Social Networking

To Twitter or not to Twitter, that is my question.

Do you tweet? I don’t. I know it’s the rage, but quite honestly, I can’t imagine having to overcome one more distraction in my day. As it is, if I visited every blog I follow, every day, I’d literally spend more time blogging than writing. And while I’d enjoy myself immensely, because I LOVE to blog, what is my overall goal? To get published. Therefore, I need ample time away from the Internet to brainstorm, plan, write, edit, write, re-work, write, revise, write, and prepare what I’ve written for submission.

And yet I need to network and get my name out there, too. So where do I draw the line? At Twitter.

Is this a wise course of action? I’m hoping maybe some of you can help me figure that out.

What is your experience with Twitter? Other than the social aspect of it, how do you feel it helps a new writer’s career? And if you’re not on Twitter all day, every day, is it worth being on it at all?

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  • Suzanne
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    I struggle with this too. I am on Twitter but I use it mainly to promote my blog. How do I attract more "followers?" And between blogs and e-mails I'm finding my writing time shrinking. It's a hard balance.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Welcome, Suzanne! I think this is a problem many writers face, not just you and me. Loved your blog, especially the music. Nice touch!

  • Suzanne
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by! I found you through the RWClist "Web Presence" class–you asked a question about tags. [In Blogger, when you write a post, there's a little box below and to the right of where you type in your blog that says "Labels." Start using common labels for things you write about: romance, RWA, etc. Those "tags" (I think) help move your blog up in Google search results and such.]

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Suzanne! I did it! I added labels to this post.

    For those of you unfamiliar with post labels, the teacher in our "Web Presence" class recommended post tags as a way of boosting readership of your blog. I thought I'd give it a try!

  • susanwilson44
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

    OK, you're getting far too technical for me now. Tags? No chance. Twitter? Not a hope in hell. I joined Facebook and nearly collapsed with fright when a little box jumped up with a picture of my friend saying Boo! I didn't realise you could do live chat. Saw someone else's blog the other day with a lovely background with loads of books, tried to copy it and nearly deleted my whole blog. Why do I even try?

  • Terri
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Everything's a time suck if you let it be. I'm getting into social media more and more now, though I swore I never would. Twitter and Facebook.
    I actually find Facebook totally useless. It's all just: Here's another picture of my cat.
    And on Twitter there also is a lot of "I just broke my shoelace." But there's also a huge number of editors and agents there, and aside from the giggling and gossiping and "what should I make for dinner tonight?" you can actually pick up quite a bit. Downloading lots of free books from publisher sites, choices in what kinds of ereaders to buy, all other things being equal, how trends seem to be going, they books editors and agents are loving…and I also follow a lot of political news, from news sources, columnists and bloggers, just because I'm a news junkie. Often (if not most of the time), Twitterers have links to sites in their Tweets. When I put up a new blog post, I'll Tweet, for example, not that anyone other than my usual crowd comes around.
    But still, I always hope someone will!
    One of the people who left a comment on my blog today I met through Twitter. Another is a friend of hers, who came by after I commented on her blog. I guess that's how it goes.
    I try to make the rounds of HVRWA members at least, and leave comments, even if some of them aren't the best at reciprocating!
    As I mentioned at the last meeting, one of my goals for the coming year is to drag the chapter kicking and screaming into social networking.
    I've created a Members Only Yahoo Group and Members Only Facebook page. Just waiting for people to send in their chapter dues in June to send out invites!

    (PS: I suspected you meant "labels" but wasn't sure. So far, I'm finding them essentially worthless. All they do is link back to the blog post of mine that I've put them in. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Dunno. At the moment, don't care.)
    BTW, my Lara and Cole blurb is up at — the site that took the name of our chapter Hook, Line & Sinker contest to use for their blog contest.
    That turned out to be a nice social networking thing for all of us!

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Don't give up, Susan! You'll get the hang of it. I learn something new every day!

    For those of you who don't know Susan, she's one of the Harlequin Medical Romance pitch winners. And just like me, she's in her second round of revisions. Good luck, Susan!

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    I was hoping you'd chime in, Terri. I know you're a big Twitterer…is that a word? And I did notice some new visitors to your blog. Way to go!

    I think your right about the labels only categorizing your blog posts. I asked about it on one of my writer's loops. I'll see if I get any help on how to link the post tags to the search engines. And now I'm wondering if a tag and a label are the same thing.

  • Bethanne
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    I haven't found the benefit yet. 🙁 Probably because i'm not on Twitter 24/7. Or even 12/7. I have an account that is following mostly industry people and a few friends from my crit group. When I get curious, I'll pop on and see what the industry people are doing. In that, I end up checking on my peeps as well.

    Otherwise, I get blogs in my inbox. I'm a member at several writing/reading forums. But like you, I need time to write, not surf.

  • JL Walters
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    I do have a twitter account but using it baffled me. Some how it reminds me of a black hole waiting to eat my time. I need the time to write. Janet

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    Well Bethanne and Janet, you've both cut right to the heart of the matter. WRITERS NEED TIME TO WRITE! And if social networking takes us away from that basic task, is it worth the effort?

    Yes. I believe it is, for many reasons. But we must set limits if we are to achieve our goals of publication.

