Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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May 16, 2012

5 Reasons Why I *Heart* Twitter (And Why You Should Too)

By Laura Drake

This was the conversation at crit group last week...

Me: So I was tweeting with Chicken on a Chain last night, and –

Jenny: Chicken WHAT?

Me: He’s a bull. Retired from the PBR, one of the best. You should’ve seen him at the finals in 2009 --

Jenny: You did not just say that you were tweeting with a bull. Hello – no opposed thumbs!

Me: Well I was more worried about his attitude. That dude is politically incorrect.

Hey – they’re no better. They then asked me if he tweeted about his cow girlfriends.

Sheesh. Romance Writers.

This conversation made me realize how entwined Twitter has become in my life. It’s my social media weapon of choice. I love it. Let me count the ways:

1. I found my Peeps

I’ve ‘met’ so many amazing people (and animals - I also follow a tortoise, a horse and an iguana) on Twitter.

I am a bull riding FANatic, and there’s a huge PBR following on Twitter. If an event isn’t televised, someone is bound to be in the stands, tweeting the scores as the rides happen. This must have been what it was like back in the days of radio, listening to a prize fight. Your imagination fills in the blanks, and you actually bond as a group.

2. Entertainment & News

News: Earthquake in New York? Tornados in Texas?  It’s on Twitter, first. And not just a talking head – but people who are experiencing it firsthand. People I ‘know.’

Entertainment: Humor hits – people are so clever! They keep me laughing through my lunch hour (okay, so I pop in now and again through the day too – fire me!)

3. Support

Through responding to tweets and retweeting (RT for short,) I can support my peeps, and they support me. All in 140 characters!  You don’t think that’s enough? Go create an account, gather a couple of friends, and check it out. It’s amazing! It’s a great lesson for writers in ‘write tight!’

4. Research

The other day when I was writing, and had a question about what the PBR calls the ‘roadies’ that set up the arena before an event. I tweeted my bud, Joe Scully, a rodeo announcer, and he got back to me in two minutes with the answer! That’s quicker than Google! I’ve found whatever experts I’ve ever needed on Twitter. Gypsies, bullfighters, goat ropers, mutton busters. People are so giving and helpful!

5. Advertisement & Marketing

Notice this is listed LAST. For a reason. Nothing will make me unfollow faster than someone who does nothing but pimp – themselves or their friends.

Yes, I know – if you’re self-published (or even if you’re not) you have to promote yourself. But people, promote is in a different place in the dictionary than pimp. It also has a slightly different definition – it’s a matter of degree.

You don’t think you have "peeps?" Sure you do. I don’t care how esoteric your subject – someone on Twitter is interested. You may just have to get creative.

I wanted to broaden my scope – to follow peeps who would find my book interesting (I haven’t broken my rule #5 above...my book doesn’t come out for over a year – plenty of time to connect on a personal level with people before I pimp promo.)

So I thought about it. Who else would like to read my PBR novels, besides PBR fans?  How about people who live in the country? Small towns? Western states? Farmers, horse people, dairymen, even truck gardeners! Do you know how many people that is?  Wow.

Find new hashtags to follow. That will help you find where those peeps hang out.  #agchat helped me a lot.

Your turn. How do you use Twitter? How do you find your Peeps there?  Do you follow animals, or is it just me?

0 comments on “5 Reasons Why I *Heart* Twitter (And Why You Should Too)”

  1. Laura, do you have any idea how early it is on the East Coast? It's too early for me to accept, absorb, and/or entertain the thought of 140 characters and dozens of teeny-tiny-tweets twittering to the tune of a hash mark 🙂

    It is my last stand, my final rebellion, my total stubborn Italian who sits here and wonders ... what manner of animal would I find were I to tweet about Brookyn?

    Wake up out there on the West Coast and tell me ... is this really necessary? Isn't it enough that I let my kids set me up on Facebook ... that I "engage" dozens on the blogesphire ... do I really have to play nice with a cute little blue bird?

    Maybe ... but if I do I will insist on finding #Brooklyn ... you think among the millions fluttering around they have Brooklyn in the bird house?

    1. Florence, you don't fool me - you're just afraid to try to say anything in 140 characters! 😉
      You don't have to do it. You have my blessing not to. But you're missing out on a heck of a lot of fun if you don't!

  2. I have been trying to pull together the motivation to learn more about how to better use twitter; aside from the 140 character thing, the rest is rather mysterious and confusing still! Your post may just be the little kick I needed to take the techno-plunge into icy new waters. So, thank you!

  3. Great post. Twitter can be a really useful tool, and I need to get back into broadening my circle of friends. It seems like since Triberr came along, I'm seeing more and more links on Twitter and less conversation. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Definitely need to find some new hashtags. Thanks!

    1. The coolest thing about it for me, Stacy, is that I went there for promo (okay, and Jenny held a stick, too) but found that I truly enjoy it, and the relationships I've built there. If I quit writing tomorrow, I'd still be a Tweetaholic!

  4. "I found my peeps" is the best reason for Twitter. I have met so many talented writers....and they are so encouraging and supportive.

