Twitter Tuesday #5

Welcome to the fifth installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. 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.

This Week’s Fail Whale–The Debbie Downer Twit

The Debbie Downer Twit has no idea how to interact with others in any way other than garnering pity. The DDT tweets regularly about life’s disappointments, including the stack of rejections received daily from agents and editors. DDT complains non-stop about how being a writer is soooooo hard. She gripes about publishing, agents, editors, how hard it is to have a job and write, and on and on and on.

When others tweet about success, DDT can be counted on to reply with something akin to, “Congratulations. I wish I could be lucky like you.”

The Debbie Downer Twit is out there. She is real, but all of us have to be careful not to tread into DDT waters. Twitter commiseration is tempting, especially when we are having a bad day. Being a writer is tough and sometimes it feels a lot like being punched in the face…and then volunteering for it again, and again, and oh yeah…again. But, here is the deal. ALL of us are basically in this same boat. We are happy to offer some soothing gestures when someone is having a particularly rough time (and we all have them). But, it is easy to slip into being a Debbie Downer Twit.

Being a DDT can not only have social consequences, but professional consequences, too. I will demonstrate.

@KristenLambTX Woke up early today. 9:30! Whoo-hoo. Computer has been giving me problems. I wish I could afford a new one, but my ex emptied my bank account.

@KristenLambTX Checked the mail. Why do I do that to myself? Two more rejections. Putting them in the file with all the others.

@KristenLambTX Working at the library. Forgot to pay the electricity bill. Was too busy querying agents.

@KristenLambTX Called my therapist and she says it’s normal to slip into depression when rejected so often. Will one of you be my friend before I do something drastic?

Okay…so how many of you are lining up to hang out with me? No takers? When we query agents, it is common for them to Google our name. So, when the agent takes a look at my tweets, do I look like a professional? Like someone she wants to work with? Or like someone who calls for a pre-paid restraining order?

Who needs the drama? Life can be tough and leaning on tweeps once in a while is fine. But, we do need to consider that every post, every status update and blog are like individual puzzle pieces that others fit together to gain a picture of who we are. We want others to end up with a nice picture.

We writers are on Twitter for more than social time. We are building our platform, and a huge part of our platform is our public image. It is our duty to make sure we are putting our best foot forward.

Twitter Tip-Personal problems are best tended in person.

Try to keep your setbacks, frustrations and disappointments to your personal group of friends. When we send messages out to the World Wide Web, we no longer have privacy or control. It’s really best to call a friend on the phone or have coffee with fellow writers. This way there is no worry that a message could be taken out of context. You know Murphy’s Law. The one day we have a melt-down on-line will be the ONE day an agent would look us up.

If you must talk to a Twitter peep, that is what the Direct Message function is for. Some of the people I know on Twitter are the best friends I have. But just because I need help, advice, the chocolate-red-wine-hotline doesn’t mean the whole world must know, too.

People gravitate to the positive anyway. We have enough negative. Grouchy people at work, angry crazies on the commute, doom and gloom on the news. If we can make a habit of always being positive, our platform will grow much faster because people genuinely need some light in this often dark world. Humans crave community, encouragement, and relationship…so give it to them. It’s good for us, too.

Tweet ya later!

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  1. #1 by Piper Bayard on February 15, 2011 - 3:32 pm

    Great pointer. Just reading your examples made me want to “unfollow” your imaginary DDT. People have enough problems of their own. It’s one thing to share with close friends when real things are happening in life, but wallowing in manufactured drama screams “loser” and brings exactly no benefit to anyone.

  2. #2 by Amanda Hoving on February 15, 2011 - 3:44 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree, Kristen. Of course, now I’m anxiously trying to think back to whether I’ve tweeted like this before, but…;) I love reading tweets about the successes of fellow writers — that’s what keeps me motivated.

  3. #3 by dtrasler on February 15, 2011 - 3:50 pm

    Kristen,
    I know you run a second “personal” Facebook page, but do you reccommend running a second “Dark Side” Twitter account, under a pseudonym where we can vent all the non-professional whiny feelings without damaging our webvibe? Although I understand the negative impact of DDT syndrome, I also feel her pain and know I slip into her ways far too often. Maybe I should just keep a notebook on my desk and wite those things in there? Or just scream into a pillow now and then…..

    • #4 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 15, 2011 - 3:54 pm

      LOL….yeah. THIS is the time for monikers. Truthfully, just let it go. My husband taught me the perfect saying, “It is what it is.” I just move on and refuse to focus on anything negative. I look at what I can do to change things, and do my part. Beyond that? It just gives us wrinkles and more gray hair😛.

