Dr. Twuth–Are Writers Related to Ferrets? ADD and Social Media

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday with Dr. Twuth. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. This blog will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

So who is Dr. Twuth? Heard of Dr. Ruth, Sex Therapist? Well, today I am introducing you to my alter ego Dr. Twuth, Text Therapist (Dr. Twuth is accredited by one of the best mail-order PhD universities in the Bahamas. She isn’t a real doctor, just plays one on the Internet).

Have a question about Twitter? A problem? A sticky wicket? Let Dr. Twuth help, because the Twuth will set you free.

Dr. Twuth–Putting the “smart” back in smart phones.

On to our tweeps in need…

Dear Dr. Twuth,

I spend way too much time on Twitter but it’s so much fun. Ah, social media – so much to do, so little time :-) Maybe I should just duct-tape my laptop shut? Dr. Twuth?

Signed,

Overwhelmed Orlowski

Dear Overwhelmed,

This is a common problem when it comes to writers. What few people know is that most of us writers can trace our genetic lineage to an offshoot of the ferret family–early homo sapiens must have gotten desperate for warmth right after the last Ice Age and cuddling went too far.

You can see how embarrassing this is and why we have buried the twuth for years…along with snacks, favorite pens and some killer bookmarks.

Anyway, it was at this genetic juncture that writers broke off the family tree from normal homo sapiens. Writers are actually a distinctive line of primates known by only certain scientific communities (the ones who failed Biology 101) as homo ferretus busyworkus--which scientifically explains the short attention span and the attraction to all things shiny. Most of you probably make nice nests of paper and fluffy things like sweatshirts and crocheted blankets.

Yes…I really can see you. You behind the stack of unread books and papers to be edited. Pay attention. Stop tormenting the cat with the laser pointer.

Anyway, yes we are born this way. It can be a genetic advantage in that the homo ferretus enjoys a heightened sense of curiosity and a need to explore, but this comes at a price.

Shiny things are our downfall.

Thus, anything shiny–like Tweet Deck–must be treated with extreme care. I highly recommend avoiding purchasing lava lamps or disco balls, despite how “cool” they would be to have in your office. And, when it comes to social media, we need to have a plan.

If we will brand everything under our NAME–the name that will be printed on the front of our books–this will help a lot. Too many writers are hiding behind a cutesy moniker on Twitter, then they have an equally cutesy name for the blog and then their Facebook page has their real name and the fan page has a pen name. These writers are trying to balance FOUR identities/brands. Since efforts are diffused, there is less impact when these writers participate on social media. So, using our NAME, will help a lot. Every effort is focused like—

Yes, like the laser pointer you are using with the cat. Could you please pay attention?

Thank you.

Your efforts on social media will be focused like that laser pointer you should not shine directly in your cat’s eyes because it can cause retinal damage. A focused social media platform will transfix followers the same way as your cat, who was so absorbed in the shiny red dot that he didn’t even see the dog.

A brand gives followers a focal point.

Another key tactic to managing social media is to create friendships and community. When we all work together, creating a platform is far easier. We can rely on others to help us if we actively seek to help and support them. I liken it to a barn-raising. When we all do a little for each other, big jobs suddenly become more manageable. Since we aren’t doing everything alone, we need to spend far less time on social media to still be effective.

This is one of the reasons that using traditional marketing tactics on social media is so ineffective. Most people won’t line up to help a spammer, so the writer has to do everything alone. This is why spammy writers need in excess of 20,000 Twitter followers to have any impact on sales. The ROI of this approach is dismal, because the writer is marketing linearly instead of exponentially.

Teamwork and service above self is always the winning combination….like nachos and coffee. Always a win.

Best of luck!

Dr. Twuth

See how easy this is? Do you have a Twitter or social media dilemma? Leave your question in the comments or if you would like to maintain anonymity, e-mail Dr. Twuth’s slave assistant at kristen at kristen lamb dot org. Just put GIVE ME THE TWUTH in the subject line.

Dr. Twuth is all about love and offering a human touch to this digital world. Dr. Twuth is #MyWANA certified, or certifiable, I can’t recall which. But, hey, it’s free so if you don’t like her advice, she will give you 100% refund (There will be a $15.99 processing fee for said refund).

