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!