      • #5 by educlaytion on February 16, 2011 - 4:27 am

        Your husband is dead on. “It is what it is” has been a motto of mine for years. I became a much more sane person when I truly embraced that. Good reminder on the problems of negativity. Some bloggers need to hear this as well!

  4. #6 by Charles Warren on February 15, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    We all have things to be grateful for. I’m reminded of a post a few months ago in which the writer (I’ve forgotten who it was) wrote that if we feel like complaining that we have too much housework-be grateful for having a house. The point was that whatever we complain about, there is always something in that complaint to be grateful for. Rejection? You’re taking steps towards becoming a writer. The positive is always there. Thanks for reminding me.

  5. #7 by K.B. Owen on February 15, 2011 - 4:31 pm

    Your metaphor of “Debbie Downer” is perfect! I’ve dealt with a few of those types in the real world and they are really hard to disentangle. A “DD” statement like “Congratulations on your contract; wish I could get a publisher” isn’t a congratulations at all: it’s the equivalent of the door-to-door salesman sticking his foot in the door when you open it a crack so he can worm his way in. It’s all about him. Just don’t buy the encyclopedias!

    As you make clear in your WANA book, social media is about being generous-hearted, giving and reciprocating, without keeping a tally. What the Debbie Downers out there haven’t learned is that twitter karma will come back to you.

  6. #8 by Sandra Warren on February 15, 2011 - 4:34 pm

    Great advice as usual. Building a positive platform is so important. One negative tweet can bring it down. That’s why I only tweet when I have something positive to say.

  7. #9 by Tamara LeBlanc on February 15, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    I read a blog post recently that made fun of writers who only Tweet about writing and word counts. I’m not sure of the frequency of word countTweets the author took offense to, but It worried me a little. I thought to myself…I do that.
    Like you mentioned, no one wants to read the tweets Debbie Downer bangs out over a Kleenex every 20 seconds. It tends to be, well…a downer.
    But, “Being a writer is tough and sometimes it feels a lot like being punched in the face…and then volunteering for it again, and again, and oh yeah…again.” No truer words were ever spoken. And because a lot of writers struggle to fill a blank page, and endure the Tyson-like mental blows you spoke of, many of us are thrilled to get a few paragraphs, or God willing, a whole friggin chapter under our belts for the day.
    Twitter has become an easy way to tell the world, “I accomplished something! I did it! I wrote 500 wrds today.” And to tell you the truth, I don’t see much wrong in that. But that might just be me.
    Do you have any comments in regard to the bloggers beef with WC? If I as a writer Tweet 90% about writing, and 10 % filler, is that wrong?
    Curious.
    Thanks for Twitter Tuesday, and for all your posts!
    Have a wonderful afternoon!
    Tamara

    • #10 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 15, 2011 - 6:00 pm

      I have no problem with that. WC posted by others keeps me accountable and is inspiring. Seems strange the person would be bothered, but, hey, can’t please everyone. The whole point of the #writegoal was so that writers could post daily goals and cheer each other on. *shrugs* Thanks for always being so positive and for the great comments😀

      • #11 by Tamara LeBlanc on February 15, 2011 - 7:46 pm

        Cool! I’m glad I asked.
        Thanks so much!
        T

  8. #12 by Patti Mallett on February 15, 2011 - 5:37 pm

    LOVE the new photo! (It has everything.)

    • #13 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 15, 2011 - 6:02 pm

      THANKS!😀

  9. #14 by Patti Mallett on February 15, 2011 - 5:43 pm

    It eez what it eez.

    I like that, a lot!

    (Thanks, Hubby.)

  10. #15 by Jill Kemerer on February 15, 2011 - 6:12 pm

    Oh yeah, I agree with this. We only have clues through the person’s profile and tweets to create a mental image of a stranger we decide to follow. It’s up to us to provide GOOD clues!

    I love your new profile pic! It’s so pretty and fun!

  11. #16 by Julia Broadbooks on February 15, 2011 - 6:23 pm

    I do know a couple of Debbie Downers and it’s draining to talk to them. They can take the wind out of my sails on all but the best of days. I don’t want to apologize for having a great day. I’m much happier focusing on the positive most days anyway.

