Friday, November 12, 2010

Things I Should Probably Say About Twitter

follow-me-btnI think I’ve put off posting about Twitter, except for my weekly tweet roundup.

For a while, I’ve gotten some hints from tweeters that I should have a sort of Twitter Manifesto. :) But I’m not much of a manifesto writer.

I get a lot of the same questions from folks on Twitter, though—through @ replies and DMs, so I figure I should probably run a post on them. For anyone who’s on Twitter, I’m at @elizabethscraig.

I’ll post this in a Q & A format and cover the questions I usually get:

How did you start tweeting links and why?

I was reading a lot of writing links and it seemed like it would be helpful to pass on ones that I thought were especially good. That snowballed until I had followers that were very interested in a variety of writing-related tweets. These were writers in different stages of their writing career—some just starting out, some veterans. So I started searching for good, solid posts—even if they were on topics that didn’t directly apply to what I’m writing.

It’s a platform for me, too, and provides a very indirect way of marketing and getting my name out there—and being indirect is really the only way I feel comfortable with promo.

How do you find the links?

I don’t get them from my Twitter feed—I actually subscribe directly to the writing blogs’ RSS feed and read them in my Google Reader.

How many blogs do you subscribe to and how do you browse them?

According to my Google Reader, I subscribe to 1,482 blogs. Ack. I have my Google Reader set on “list” view and I scan through them quickly—usually looking for writing craft-related posts.

How long does it take you to find posts, read them, and tweet them in a day?

It usually takes a little over an hour each day.

Are you on Twitter all day?

Actually, no—I usually just check in with Twitter a few times a day. If I have more free time, I check in more frequently.

How do you schedule tweets?

I use an application called “Social Oomph” to schedule my tweets. The idea is to spread them out through the day so that they’re (hopefully) not overwhelming and are reaching people in other time zones.

Why aren’t you following me back?

I follow everyone back, although sometimes I get a little behind with updating my list. If I’m not following you, then I think you’re a spammer or else you’ve just started following me. If you’re not a spammer, just send me an email at elizabethspanncraig(at)gmail(dot)com. Or try to DM me on Twitter (jury's out on whether you can DM someone who doesn't follow you on the new version of Twitter) and let me know. :)

What’s the best way to contact you?

I check my DMs on Twitter at least once a day, but you can also email me at elizabethspanncraig(at)gmail(dot)com.

I have a great writing blog—how can I bring my blog to your attention?

I’m always looking for new writing blogs to add to my Google Reader. Just send me a DM or an email with your link and I’ll subscribe to the RSS feed.

How do you pick which posts to run?

I’m usually looking for craft-related, industry-related, social media, or promo-related posts. I love posts that are easily skimmed, have great content, and can be helpful to a lot of writers.

Can you tweet my book review?

I don’t usually tweet reviews, sorry.

Can you tweet something out to your followers?

It depends on what it is—I’m trying to stick to writing-related, tip-related tweeting. I figure the more I send spammy stuff, then I’m watering down my tweet stream.

(From PR firms, who do like to contact me): What is your marketing strategy behind these tweets? Does it seem to be working?

There wasn’t a whole lot of marketing thought that went into this, which is why I’m probably getting so many DMs from PR people! I’m focusing on the tweeting mainly as a service to other writers, but I am gaining a nice platform in the process. It seemed to work out really well with pre-orders for my last book.

Do you read your tweet stream?

Honestly, I find my tweet stream totally overwhelming. If I try to read or follow all those incoming tweets then it makes me feel like I have ADHD. :) I follow over 6100 and I can blink and find 20 updates.

What if I wrote a great blog post and you didn’t notice it—can I bring it to your attention?

Sure—feel free to DM me with it. I can’t promise to run it, but I promise to take a look…and I’ll make sure I subscribe to your feed.

If I wrote a great post a few days ago and tweeted you about it and it hasn’t run, will it ever run?

Sometimes I schedule tweets way out—sometimes a week or more…so it might still run.

Do you @ all of the blog post authors whose links you tweet?

I used to, and I’d really like to be able to. Some of them I do know by heart, if they frequently have good material. Some of them I’ll @ because it’s someone I know I’ve never tweeted. But usually I just don’t have enough time to look up the Twitter handle on each blog to @ the authors. If your “Follow Me on Twitter” is very visible to the top of your blog page, then you’re a lot more likely to be @ed.

Do you ever chat on Twitter?

I don’t ever @ anyone in conversation…but I do have DM conversations with people. I’m just trying to keep my Twitter profile page completely link-related so make it an easier resource for folks to access.

What types of posts are most likely to be tweeted by you? Which are most popular and most likely to be retweeted by others?

Craft posts and clever humorous posts are the top favorites of my followers. List posts are appreciated, too. Anything that’s helpful about social media, or organizing our writing life helps, too.

Is there a way to make my blog posts more likely to be tweeted by you or by others?

Definitely. I’d recommend a post title that is clear as to the post content, an RSS feed button, and a visible Twitter button on the top half of the blog main page. I’d also recommend a non-rambling post, top-notch, concise content, and something that’s easy-t0-scan (bullet points and bold type helps.)

Some days your links seem better than others. How do you do quality control?

Sometimes, despite the large number of blogs I subscribe to, there’s a lack of content out there…right now I’m blaming NaNo. :) Holidays play into that, too. And...sometimes I'm busy and I have less time to hunt through my Reader.

Do you do #FF and #WW? Why not?

I used to, but with the number of followers and FFs and WWs I get now, I’m just not able to return the favor without sending out an entire page of spam. I really appreciate the ones I get from followers, though!

Is there a place where I can locate these links or search them?

I’m posting all my tweets from the past week each Sunday here on my blog. My blog is searchable (top, left corner). I’m going to have a page with all my Twitterifics on one page, which I think will make searching the content easier. I’m hoping to get started on that soon. :)

And now...a disclaimer (I know--so corporate-sounding...)

Occasionally I'll tweet links that I think show an interesting point of view on, or controversial approach to, writing or the publishing industry. This doesn't necessarily mean that I agree or disagree with the post's author--just that I think the discussion is interesting and believe that others would, too. Please don't assume my opinion of a subject, or my support of an author's opinion, based on my tweeting the link.

That being said, if I think a post's writing advice is completely wrongheaded, I'm not tweeting it.

Thanks everyone! Hope this helps.