  • Terri
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    I dunno about this. I think it's more like "writers NEED to write." Or, "writers NEED to communicate."
    And, if that need seizes you when you happen to be on a blog or somewhere else on the internet, so be it. It's all good. You're just exercising different writerly muscles. But you're still exercising.
    Sometimes the muse needs a minute to take a breath, recoup, recharge.
    It's like the difference between aerobics and weight training.
    ANYTHING is a time suck from your writing if your heart isn't in your writing at a particular moment. If you don't Tweet or Blog or whatever, all of sudden you're chasing dust bunnies around the living room.
    Writers FIND time to write.
    If that's what they want to do.

  • Terri
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    I dunno about this. I think it's more like writers NEED to write.
    If that need happens to seize you in the form of a blog post or some other place on the internet, so be it. You're communicating. That's what writing is.
    And you're still exercising your writing muscles. It's just the difference between aerobics and weight training.
    ANYTHING can be a time suck if your heart isn't in writing at a particular moment. If you're forcing yourself to do it, then you suddenly find the pile of paperclips on your desk top an endless source of fascination. If you're not blogging or Tweeting or what have you, you're suddenly chasing dust bunnies around the living room with a vacuum cleaner or a bunch of feathers on a stick.
    Sometimes the muse just needs to relax, take a breath, regroup and recharge.
    If your heart IS in it, you FIND the time.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:07 AM | Permalink

    Like Nora Robert's quote up above says: "I don't find time to write. I make time. It's my job."

    Bottom line, we each need to do what works best for us. And for me, the temptation of the Internest is just too much when I'm trying to write.

  • Regina Richards
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Never say never, but at this point I think my time is better spent elsewhere. So no Twitter for me.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Regina! I'm still waiting for you to post the picture of your new do on your blog!!!

  • Liz
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    Not a fan of Twitter. I facebook because it's fun and I have alot of friends there. I blog because it amuses me to do so.

  • susanwilson44
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

    Hi Wendy, read your comments. Amazed your ed asked you to review other meds as I find the range and writing styles are so varied. I know that I don't love every single one I read (but most of the time!) I'm a bit of a geek and have been taken notes for the last year on everyone that I've read. And giving marks for conflict, their first meet, etc etc… I really need to get a life!

  • abbi
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM | Permalink


    I am with Terri in that I don't like Facebook but I love Twitter. Some people have me in stitches with their Tweets. I follow authors as wells as nurses and some SF cast members.

    I promote very little with Twitter and I tend to not follow people who only promote their books. Twitter is for fun.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for Susan and you. Just days away from subbing my med rom that didn't make the pitch.


  • Christine
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Wendy, I was on the fence for a long time, but I jumped into TWITTER this year. I don't check it very often, once a day, and it's quick. I am only following agents and other writers (pubbed and unpubbed). I have gotten useful links to amazing blogs and posts about writing and the business. And I use it to advertise my blog posts as well.

    I haven't got a fancy page or anything like that, but I figure I can jazz it up after I get the "call." LOL


  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    Hi Liz!
    I Facebook, too, but not often.

    Hi Susan!
    The editor at Medical Romance sent me books she felt were close to my writing style so I could see exactly what she's looking for. And you're not a geek! I've taken notes myself when reading stories where I thought an author did an excellent job describing or explaining something. I also tend to jot down interesting words. I've got scraps of paper everywhere! Periodically I enter all the words in a journal.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    Hi Abbi!
    Good to see your name! I've visited your blog a bunch of times but haven't seen anything new. I wondered where you'd gone!

    I agree with you in tending not to follow people who only promote their books. It's annoying!

    Good luck with your Medical Romance submission. My fingers are crossed for you, too!

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Christine!

    Your post was very helpful. You see, I got the impression that you needed to be glued to Twitter so you didn't miss anything. I'd heard an editor might post 'I'm taking pitches for the next half hour.' And if you're not on you'd miss it, so why bother learning about it later, only to feel bad about missing it.

    When described the way you use Twitter, I can see the benefit! Maybe I'll give it a try when my life slows down a bit.

  • Angela Ackerman
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    For a long time I avoided Twitter. I actually started an account right when it started up years ago, but after visiting, I didn't really see the point of it. Now of course, I think it does have strong applications for a writer as a social networking tool.

    Like others, I use it mainly as a way to promote my blog posts and also as a way to share excellent links to posts/tools/resources I find on the web. The more strong content I provide, the more lists people put me on and the more people follow. Each of these are potential followers for my blog as well, as many people see something on Twitter and then follow the link or swing by my blog to find out more about me.

    The time issue is one that requires balance, just like blogging. It can feel overwhelming at times–my blog posts require a lot of research, so I'm in the know on this one, lol. But, I actually find that sometimes Twitter saves time, because if you learn how to use the hashtags (IE #writing) you can instantly see all the posts and links about that subject that are causing buzz. It's like a one stop place to stay in the know. It's also a great way to find out more about agents and editors as well.

    So, I used to be a Twitter avoider, but now I really find it a useful tool. 🙂

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Angela!
    The more I learn, the more I think I'd like to give it a try.

  • Posted January 21, 2011 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    I really like twitter, not as a social marketing tool, but because I really enjoy checking out what people (friends) are up to in a 140 character or less summary.

    Anyone who posts a thousand times a day is someone I just don’t have time to follow.

    I also post fun little tidbits of my day. When I do writing challenges like NaNoWriMo (#nanorwrimo) or a Round of words in 90 days (#ROW80) I encourage others and get encouraged by their writing stints.

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