A local writer friend is starting a blog, but he told me no amount of persuasion would make him get involved with Twitter.
Another writer spoke up and said an editor he'd talked to at a recent conference advised all his authors to establish a web presence. Yes, including Twitter.
"Twitter is a convenient and powerful way to increase traffic to your blog," I added.
The writer who's about to plunge into blogger world looked doubtful and a little apprehensive. He seemed to be thinking, "Oh, no."
When I first signed up on the Twitter site nearly a year ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I quickly adapted to the process and the jargon, and was soon addicted enough to spend two or three hours at a time reading "tweets" (the 140-character burst of info sent by members). Obviously, that had to stop.
What I guard against:
1. Spam and scams, especially suspicious links. I have a "do not click" policy in general, although I follow links to blog posts if I trust the sender.
2. Addiction. Use a timer if you have to, but set limits and stick to them.
3. Alienating your followers with too many tweets, useless babble, and insulting language. Avoid sarcasm or insults that may be misinterpreted in 140-character comments.
How I benefit from Twitter:
1. Since I engage with follows/followers who tweet about topics of interest, visit their blogs and leave comments, and thank those who mention my ID or blog in their tweets, I've made a lot of new friends. Those friends also visit my blog and leave comments. I'm @PStoltey or you can search for me under Patricia Stoltey.
2. The literary agent list I'm developing is open to all who visit my profile. Others have recommended additions to my list, which means even more contacts.
3. I have found new Facebook friends via Twitter.
4. By following local news and weather sites, I get fast reports and warnings. I had my laptop and a chair in the hall closet last spring when severe thunderstorms spawned a tornado a few miles from our house. That was lots better than being in the dark (so to speak).
Most writers will want to know if Twitter has increased my book sales. My answer -- indirectly. Blogging has increased my book sales, and Twitter helps increase traffic to my blog.
I know some of you won't touch Twitter with a ten-foot pole. It can be a time suck, and goodness knows we have enough of those already.
But for those who wonder if it's worth the trouble, I can only say, that's up to you and how you use it. I like it, but it's not for everyone. Just because you give it a try doesn't mean you have to keep your account forever. Try it, and if you don't like it, jump ship. I won't tell...
This post is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge for the month of April. For those who have been interested in this challenge and would like to know how it worked out for everyone, there will be a big day of reporting on May 3rd. Individual bloggers will write about their experiences, and Arlee Bird, the challenge architect, will wrap it all up on his blog, tossing it out.