I admit, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Twitter. Sometimes it seems like a gathering place for inane observations and self-indulgent pontification. But this past year I learned to appreciate Twitter. If you use it for self-promotion that’s great, but the best promotion comes from others. Building relationships within the Twitterverse will help you more than any generic ‘look at me! look at me!’ tweet.
One thing I’ve done to cultivate relationships is go through all the people I follow and add them to lists. Then I use Hootsuite to keep the lists separate. For instance, I have a list for Arkansas Authors, one for celebrities and another for nerdy/sciency stuff to name a few. It makes it easier to browse through the multitude of tweets that stream through each day. I take a few minutes two or three times a day to glance at what folks are talking about, comment or retweet and then move on.
Triberr is also a huge part of my networking routine. I finally found several tribes in which the members share information pertinent to my career – books and writing – and I tweet. If something shows up in the stream that doesn’t interest me, I can hide it. The Triberr platform has helped get my blog posts out into the world and as a result I get a lot of retweets. I don’t usually acknowledge a RT from a tribemate, mainly because it’s sort of expected of them. However, Hootsuite will show me if a tribemate’s RT gets retweeted by one of their followers and I make an effort to thank them. I’ve expanded my network using this technique. (Does anyone else have “Rockin’ Robin” going through their mind?)
It’s easy to get sucked into debates and useless diatribes so I go through and unfollow folks whose tweets rarely refer to books and writing or are excessively negative. I don’t mind off-topic tweets. Heck, I like to share stuff about genealogy and NASA, but if you’re tweets are 20% books/writing and 80% random I’ll probably unfollow you.
I believe Twitter can be a huge waste of time, but with a little organization and focus you can make it work for you. I’ve found great books and formed relationships with other writers through tweets.
So, do you utilize Twitter? Is it a hassle or do you find it helpful?