aspect to our platforms that blogging doesn’t do as well (unless we blog daily) — regular updates or reminders.

      Thanks for swinging by!

    • Agreed. All these platforms can be overwhelming. But so far, I’ve found Twitter a much better and more effective use of my time than Facebook. Which means I’m probably not using FB right, but there are only so many minutes in the day. Plus, at least with Twitter, I’m not bombarded with ads like I am on FB, and I understand Twitter. FB confuses me still! 😦

      • Oh yes, the Twitter vs FB argument. Love that one! FB has gotten terrible with the ads, I agree, and I dread the day ads will seep into other social media venues. (Which is why I registered my own blogging domain — but I digress.)

        I think Twitter can be useful once we learn how to handle it properly. If we can ignore all the self-promotion DMs and whatnot, then Twitter is a great way to get bursts of info out whenever we want them out. But like with all social media venues, we have to find our own strategies and approaches that work best for us, not necessarily how they are supposed to be used.

        Thanks for swinging by, FP’d x 2. 😉

      • My pleasure. Thanks. 🙂 And I think the key to Twitter is using lists to filter your timeline. At least that’s what works best for me.

      • Absolutely! The lists are a great help, and I need to update mine now that you mention it.

      • I’m exactly the opposite. 😉 I understand FB but not Twitter. I don’t care for the ads on FB at all, But Twitter is Greek to me. I might even be willing to pay FB a reasonable yearly sum (like in the WordPress amount) to not have ads show up on my page.

      • I would pay FB the fee, if I knew I could use FB effectively as part of my platform. (Maybe I’ll be hitting you up for FB advice, JM.) 😉

        And that’s really what it comes down to ultimately — being able to use each of these venues to our best advantage.

      • Aw, once you learn Twitter, it’s easy. After an hour reading a helpful tutorial, you’ll be set! And everything shows up where it’s supposed to. Imagine my surprise on FB when I went to publish an update, and FP gives me a pop-up telling me for $5 I can be sure it goes to all my page followers? What? It doesn’t already? Well, that’s just grand. Needless to say I didn’t fork over the bucks, but it certainly annoyed me. 🙂

      • Now, that is strange. I never encountered anything like that on FB. That would annoy me, too.

  10. Just decided to try it a few days ago. To new to rate!

  11. I’m a pretty spastic Twitter user – here and there whenever I have my hands free at the same time that a 140-character-thought jumps in my head and seems reasonable for sharing. Along the lines of coming up with “information-packed, punchy sentences,” Twitter can also be good practice for freelance writers trying to develop headlines (though hopefully not the meaningless type mentioned earlier 🙂 ).

    I’ve just signed up for HootSuite to figure out how to tweet throughout the day instead of just during my daughter’s naptime, but it hasn’t made it to the priority list yet. By the time I figure it out there will probably be twelve other “must do” technologies. I’m all for figuring out what works for you and sticking to it – great suggestions on how to do that with Twitter.

    • That’s the name of the site I was trying to think of earlier, Hootsuite! Thanks. 🙂 Yes, I started using Hootsuite also, but haven’t pushed it to the priority list. But the few times I have used it, I liked the convenience of it. Oh, you’re right. Too many technological sites to keep track of and learn. I can barely handle the ones I’m dealing with now.

      I like how you call yourself a ‘spastic Twitter user’. I know exactly what you mean! Thanks for commenting.

  12. Twitter is great for “real time” interaction. As for the 140-character limit, that’s just its gimmick, so you have to adapt to its rapid-fire nature. As has already been said, it’s a great exercise in condensing your thought(s). My personal rule for “tweeting” is that I don’t use “textese” to communicate. None of that “R U OK?” stuff.

    I use it in a variety of ways, from just talking to people to posting links to blog posts or other items of interest, a fair bit of self-promotion, and so on. When linking to something else, I also use the “headline” approach in the Tweet itself. I don’t use the services that “schedule” Tweets, because that just seems so artificial (read: “fake”). I also don’t send unsolicited DMs to anyone to promote anything. Those are all quick ways to lose followers. If you’re looking at it strictly as a promotional tool and that it’s just one more item on your checklist of “things to do because somebody on a blog said I need to build my platform,” then it’s a task or chore, rather than the interaction with readers/fans it can be if you approach it with the right mindset. Social media is supposed to be social, after all.

    As Dennis Miller might once have said: “Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.” 🙂

    • Hi Dayton, I agree. I don’t use Twitter for ‘textese’ either (love that by the way), other than to thank someone for sharing a blog post that I wrote or something along those lines. And I can’t stand it when people DM me with their stuff. I unfollow them when that happens. I may be Twitter friends, but that doesn’t mean I want to be bombarded with sales pitches. That’s just as bad as getting telemarketing calls at home. If I’m interested in your book, let me DM you. Not the other way around.

      You make a really good point about looking at Twitter as a promo tool rather than an opportunity to make connections. While I prefer my blog to engage in conversations, Twitter does lend itself to an ongoing dialogue if you’re able to ‘hook up’ with someone at the same time.

      Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

      • You make a really good point about looking at Twitter as a promo tool rather than an opportunity to make connections. While I prefer my blog to engage in conversations, Twitter does lend itself to an ongoing dialogue if you’re able to ‘hook up’ with someone at the same time.

        Oh, I think it can be used to make connections, as well. I just don’t set out with any expectations that it will happen that way, which is why it’s so exciting when it does! One writer has already commented that they found their agent via Twitter. I’ve recently been connected with an industry professional who’s interested in a book from me based pretty much on comments I made on Twitter. So, it can and does happen. 🙂

      • Right, that’s what I meant. I didn’t phrase that first sentence well. Sorry! I agree that we should look at Twitter as an opportunity to make connections as opposed to looking at it as just a promo tool.