Let Dr. Twuth help you out. Remember, the Twuth will set you free.

Tweet ya later!

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  1. #1 by Lesann on August 30, 2011 - 9:29 am

    I hope many others read this post because it’s rather frustrating to visit someone’s blog and now know who it belongs to! I appreciate that people are clever with their titles and themes, but having a name to put to a personality is more helpful for me to remember. Also…if I want to save their blog and revisit (a good thing, right?) a name is easier for me to remember than a clever moniker about rainbows and robots.

    And it never hurts if I don’t have to search for the “follow me on twitter” icon. Just saying.

  2. #2 by educlaytion on August 30, 2011 - 9:31 am

    I just shut down Tweet Deck’s auto updates last night. Too distracting. I should probably wear blinders like those race horses when I write.

    • #3 by August McLaughlin on September 5, 2011 - 2:52 pm

      Ha… I totally agree. I may turn the TD on occasionally while I’m, I dunno, waiting for bread dough to rise or scrubbing the kitchen floors (definite good time for distraction).

  3. #4 by kathryn magendie on August 30, 2011 - 9:34 am

    The part about “shiny things” made me laugh! :-D . . . There’s a reason I wrote one of my books (the draft, not the entire final one) in 30 days — I had a laptop that was then not connected to the internet, so it was used only for word processing — to do research or check email, etc, I had to go to a different room. As well, I wasn’t, then, on FB, twitter, and I didn’t have a blog –twitter/fb weren’t big as they are now and I just hadn’t heard of blogs (i is dumb -pronounced with emphasis on b).

    Shiny shiny things!

  4. #5 by K.B. Owen on August 30, 2011 - 9:36 am

    Could bloggers please put their twitter signs on the page, too? When I tweet their site, I want to let them know, but sometimes it’s an archaeological expedition just to find out the twitter name.

    Thanks!

    • #6 by Gene Lempp on August 30, 2011 - 10:04 am

      Second this motion. I tweet tons of posts every week and I’d love to give everyone their due attribution but at times that simply isn’t possible. Remember, part of having an effective platform is visibility :)

      • #7 by Leanne Shirtliffe on August 30, 2011 - 10:01 pm

        And I thank you both for being SO generous in your tweets! :D

  5. #8 by Michelle DeRusha on August 30, 2011 - 9:45 am

    I find when I am writing, I have to turn off TweetDeck — I get incredibly distracted by that chirping, blinking box in the upper left corner of my screen. Even when I turn off the sound, just the presence of the constantly updating box is too much of a lure.

    Speaking of social media ADD…have you read “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr? I found it a fascinating (somewhat frightening) look at how technology — particularly the Internet — is reshaping and changing the way our brain process information.

    • #9 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 30, 2011 - 9:47 am

      You can turn that off in the settings. I only get an alert when someone tweets me. I minimize the screen and then chack when I am on breaks. I haven’t read that, but thank you for the suggestion. I will check it out :D.

  6. #10 by the writ and the wrote on August 30, 2011 - 10:02 am

    Great post. I would love to get better at using Twitter. I have an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket – I might use it to get your books.

  7. #11 by Gene Lempp on August 30, 2011 - 10:07 am

    Must…not…chase…the…shiny…*trap closes*

    Have to say, I used to love running headlong into every shiny-faced new techno-feature but thanks to Dr. Twuth I’m finding the power to over come the illness. The brain transplant really helped, Dr. Twuth, thanks!

  8. #12 by Marcy Kennedy on August 30, 2011 - 10:19 am

    Uh oh, guess this means I need to get rid of that lava lamp I’ve had since university . . . :)

    I have my alerts on TweetDeck set so that I don’t receive notifications of every new tweet everyone makes. The noise would drive me insane.

    I use social media as a reward system. I set a task and when I finish it, then I’m allowed to check Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Works really well as a motivator.

  9. #13 by Jane Sadek on August 30, 2011 - 10:25 am

    This explains a lot. When I go to restaurants or parties with TV’s on, be it the game, music videos or cartoons for the kiddies, I’m mesmerized by the moving pictures in the shiny box. I may not care about the teams, like the music or even understand the plot, but the humans around me fade away and I’m looking at the idiot box. Glad to know it is my ferret ancestry.