  5. Laura you know you have an audiance in NORTH CAROLINA don't you? Two of the *best* stock contractors live here (along with Chicken, Bones, and VooDoo) as does the most popular rider. Jerome Davis has an arena and one could go to almost any town for a rodeo or bull riding every weekend--even if it's Junior and Senior high school kids!
    Ah, but back to Twitter. I can't seem to make it work for me. Seems that every writer there is "award winning." OMG! I won an honorable mention a long time ago, does that make me award winning? Most of the peeps I've picked up along the way are writers trying to sell their books to other writers. I've yet to get into a conversation with anyone there who I didn't already know and it's not because I don't have the gift of gab! Maybe I should follow your peeps! I KNOW I follow you on Twitter yet I haven't seen any of your tweets in over a year. How do I miss them? I'll have to "friend" Chicken...we talk alot on Facebook. I didn't know he was on Twitter! And you think he's politically incorrect? I think he's right on the money.
    Maybe it's just me. I got my husband on Twitter last week and right off the bat he was offered an author interview! I must be doing something wrong!

    1. Shelia, I checked out your books - you will have LOTS of Peeps besides authors on Twitter! Survivors of childhood abuse, ACADA, etc. I agree with you, Kristen Lamb had a post awhile ago about branching out from following just authors - we can get to be a bit 'inbred!'

      Okay, I'm not touching the 'most popular rider' comment, for fear of being as controversial as Chicken! I am jealous about having that much PBR DNA over there! California is not known for rodeo. Okay, it is, but it's pronounced RoDAYo. :O

      1. Haha! I didn't mention a certain Cowboy's name (we don't really have "cowboys" in the south), but NC does have the PRCA CHAMPION even if he is a transplant! Yes, I have tweeps who are nurses, mother's of preemies, teachers, even avid readers...am I so boring that I don't have "friends?" I have a writer friend, Rick Bylina, he's so clever with words that he can tweet all day. Maybe that's the secret.
        Looking fwd to your book! I know you are ready for it to be published!

        1. Thanks, Shelia, and I think you're right . . .it's all about being pithy, which is not one of my stong points. I stuggle with 'Tweet Envy' as well!

    2. Shelia, I understand your frustration. You can almost always find an actual conversation at the #myWANA, #ROW80, #WEwrite or #pubwrite hashtags. Good luck!

  6. Laura, I want you to come to my house! Ha! Okay, I tweet but I'm still not getting the whole conversation thing. I need to write this down on my famous "cheater" recipe cards until it sinks into my noggin. Ha!

  7. Laura, I get carried away with the pimping sometimes, but the true joy of twitter is definitely in the conversations. Thanks for the great reminder and the insightful post!

  8. Laura, you make the whole Twitter thing sound easy, like riding a bike or a bull. Unfortunately, I am currently in the training wheel phase and really wobbly at that. I'm sure I just need to keep tweeting and it will get easier. Thanks for the post.

  9. Not following animals yet, but I love finding dog and cat loving peeps like me. Thanks for the great reminder how it's always good to connect on a personal level first, finding that one thing in common, before you spam (which you shouldn't do anyhow). My finger is probably just as fast as yours on the "unfollow" trigger when I feel inundated with "by my book" tweets.

      1. Thanks for the tip Jenny. I'll look her up. Now I'll get tweeted, barked, and meowed. I've discovered there are a lot of writers out there who dig their dogs... agents, too.

    1. Patti, just find a conversation that interests you, and jump in! I thought at first that I'd be rude - like interrupting two friends talking, but it's not like that. Kind of an open forum, and everyone's welcome to jump in. Find some more of your Peeps - you'll be hooked in no time!

  10. Love this and agree with ALL of it. And I was SO resistant to try Twitter (at first, I just didn't see its usefulness and bashed anyone who Tweeted. BAD me...). But, you're right - aside from the wonderful writer connections I've made (the biggest asset for me), it is truly a research treasure trove for writers. In the lonely world of writing, I really do cherish the friendships I've made on twitter and wonder, "How did I survive without it?" And, yes, promo comes last. FOR SURE. I, too, unfollow those who aren't genuinely interested in creating some type of relationship.

  11. I'm happy for everyone who loves this was of communicating, but the 140 characters is--I'm truly at a loss for words, and I'm never at a loss for words--too limiting is what I'm settling on and is polite. LOL I'll probably succumb, because I gave in on FB after telling my CPs "I'll never do that." Very stupid of me. We can seldom know what we'll never do. Like Florence above I'll take a nice blog anytime. Thanks for thought provoking post.

    1. Marsha - I was with you. I really thought it was inane. . . what's the point?
      But once you get started, you'll be surprised! Glad you're never saying never - last time I did that, I ended up getting married again!

  12. Great advice, Laura, especially re: research. People love to display their expertise. And the 140-character limit may be a blessing when it comes to those who are inclined to wax endlessly about their knowledge. 😉

  13. I get a little stymied finding hashtags on Twitter. Like, say I have a question about gardening. And I want other gardeners to see it. Is there a #garden hashtag? If so, how do I find out? That's really too easy. I'd like to tweet about cycling. Is it #cycling? #bicycling? #bikeracing? I know you can search, and by trial and error find hashtags that are in use, but is there somewhere you can find ... lists of hashtags???

    1. Great question, Kara. I did a Google search, and the most recommended site is: http://hashtags.org/ If you type in for ex: #biking, it shows you usage of that hashtag (trending) and who used it, and their Tweets. I'd think that would tell you what was the most popular - providing, of course, that you thought to type it!

    1. I agree, Ella - I think they should give up working on World Peace (haven't seen any progress there lately) and work on adding about 4 hours to the day!

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