I admit, I’m new at Twitter. I don’t know the ins and outs and I still haven’t completely figured out how it all works, especially actually having conversations with people on it.
But I’ve grown to a following of over 500 “people” (some of them are organizations and corporations, so not actually “people”unless you subscribe to the rationale of Mitt Romney) in less than three months, and that has been 90% just on following back people who have followed me.
So I have noticed a few things.
Twitter is overrun with people trying to sell me things. Usually, the same thing – over and over and over again, ad infinitum.
It’s a losing game. If all you ever tweet to me is “Buy my XXX!” there are two things that I will do.
The first is that I scroll right past you, because I recognize that picture, and it has essentially become invisible.
The second is that if you do this more than once a day – if I wind up seeing that picture four or five times in succession over five minutes, without a single tweet in between them – I may “mute” you. You are a one-note wonder, and instead of making me curious, you’ve made me bored. (Note to authors: if you make me bored on Twitter – TWITTER, for pete’s sake! – I am not disposed to think your 100,000 word novel is going to be very interesting.)
What I do on Twitter is to ration my self-promos, as well as those retweeted promos for books I think people might actually want to read.
For every self-promo/book plug I tweet, I feel that I should give at least three or four non-commercial and interesting tweets: pictures of beautiful book arts (Lindisfarne Gospels, anyone?), funny cartoons about reading or writing, quotations that strike me as apt.
And retweets are kind of the same. If I retweet three or four promos for other people’s books, well, I should then not follow up by adding my own. I concentrate on adding more content. More pretty books. More funny cartoons.
And if I notice someone doing the same – tweeting interesting one-liners, or quoting Shakespeare, or promoting books that they didn’t write themselves – I try to retweet those and you better believe that when they occasionally mention that they, too, have something to offer, I retweet the HELL out of that.
I’ve noticed, since I started being really obsessive about this and have filled my Twitterfeed with actual content, that my reach is widening. Not everyone following me is a writer pushing their latest doorstop.
I’m attracting READERS.
And I love them to bits.