Many of you know about #MyWANA. I started this hashtag for a number of reasons. First, I felt that Twitter was far too full of spam. People needed a place where they could just talk to people and make new friends. Writing is a very lonely business and originally #MyWANA was a place that, when we took a break, we could always count on finding some friendly WANA to talk to. This was very useful for teaching Twitter noobs why Twitter was such a great tool. Some lone writer who had no friends could instantly become part of a community of love and support.
#MyWANA was the Love Revolution.
Lately? I believe Twitter is becoming less and less effective because of various applications like Social Oomph, Hoot Suite, and Triberr. Applications like these have even seriously hurt #MyWANA. These tools promise us this ease of automation, but I feel that people use them to be lazy (Hashtags & The Trouble with Twitter Tribbles). In fact, the link spam has gotten SO BAD on #MyWANA that people no longer go there to hang out, and that, to me, is tragic.
#MyWANA used to be a rare beacon of light on Twitter, and now it looks like every other spam-littered hashtag. Even people who claim to be WANAs have automated link after link after link. They have time to automate link spam on #MyWANA, but not enough time to come and talk to people, and today I am saying, “Enough.”
I’ve been kind and hinted and nudged but today I am reclaiming my hashtag. My hashtag, my rules. I tried being nice, but from this point on I will report and block any automation on #MyWANA. We set up the #WANAblogs hashtag for those who wanted to program using tools. This was to free up #MyWANA for community. Today I am enforcing that. So anyone who has programmed to tweet on #MyWANA, please change that because, as of Monday I will block and report any automation on #MyWANA.
No Love, No Community
Here is the thing, I am really trying to help. #MyWANA doesn’t work if people aren’t on there caring, sharing and connecting. If we all just automate the #, then every tweet becomes white noise, another blast of self-promotion in a sea of me, me, me, me, look at me!
We cannot expect from others what we, ourselves, are unwilling give.
I recall being at Thrillerfest and a fellow writer was trying to convince me why I was wrong about tools. The conversation went something like this.
WOMAN: Yes, but this tool lets me program my tweets throughout the day so that I can tweet while I’m away.
ME: So you’re a bot.
WOMAN: Oh, no. I’m not. I actually write all my tweets. I just program them to tweet throughout the day, like I said.
ME: Okay, but if you tweet and I respond, then no one is there, correct?
WOMAN: Uh, no. No one is there.
ME: And I assume you tweet links to your blog and buy your books?
WOMAN: Yes. Yes, I do.
ME: So you are automating links to read your blogs and buy your books, and the only way that works effectively is if I am actually present on Twitter so I can follow these links. Correct?
ME: So basically you want something from me that you are unwilling to give. You are too busy and important to be on Twitter, whereas I have nothing better to do than to follow your links.
WOMAN: Oh, I see what you mean.
Here is the thing, on social media, less is more. It is actually BETTER for us to only tweet one or two times a day and it be really US than it is to program tweets. Our society is SO inundated with spam that we aren’t helping ourselves with automation. If anything, we are hurting our brand every time we send out an automated tweet. Remember what brand is:
NAME + CONTENT + POSITIVE FEELINGS = BRAND
If every time people see our name float by they associate it with spam, automation and self-promotion, that is BAD. It is estimated that there are 250 billion messages generated every day on the Internet, and 80% of those messages are spam. We have been trained to ignore this stuff, so it doesn’t WORK.
What it Means to Be a WANA
WANAs are different. We believe in service and community. We give first. #MyWANA should reflect that. Originally, when it was a thriving community, people paid attention to the links. Now? We have too many bots in WANA clothing. We should not demand the benefits of WANA unless we act like a WANA.
The way #MyWANA originally worked, we didn’t have to automate because our team went looking for our links to RT. If we had a fellow WANA we knew worked during the day, we would scroll the feed and look to RT it in the morning and afternoon. We served. That is the point of WANA.
Either we are going to rely on our team or bots. We cannot have both.
Anyway, I apologize that it has come to this. I know that, on WANATribe (the social network I started for writers and creative professionals), I have heard many WANAs upset that the #MyWANA is infested with bots. Yes, I want as many people as possible to join WANATribe, but WANATribe has its own unique function. Twitter is a very useful tool, especially if approached the WANA Way so I am unwilling to just abandon #MyWANA and Twitter.
What is the WANA Way?
Service above self. Also, apply the Rule of Three: 1/3 Information (link to your blog), 1/3 Reciprocation (RT for someone else), 1/3 CONVERSATION. This is the one component that is most overlooked, and yet, especially in the Digital Age, when we are so programmed to ignore advertising, this component is the most important.
I am sorry it has come to this. I know there are probably people who have spammed #MyWANA unintentionally. No hard feelings. Just please change that in your automation. I have made clear how I feel about automation, and how I am really against any automation with hashtags, but that is my opinion. I have no say over other #s, but I do have a say over #MyWANA.
As of Monday I will block and report any automation on #MyWANA. I encourage those WANAs who have been grieving the loss of our beloved community to stand up and reclaim territory.
1. Feel free to block any automation on #MyWANA. Feel free to give warning. Maybe send a link to this post.
2. Talk! I have had a lot of WANAs talk to me on Twitter yet not use the #MyWANA. If we don’t use the # then people can’t see or join the interaction.
3. Talk more often. If we will get on there and connect, then we will crowd out the link spam. It doesn’t take that long to hop on and tweet three conversational tweets. “Wow, congratulations on the word count.” “Man, how can I always forget to eat lunch?” “I can’t wait until I can train my cat to fold laundry.”
I have no problems with tweeting a link on #MyWANA if the person tweeting is active and present. I often tweet my blog on #MyWANA but then I immediately start talking so people know I am not a bot. TweetDeck tattles on us, and I can see what tools people are using. If I see Triberr in the #MyWANA feed, I know the person is not present. As of Monday, I start blocking and reporting.
I refuse to follow or RT any automation. I encourage others who want Twitter to be authentic to do the same. Refuse to feed the beast.
Anyway, Happy Friday and I want you guys to feel encouraged. #MyWANA is a fun, enjoyable, supportive place to gather. The only way it will remain that way is if we step up and defend it. I look forward to hanging out again with you at #MyWANA. I genuinely DO care about your lives and want to know you as people.
So what are your thoughts? Have you missed the #MyWANA mojo? Are you frustrated by bots? What are your suggestions?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
***Changing the contest.
It is a lot of work to pick the winners each week. Not that you guys aren’t totally worth it, but with the launch of WANA International and WANATribe I need to streamline. So I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners will now have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of August I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck! Also, I will announce July’s winner probably on Monday. I am just buried in work after being gone most of July.
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.