  10. #14 by lanceschaubert on August 30, 2011 - 10:49 am

    ADD = Absent Dad Disorder

    I got it too.

  11. #15 by Anne R. Allen on August 30, 2011 - 11:14 am

    If only we could get this through to more writers :

    “Too many writers are hiding behind a cutesy moniker on Twitter, then they have an equally cutesy name for the blog and then their Facebook page has their real name and the fan page has a pen name. These writers are trying to balance FOUR identities/brands.”

    They are also really, really annoying to people who actually might want to help them. I’ve had long conversations on Twitter with somebody named @shysuzi who then approaches me on my blog calling herself MusingMuse asking me to buy a book by somebody named Winifred Writer, and I have no idea I’m dealing with the same person.

    Also, I wish people would get the difference between networking and spamming. A perfectly nice writer I actually like has started leaving comments on my blog with irrelevant pitches for her book. She doesn’t realize she’s not only annoying me, but she’s driving away potential customers.

    • #16 by ccmackenzie on August 30, 2011 - 5:21 pm

      Absolutely agree 100%.

      I’m moving my blog to wordpress and opening a Myspace a/c and a facebook page and facebook fanpage in the name of C.C MacKenzie, my author name. Of course, I jumped into twitter and blogger BEFORE I read Kristen’s book (head slap).

      I’m almost at the end of a set of revisions and I have a full ms out with my editor and I’ve just completed a full outline of another work and have a full draft of another work tapping it’s foot waiting for me. But I need to find the time and patience to follow the instructions in the book and then I’ll be set. I hope.

      I want to be set up before I send out the word to my friends and followers of where to find me. Although I’m still blogging and will link the blogger account as well. Patience is something I need to learn. The great thing is that although it sounds like a lot, as Kristen says, once all of the above is linked in and ready to rock, it should make connecting with readers a lot easier in the long run. I think the key is to be professional, disciplined and consistent in our approach to social media and make it work for us. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by all of this, but if we take it one step at a time and keep our eye on the goal, we’re going to rock.

      Maybe you should direct the writer here to learn about etiquette by posting a link on your blog to Kristen’s post. Maybe do a ‘Here’s a great link to blog etiquette!’ I suspect it’s ignorance, which is no excuse of course. It’s too easy to trip ourselves up, with the best of intentions, and not realise how annoying we can be if we don’t know what we’re doing.

  12. #17 by susielindau on August 30, 2011 - 1:05 pm

    Tweetdeck??? I am closing my eyes and not looking that one up. With google chrome I am already distracted by notifications.
    Twitter is a great way to communicate as long as I don’t just sit around only typing tweets all day.
    At least I did one thing right in using my own name on everything. Yeah!

  13. #18 by Angela OrlowskiPeart (@Angela_Peart) on August 30, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    Oh boy, this is my question! Thank you, Kristen for answering it, although I’m feeling kinda singled out, ha,ha. Your class was an eye opener for me and so was your book. I immediately changed my moniker name on Twitter and Facebook to my real name. I wish I could do the same with my blog. I’ve tried and it backfired (my blog wasn’t accessible for three days). I’m planning to switch from Blogger to WordPress in a few days, when my work load lessens.

    Angela Orlowski-Peart (not just “Orlowski” – that’s my maiden name) :-)

  14. #19 by Sara Grambusch on August 30, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    If anything I don’t utilize Tweetdeck to it’s full extent because I find it kind of ugly and hard to read. But seriously, I need glasses, that is probably the issue there.

    Notifications on any program on the computer are not only a distraction but make me lose faith in humanity. Can we not wait to check our own email? Our email does not need to seek us out and announce itself. Instant gratification overload.

    I enjoy Dr. Twuth very much :)

  15. #20 by Angela OrlowskiPeart (@Angela_Peart) on August 30, 2011 - 2:28 pm

    I meant, in a few weeks (the switch).