        It took me a long time to build an audience with my blog, so I need to be just as patient with Twitter. Engage more, start conversations and follow through. I’m sure if I give it enough time, that it’ll be a fun way to interact with other writers and learn more tips on the field.

        Congrats on your recent connection. That’s worth a party! 🙂

  13. For a post about something relatively simple, it looks like you’ve opened a big can of words, Kate! 😀 I think you’ve struck the nail pretty much on the head, though, in terms of what I believe Twitter *should* be for: building relationships.

    Personally, I follow people I find interesting. Some of them, I know only through their Twitter. But, if they’re interesting enough to me in regular bursts of 140 characters or less, I’ll go check out their blog, or their art site, or maybe even glance through the first few pages of their e-book on Amazon. Because they’ve become more than just names, to me. They’re people, with experiences, opinions, and insight. Individuals who use their Twitter only to promote their stuff, without that personal touch? Yeah, they’re gone from my follow list. Because, like others have mentioned, I don’t have time to waste on that.

    I’m going to buck the trend of writers, here, and say I will never be a popular author. I doubt I’ll ever get published. So, I don’t use Twitter – or Facebook, LinkedIn, or even deviantART or WordPress – to promote my work. Instead, I’d rather use those outlets to find and interact with real people, with real personalities, with whom I’d like to sit down and have a tasty beer, one day. Hopefully, my readers and followers feel the same way about me. 🙂

    • I’ll take you up on that beer!

    • Great comment, Mayumi! I think you introduce a neat way to use Twitter, one that I never considered before. Twitter can be a wonderful place to get glimpses of someone’s personality, experiences, views, and writing–or whatever the topic is that most interests you. Of course, to do that, I’d have to commit more time to Twitter, which right now will be tough. But if I slowly work it in, I could see myself devoting time to Twitter daily.

      As I mentioned above, I unfollow anyone who DMs me with promotions. As far as I’m concerned, DMs should be used for people who know each other on some level above and beyond Twitter usernames. For instance, I would welcome a DM from someone I know through my blog because there’s a relationship already in place.

      I second Beth. I’ll take you up on that beer if you’re ever up in my neck of the woods. 🙂

  14. For a post about something relatively simple, it looks like you’ve opened a big can of words, Kate!

    Good posts generate good discussion. 🙂

    After I’d hit “Post” and my earlier comment went into the moderation queue, I realized I’d forgotten to includ a link to a blog I’d recently written on this very subject: Novel Spaces: Finding the Happy Medium With Social Media.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Dayton. 🙂 Thank you, also, for the blog link. I’ll be sure to read that to get some more tips on how to better fit Twitter into my life.

  15. While I use Twitter for networking and promoting, I find that I have also got a LOT of benefit from following various ‘industry’ accounts e.g. publishers, agents, authors. I have been nudged to write a number of poems or stories in response to notifications on Twitter. In fact, I have just finished the first draft on what I think is one of my best stories, I’ll be sending it through to an anthology that is calling for submissions this week. (Will let people know how I do…)

    • Ooh, great point Dennis. I don’t follow many industry accounts, but I need to up my game apparently! Those would be great sources to find out what’s trending in the writing biz, too — any they’d be quicker to read as opposed to lengthy blog articles. I bet even great tweets could encourage people to check out their sites or blogs and become involved there.

  16. I’ll always love Twitter as I found my agent on there, I didn’t think her agency repped YA but after following her, I gave submitting a shot. I love connecting with other writers on there too!

    • I didn’t know you found your agent through Twitter! (Or, maybe I did and forgot!) Yes, I can see why Twitter would hold a special place in your heart. 🙂

  17. I love Twitter. I’ve found so many blogs, books and interesting people through Twitter. I use it for breaking news, if something happens it’ll trend on twitter faster than it appears on news channels. It can also be a convenient way to keep in touch with people.

    It is a MAJOR drain on time though, need to address that one 🙂

    • Hi Pete,

      Sounds like you use Twitter in the same way a lot of other people do. Interesting that you use it for breaking news — I didn’t think about that, but it makes sense.

      Ah yes, the time commitment. Like all social media venues. When I have the time, I’ll be sure to address it. 😉

  18. Great post Kate! I’ve been experimenting with Twitter, using it to retweet others and to document weird thoughts and moments in my day–those are the ones people seem to respond to. Facebook feels more natural to me, but I’m wading deeper into Twitter. 😉

    • Hey Kourtney,

      That’s what I need to do. Document weird thoughts on Twitter. That way I spare my kids. 😉 Thanks for swinging by!

  19. Just remembered something! In my first poetry collection “8 Million Stories” I didn’t like the idea of large white spaces at the end of poems; so, during the finalisation of it all, I wrote a number of “Twitterludes” – short poems with a one line explanation of what was going on in my life to inspire them. 26 of them were then scattered about the collection in places where there would have been more than half a page of space.

    For example:

    Twitterlude 012
    My week in Botswana is at an end and I am returning to the one I love.

    Tarmac
    a strong black cord
    linking me to you
    each mile my heart beating faster
    until we join

    Twitterlude 022
    Today is the 53rd anniversary of the first sputnik launch (Oct 4th 1957)

    silent beeps on high
    falling star never grounding
    our first step outside

    Twitterlude 023
    37 days into spring (we are very precise here!) And FINALLY some rain.

    black clouds stabbed with light
    explosions out of the dark
    earth sheds tears of joy

    So, it is possible to be creative and ‘in the moment’ on Twitter…

    • Great examples, Dennis. I can see how writing short bits like that can lead to more of a prose or poetic style of writing. Really nice stuff!

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