Twitter Tuesday #9

This blog Welcome to the ninth 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 brandwill help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–The Twitter Tool

Twitter is one of the most powerful tools for building a platform. But just because we have a tool, in no way gives us license to BE a tool. Twitter is one of those platforms that actually does much more than people realize, but those powers are best used for good.

The search function on Twitter is a writer’s best friend. Yet, I have seen this used for evil spammy behavior. It doesn’t work. It is annoying and anyone I see do this I report as a bot.

The search function allows us to comb the millions of tweets floating in the Twitterverse for key words. So I can run a search (word filter) for any word used any time on Twitter. Maybe I love James Rollins, so I want to know not only what @JamesRollins is talking about, but I want the skinny on anyone discussing “Altar of Eden.”

The search function can help me see any time certain key words are mentioned. “James Rollins” or “Altar of Eden.”

What is UNCOOL is when writers (particularly self-published writers) use this function to steal attention.

So say I am chatting with a friend and I tweet:

KristenLambTX: OMG…I just finished Altar of Eden by Rollins and it was sooo good.

Within 20 seconds I get:

@thrillerguy If you liked “Altar of Eden, check out the book reviewers are raving about “Bones of Cairo” (link to his book).

And if this isn’t bad enough, when I click on thrillerguy’s profile, I see:

If you liked “Altar of Eden, check out the book reviewers are raving about “Bones of Cairo” (link to his book).

If you liked “Altar of Eden, check out the book reviewers are raving about “Bones of Cairo” (link to his book).

If you liked “Altar of Eden, check out the book reviewers are raving about “Bones of Cairo” (link to his book).

If you liked “Altar of Eden, check out the book reviewers are raving about “Bones of Cairo” (link to his book).

If you liked “Altar of Eden, check out the book reviewers are raving about “Bones of Cairo” (link to his book).

@thrillerguy is using the search function to spam for him. UNCOOL IN THE EXTREME. Not only am I annoyed because someone hijacked my conversation, but then I find it isn’t even a genuine compliment. It is automated self-promotion. UGH!

Don’t be a Twitter Tool. There are a lot of gadgets offered, but that doesn’t mean they are a good use of our time or even that people enjoy being on the receiving end. People are flocking to social media to get away from this kind of junk. We don’t appreciated being spammed in our sacred space.

Twitter Tip–Use Twitter Search as a Tool (to Connect)

Writers tend to get on Twitter and congregate with other writers, which is okay, but readers aren’t all writers. Twitter’s search function can be used to connect with people who have the same backgrounds, interests and passions and then make friendships based on these commonalities.

I come from a military family and am a military wife. I have a Twitter column searching for terms like Air Force and USMC, and have made friends with other military wives and service men and women all over the globe. These are people who read my blogs even though they aren’t writers, and who are excited to know a writer and eager to help me become successful.

When we befriend people who aren’t writers, they are often way more impressed with the fact we finished a novel than our writer friends. Unlike us, these folk don’t have a hundred writer friends. To them, we are kind of a celebrity, even before we publish which is seriously COOL. These people can grow to become some of our strongest supporters as READERS.

Using the search function to make friends and forge relationships is always a great idea. How? Free-write a hundred words that describe you and your interests. Take time to run searches for people who love to talk about the same things–knitting, pets, kids, teenagers, music, jazz, bellydancing. Make some friends! One day, they will be your greatest cheerleaders.

And, if you want to know the ins and outs of how to use these additional Twitter functions? Buy a copy of We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. I use small words and PICTURES to walk you through all kinds of cool Twitter features like the search function.

Tweet ya later!

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  1. #1 by Peter Saint-Clair on March 15, 2011 - 3:25 pm

    Yes, I need to go out and make more non-writer friends on twitter…guilty as charged of that. Thanks for the great info, Kristen!

  2. #2 by kbowenwriter on March 15, 2011 - 3:36 pm

    You mean we’re not all writers?? **smacks forehead**

  3. #3 by andrewmocete on March 15, 2011 - 3:40 pm

    This happens all the time and what blows my mind is the spammers would never walk up to a stranger and ask for money. Same thing they’re doing on the internet.
    I’ve started to branch out to find non-writers to follow, but I need to do more. So far I’ve found a lot of Joss Whedon fans. I love them.

  4. #4 by Christi Craig on March 15, 2011 - 3:40 pm

    I’ve gotten those kinds of tweet from people like Mr. Thrillerguy. I was wondering how that worked. Thanks for clearing it up for me, and for the suggestion on how the search feature can work in a positive way.

    I always love this series!

  5. #5 by Alannah Murphy on March 15, 2011 - 4:05 pm

    What great timing, I’ve just blocked 3 different people and reported as spam because they’ve done exactly what @thrillerguy did to you.

