Twitter has just turned 5, which means I spent almost five years being Bah Humbug about the whole thing. “What a waste of my time,” said I. “Who cares what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast?”
But I was wrong. Oh so wrong. On two counts.
It’s not a waste of time if you use it the right way. And it’s not about celebrities – not for me anyway.
I finally yielded because it had become clear over the past twelve months that I couldn’t continue to be a useful advisor to authors and publishers if I wasn’t participating in social media. More and more people want to connect with the writers they read, not just encounter them via the one-way traffic of the printed page.
So I signed up for a course over at AWAI with the modest title of Social Media Expert (!). The first lesson was on Twitter, so I dutifully signed up and got started, as directed. My Twitter account @Belinda_Pollard launched into the Twittersphere as a featherless and somewhat ugly baby bird on Feb 14 2011 – Valentine’s Day, no less!
I floundered around for a while trying to find out who to follow, and was startled (in a good way) when complete strangers began to follow me. I gradually discovered what all the little buttons did, and tried desperately to think of something to say that didn’t sound gormless. And gradually things just started to make sense.
Now I’m really glad that I joined. It’s helped me to help my clients (I blogged about Twitter for emerging authors over on my business website recently). But it’s also been a big help for me personally as a writer.
I have a personal interest in the future of the book, not just a professional one, and I found people tweeting intelligent and thought-provoking things on those topics. I have an interest in spiritual themes, especially Christianity as it intersects with real daily life, and I found some interesting tweeters in that arena too.
I found people to follow who tweeted links to interesting websites, blogs, magazine and newspaper articles on several major topics that interest me and stimulate my thought processes. It was like having a team of researchers surfing the web for me and telling me about the most interesting and relevant stuff in just 140 characters! Bless ’em! I hope that eventually my tweets will be able to contribute something back to them.
What do you think? What has your experience of Twitter been? Are you a Twitter lover or are you still not convinced? Also share the Twitter users who you’ve found most interesting and useful to follow!