So yesterday I felt like having some fun with a blog. You know, humor. No one probably takes time to read the small print below my masthead blog titles, but I normally take the time to categorize my blogs so that folks know what they are receiving (or, better, about to receive). Yesterday’s category was but one, singular, stand-alone declaration:
And before the protestations begin to form on those wonderful, pursing lips, yes, I subscribe to the maxim that there is truth hidden in everything, perhaps most of all within those joculus, hallowed, hilarious, herringbone halls of humor—I also admit that there were a few salient points I tried to make (one, really, and that is that Twitter is not nor since the gaudy days of the Locke/Hocking ponzi bonanza has it BEEN a great book-selling tool for Independent Authors whose goal is to make a living, not brighten the day of a reader or two). My intent had been to follow up the Thursday blog frolicking with today’s post which would talk in full about Twitter and what I believe its actual (crucial) role to be in our professional lives.
However, the majority of responses I received yesterday (ranging from yeah, yeah, ha ha, but here’s what you forgot to completely, unequivocally, catatonically serious to mildly perplexed) floored me.
No one even mentioned my new and improved disclaimer. What I got was mostly:
Was I kidding?
Was I serious?
Did I leave off most of my blog post because, by God, I missed 7/8 of the handsome points regarding Maximus Decimus Twitterious, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus “Blue Bird” Aurelius.
Friends, family, countrymen, countrywomen:
I wrote a faux OBITUARY for Twitter, aged 6.
Demi Moore, Noah Wyle, and Wetpaint.com.
How serious and complete could my journalistic integrity and thoroughness have been intended?
No matter. Here I am, it’s Friday, not one person got a laugh out of what was supposed to be my humorous post of the month, and it’s time to move on. Problem is, all you commenters wrote my blog for me. You covered all the territory I planned to trek today as a completely serious follow-up.
Well done! You defended Gladiator Twitter honorably, correctly, and thoroughly.
So I am left sitting here sans material. Hmm. What say I reiterate (and agree with) the comments, wish you a TGIF plus a stellar weekend, and we call it a day?
1. Twitter is an excellent tool for authors exchanging ideas. I think of it as a gargantuan conference room where everyone gets their say.
2. Twitter is a very viable medium for announcing new things. A new blog. The new release of a book. A new article on a writing widget you discovered. In other words, it makes a really spectacular mountaintop from which to shout to the world something grand and fresh—as long as you don’t blather on into a sermon (tough to do in 140 characters, but I have seen it accomplished; some windbags can bellow boorishly in half those numbers).
3. Twitter is INVALUABLE for establishing relationships, both professional, personal (and my favorite, coined by me I think: the propersonal). Of course, this is why they call it a social network, but “social” doesn’t really begin to cover the professional potential Twitter (and Facebook) can do for you from an author-to-author networking vehicle standpoint.
(I didn’t list LinkedIn because I feel the growing, perfectly viable, helpful, necessary network is inappropriately thrown in with “social networking” as I contend the term was first established—let’s face it, Zuckerberg created Facebook to rank the “date”-ability of campus women amongst fraternities and, ultimately, the general populous.)
4. Twitter is actually a great place for the new author to begin the campaign. Authors definitely ARE readers (most of them voraciously so) and I can tell you that I sold a pretty fair number of books (most, if not all, to authors) when I first joined the fray. Authors do buy books, they do review them (more diligently than the average consumer/reader), and Twitter can still be a decent vehicle for getting some sales momentum rolling and even, ultimately, selling a few books from time to time. The point buried in yesterday’s humor that no one seemed to get (humor, not the point) is that the days of selling millions (even hundreds) by tweeting the merits of your work is long gone. That ponzie house of crappy cards collapsed a long, long time ago in a galaxy too far away to contemplate any longer.
5. Exposure. We’ve all read the books and the marketing projections and the industry pundits: selling is about EXPOSURE. People need to know your name, especially during hard economic times when they have no freaking clue who you are, what are your qualifications, and IF you can even write. Twitter may be the best of all of them at getting you NAME EXPOSURE because more than any other network it streams. @rsguthrie @rsguthrie @rsguthrie @rsguthrie @rsguthrie
See my point? Whether tweeps know it or not, your name can become a household word. Okay, that’s taking it too far. But people see your tweets. They see your handle. From where do you think the whole #FF and #WW and #MM concept came? Exposure. My own contention is tweets should have something of value in them. A quote people can appreciate; a link to an interesting article or blog or book or video. If used properly (i.e. not greedily) Twitter is an excellent means by which to put your name (and brand) out there.
6. It’s social. Fun. It can be a great (and dangerous) distraction. You know what they said about Jack. Too much work and the guy is out on the ledge, contemplating the meaning of life. Engaging people half a world a way, making new friendships, sharing credit card information—it’s the brighter side of the beast. The danger comes, of course, when it consumes all our time and the words we write are recipes to a new pal in Guatemala rather than the next chapter in our new bestseller.
7. It strokes the ego. Man does anything feel better than someone thinking what you said merits retweeting to their thousand followers? E.F. Hutton my ass. Hutton may have silenced a roomful of people who turned their heads but with Twitter your words can bounce and rebound and retweet across the screens of hundreds of thousands. You never know who might have read your latest pearl of wisdom.
I can almost guarantee you it wasn’t Kim Kardashian, who’s forever busy looking for husband number nine, ten, eleven, or twelve and (more importantly) for her next scathing porn scandal. But bubble-butted crab cakes aside, you know darn well that sooner or later a tweet of yours will be read by someone famous. Let’s just hope that when it is, you wrote something profound and not just another auto-generated come hither tweet.
And we’ll just agree to call that your 15 microseconds of fame.
Use them wisely, oh Jedi Masters.
The blank page is dead…long live the blank page.
Author known to use spontaneous satire, sarcasm, and unannounced injections of pith or witticisms which may not be suitable for humorless or otherwise jest-challenged individuals. (Witticisms not guaranteed to be witty, funny, comical, hilarious, clever, scintillating, whimsical, wise, endearing, keen, savvy, sagacious, penetrating, fanciful, or otherwise enjoyable. The Surgeon General has determined through laboratory testing that sarcasm can be dangerous, even in small amounts, and should not be ingested by those who are serious, somber, pensive, weighty, funereal, unsmiling, poker-faced, sober, or pregnant.)