  12. #17 by Marilag Lubag on February 15, 2011 - 7:38 pm

    I think I sometimes turn into a Debbie Downer. Those would be the days when I panic over something when in reality, I should take a step back and chill. It’s also when I should use my DM (which I never do).

    Looking at other writer’s accomplishments cheers me up so I always say congratulations. It makes me feel better.🙂

    • #18 by Tamara LeBlanc on February 15, 2011 - 7:45 pm

      Dude, If you ever have a Debbie Downer Day, Tweet me. I’ll do my best to cheer you up!🙂

  13. #19 by laradunning on February 15, 2011 - 8:46 pm

    Great advice. You have shed light onto DDT.

  14. #20 by this write life on February 15, 2011 - 10:08 pm

    This is great advice, especially the part about having your name Googled. My “money” job is at a media monitoring company, and it is a mistake for anyone to think what you put out there in cyberspace is only viewed by ‘friends’. You have to view your cyber-self in the world of 1984, and Big Brother is watching. Anything and everything is available for the right person to find. If you view your cyber-self as your PR department and post accordingly, you will have no worries.
    Love the new picture BTW!
    Cheers!

  15. #21 by Jenni Holbrook-Talty on February 15, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    In general its a good idea to remain positive and upbeat when in public. I also think its important to be human. Where writers are concerned, rejections are a part of the game and sometimes we just need to go, UGH. Being a techno junkie, when something I’m working on has an epic fail, I will sometimes tweet, ARGH, my html exploded or whatever. An hour later I might tweet, Yeah! I fixed it. Goodie me. There is a time and place for everything.

  16. #22 by nrhatch on February 15, 2011 - 11:26 pm

    Great advice, Kristen. As writers, we don’t want to be unfriended because we whine about how haaaaaard it is to write.

    I just “unfriended” a DDT on FB. I could NOT stand “listening” to her any more. 😉

  17. #23 by Peter Koevari on February 15, 2011 - 11:52 pm

    Nice post Kristen,

    When I read it, I wondered if I said anything on twitter that falls into those lines… I did say something like “Still haven’t got my laptop back from repair, but will write more of my book soon”… but it’s a positive.

    I engage into conversations using mentions, but carefully. If there’s something that I want to say privately, I will do so in a DM.

    Having said that, I did try to do something nice for a lady on twitter who said publically that she may be still in love with her ex and it’s bad, and I responded with basically just saying “hey, maybe it might work… but I hope you don’t get hurt again”…

    Lesson learned…

    I got back quite a nasty response to what I thought was a nice thing to do. Then I saw her other tweets that were all looking nasty and angry with twitter users. DDT? I recognised her. So I responded with something nice, and then stopped responding to her.

    It is horrid when I see something like that happen.

    Mostly I have positive experiences on Twitter, but I do have a question for you. I am a fantasy writer, and one of my new tweeps is a writer of erotica… we talk and I know you say that you should never discuss anything erotic unless its your genre.

    But the line blurs when its the genre of the writer you are talking to and you engage in a discussion. I wrote all my responses tactfully, carefully and not crudely and we had a great conversation.

    I guess that’s ok by twitter ettiquette?🙂

  18. #24 by Betty K on February 16, 2011 - 12:26 am

    Just the exact message I needed to read today. Timely especially since I realized only last night that my own blog seems to be negative. Not the image I want to present nor is it good for me so thanks for the reminder.

  19. #25 by Joanna Aislinn on February 16, 2011 - 4:04 am

    I liked the aspect of professionalism one needs to consider when tweeting, posting, commenting, etc. An unprofessional or otherwise adverse attitude can be easily remembered by many. Thanks again, Kristin!

  20. #26 by Laura Diamond on February 16, 2011 - 5:25 am

    Lol, this is a great post!! It’s easy to slip into the “woe is me” attitude, but it quickly alienates people. And it doesn’t get you anywhere. I think it’s ok to be bummed out, but you’ve gotta pick yourself up & try again too.

  21. #27 by M.E. Anders on February 16, 2011 - 3:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing this information for the Tweeps who are prone to “blurt” on Twitter. Keeping it professional is key – or, send a direct message.

    Pertinent reminder, Kristen.

  22. #28 by Angela Perry on February 16, 2011 - 9:39 pm

    I read this post and immediately had to go to my Twitter stream and scan for the DDT tweets. Because I’m paranoid like that. Kind of like when someone says “I can lick my tongue” and everyone has to try it.

    Hee hee. Admit it. You just tried it😉 Thanks for a great post. It’s good to be aware of these things.

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