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Let’s Go Tweeting! (But Don’t Forget Your Helmet!)

October 25, 2010

This month’s issue of Writer’s Digest was epic. Actually, most of them are, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Anyway, I found a myriad of potential blog topics. One of which was Twitter.

Oh, yes, Twitter. The online drug that serves us in so many ways. A procrastination tool of the highest quality (140 characters and everything!), a way to stalk people we admire without being arrested (Kidding…), but, most of all, Twitter is one of the ultimate ways to find kindred spirits. Like beings. Other writers.

I am one of the very few people in my high school who doesn’t have a Facebook account. I don’t particularly want one, plus I get a weird thrill from the resistance. Ultimately, though, I don’t have a Facebook because it wouldn’t be as helpful. Sure, I could talk to the kids in my Geometry class for hours on end (because, let’s face it – I’d be a Facebook junkie if I ever got one. It’s just the way I am – I like to talk.), but they’re not writers or avid readers. They’re not the people who I could get loads of good advice from, and they’re not the people who quite understand why I’ve written books and write book reviews. No – those people are on Twitter.

My point? Join Twitter. It certainly will get in the way of your finishing the laundry, but it will also lead to fantastic relationships with people like you. And don’t argue that you’re not in search of kindred spirits because you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.

Joining isn’t the end of the fun, either. In fact, that’s precisely what WD was talking about – Twitter etiquette. What’s okay? What’s too casual? What’s too personal/impersonal? Where do you draw the line?

Some of the folks in the article agreed that you shouldn’t talk about your personal life at all…

… Draws the line at the parts of his life that are wholly separate from his writing.

And that’s where I don’t completely agree. Of course, keep what you want to be private out of the public eye. Be comfortable because otherwise your friendliness and openness will sound forced, not to mention the fact that you won’t have any fun if what you’re saying is unnatural. However, I like to read author comments and chat with authors about totally random things. Examples:

  • What their favorite kind of egg is.
  • The movie they watched when they were thirteen that frightened them so much that they slept with the light on for the first time since second grade.
  • The crappy pizza they ate last night.
  • Their favorite TV show.
  • Their new shoes.

All of those are hypothetical, but they’re all things I would talk about. They’re the sort of inconsequential things I’d talk about with friends, and that’s the way I like to think of the people I chat with on Twitter. I certainly wouldn’t get on there and say terrible things about people because that’s terrible etiquette in general, but of course I mention my family and teachers [etc.] once in a while because they’re part of my life. They’re people who come along with the Madeleine Package, and that’s what you’re getting when you follow my Twitter feed. What you don’t get from good feeds says a lot more about them:

Not Okay.

  • Rude comments about other people. That’s simply not okay anyway.
  • Complaints about agents and editors (named). Unprofessional.
  • Weirdly personal comments (or inappropriate ones) that you wouldn’t tell your real life friends either.

Those are just three broad examples, but they encompass a lot. Don’t be mean. Don’t insult. Don’t say grossly inappropriate things. <– Rules of the playground.

There are exceptions to every rule. If you write books about grossly inappropriate things, then grossly inappropriate things on your Twitter feed would be expected (though I probably won’t follow you). In general, however, these are the major Twitter guidelines, in my opinion.

The Keys: Don’t be mean, insulting, or terribly inappropriate. Do be friendly, helpful, and casual. Treat the people you tweet with as pals, not necessarily as co-workers. Don’t feel afraid to tweet about random things because other people out their probably like Eggs Benedict, too.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2010 8:40 PM

    Once there was this beautiful girl who stumbled upon a writer’s blog. That unnamed writer said, “Come with me, Maddie. I’ll show you around the internet. Join this forum. Join Twitter.”

    And now? That lovely girl has made the unnamed writer proud. 😉 She’s intelligent, engaging, and she gets the “rules” of using the net well for her writing career.

  2. Dominique permalink
    October 25, 2010 8:27 PM

    I don’t have a twitter:(

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