  16. #21 by Maryann Miller on August 30, 2011 - 3:02 pm

    Good points, Kristen, and I liked what Anne had to say, too. Writers who are not marketers seem to be following a common misconception that we must tell everyone about our book at every possible opportunity. That is a mindset that was fostered in the early years of the big surge in the sales of romance novels and publisher and agents were telling the authors to “get out there and sell your books.” I have noticed that some authors I know and respect have started a big push for their e-books. Maybe if I send them a link to this post, they will ease off the direct sell.

    • #22 by ccmackenzie on August 30, 2011 - 5:34 pm

      I’m glad you said this Maryann, because I receive too many emails and blog updates with ‘buy me’ from girls who are selling really well with a well known publisher of romance and they’re driving me nuts. I like them as people and I like them as writers very much but they need to calm down. I loved them when they gave us a glimpse of themselves as people and I saw how they ticked, now they’re simply turning readers off. However, I know this is not their fault, they’re under the cosh and have been told what to do by their publisher.

      Just think, if a publisher wanted to know about our ‘brand’ and do we have a platform, they’ll be stunned if we can say, ‘Actually I’m on Myspace, wordpress, facebook + fanpage, twitter and I have a website.” Hehehe, bring it on!

  17. #23 by Wayne Borean on August 30, 2011 - 3:27 pm

    Pardon me while I pound my head on the wall some more. Damn woman, you should sign up as a Lost Wages comedian.

  18. #24 by Renee Schuls-Jacobson on August 30, 2011 - 4:32 pm

    I can only check Twitter 3 days a week. It’s my diet. I get really sad at 11 pm when all my buddies on Pacific Time are just showing up on TweetDeck. :-(

    When I’m writing or working, I can’t even think about Twitter. Guaranteed, whatever it is, if @PiperBayard and @LShirtliffe are tweeting about it, it’s way more interesting than anything I’m doing.

    • #25 by Leanne Shirtliffe on August 30, 2011 - 10:04 pm

      And I miss you on Twitter, Renee. You have way more self-control than me.

  19. #26 by tomwisk on August 30, 2011 - 8:40 pm

    Another wonderful post. Irene hit us and the power was out so I read your book Are You There BLOG? . Was blown away. I’ve ignored my duty to put myself out there. From now on I’ll Tweet and whip my blog into shape. Thanks

  20. #27 by ramblingsfromtheleft on August 30, 2011 - 10:06 pm

    Sucks, Dr. Twuth … you twill me to the marrow :) Learning more about Twitter and how to manage it without, one, sounding like a fat-headed spammer, and two, without spending copious amounts of time is my goal for this coming month.

    When I sit down to learn this, I will read you and your book, a few other writers I have found and break it down into short easy lessons. I have reduced my blog from M/W/F to Wed. only, beginning September. The end goal is to use the bulk of my computer time writing, not talking about writing. In blog posts, we can do once a week and have a strong presence, like Anne R. Allen. I will continue the habit of writing four or five posts at one time, inviting guests or doing reprints.

    Question: Can I “program” or pre-tweet, if you will, to compress my time and still get good results without sounding like a flaming ass?

    I keep my computer speakers off unless I want to listen to Youtube music or video. It would drive me nuts to have that weird computer voice come in the middle of a thought with “You have mail”

    How can I respectfully respond and react and still keep my time to a minimum? Thanks :)

  21. #28 by Donna Amis Davis on August 30, 2011 - 10:32 pm

    You had me chuckling out loud at “Stop tormenting the cat with the laser pointer.” This is timely advice for me, as I’m a bit of a newbie. Thanks!!!

  22. #29 by Jolyse Barnett on August 31, 2011 - 7:51 am

    I wonder if it would be better for me to be present on Twitter at the same times each day (usually two or three short visits) instead of randomly like I do now. Also, I wonder how long each Twitter visit should be to form relationships without taking too much time away from my wip. Any suggestions?

  23. #30 by lorie.kaufman.rees on August 31, 2011 - 10:43 am

    How did you know about the laser pointer…

    • #31 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 31, 2011 - 10:52 am

      I have one too :D. I know me, so I know you. Kinda awesome and yet creepy.

  24. #32 by Marilag Lubag on September 2, 2011 - 2:25 pm

    So that means I’m part ferret and part human? :-0 I need to sit down. I’m a hippogriff meal.

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