    A lot of indie authors bombard you with the “buy my book” tweet and as soon as they do that, I unfriend them.

    I am finding Twitter to be a great tool for making contacts, I’m interested in the UK film industry and so I am following people related to that, as you said, if you know how to use Twitter wisely, it ireally is a great tool. Thanks for yet another informative and helpful post Kristen.

  6. #7 by Jean on March 15, 2011 - 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the reminder to step outside the “writer” box for folks to connect with.

  7. #8 by Sonia M. on March 15, 2011 - 4:44 pm

    I’m still a newbie on Twitter but I’ve experienced some spamming. Not fun. I do love being able to search and having TweetDeck. Such great information here, as always!

  8. #9 by Tiffany White on March 15, 2011 - 4:44 pm

    I am a complete novice with Twitter…does WANA give you the basics on how to use? If so, I will buy a copy today!

  9. #10 by Maria I. Morgan on March 15, 2011 - 5:32 pm

    Great info here, Kristen! Making my way through your book, WANA – very helpful! Have a wonderful week. God bless!

  10. #11 by Gigi Salem on March 15, 2011 - 5:38 pm

    Yesterday, I had a freakin bot retweet me because I was talking to someone about my dad being from Egypt! I mean to say! At any rate, I do love using search terms to find out what’s going on and finding other like-minded folk. Coming into Twitter on your advice has really expanded my social network and provided a lot of interesting people with whom I can talk.

  11. #12 by Marilag Lubag on March 15, 2011 - 6:17 pm

    Need to use the search function better. Haven’t really used it at all unless I’m looking for a specific friend.

  12. #13 by Piper Bayard on March 15, 2011 - 6:39 pm

    Umm. . . Twitter has a search function? Lol. Thanks for the clue. I’ll check it out.

  13. #14 by kbowenwriter on March 15, 2011 - 6:45 pm

    Does it search without the hashtags, or do you need to use hashtags in your search?

    • #15 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 15, 2011 - 7:20 pm

      Yes, it will search for that word, whether or not the person used a # in front. Twitter will search to body of tweets if you tell it to. I show how to do this in the book with pretty pictures,😀.

  14. #16 by Gene Lempp on March 15, 2011 - 7:56 pm

    “This is not an advertisement, just buy what it tells you too and stop asking questions!” This would be a better line to annoy people with, at least it is humorous enough that the reader may decide they don’t want to reach through the screen and give the sender a digital “neck hug”. Love the post Kristen, always such a wonderful font of information found here. Hearts.

  15. #17 by gingerclub on March 15, 2011 - 8:19 pm

    Hello Kirsten,

    Thank you for another great insight! I know what you mean. I find it equally ennoying to have followers who are just there to see what mistakes you make, blogging experts, experts on how to make a quick buck. Unfortunately, they a part of the democratic aspect of the internet as it seems.

    Thank very much,

    Ginger

    It would be great if you would take a look at my blog as well or follow me back on Twitter. Not that you have to but after all I have read and learned from you so far, it would not be such a bad idea.

  16. #18 by Patti Mallett on March 15, 2011 - 9:00 pm

    Kristen – Always with the great tips for us on how to not goof up!

    Thanks for reminding me to pull out your book and get more of the skinny on how to best proceed! : >

  17. #19 by Julie on March 15, 2011 - 9:10 pm

    Hmmm, I hadn’t thought about specifically searching out non-writers with similar backgrounds/interests. I suppose up to now I’ve been using Twitter mostly as a way to learn from and connect with other writers and publishing folks, but I suppose digging deeper is the next step in building platform. Thanks for the tips!

  18. #20 by lauradroege on March 15, 2011 - 9:21 pm

    I’ve often wondered about the wisdom of all these writers friending/following/commenting on each other’s blogs, as it seems that we’re all after the same thing (platform building). But are other writers going to be my only readers? Nope. In fact, a lot of them probably won’t even buy my book. So I’m glad to know that at least one expert agrees with me. Thank you, Kristen, for putting it better than I could.

    (Not that there aren’t good reasons to seek out writer friends–we all need support–but exclusively seeking out writer friends seems self-defeating.)

    • #21 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 15, 2011 - 9:29 pm

      Oh I don’t know about that. I purchase books first from writers I know, whether I read them or not. I have more books than I will ever read. But we do need to get out there and socialize with people who aren’t writers. Socializing with writers is wonderful, but we can go bigger. And those folk might be more willing to part with money for a book since they don’t have 42 close friends whose book the need to buy,😀.

  19. #22 by theaatkinson on March 15, 2011 - 11:24 pm

    i love this blog. i learn something major every time I visit. Thanks

  20. #23 by this write life on March 15, 2011 - 11:40 pm

    You give great info on building the social network platform. I hit a wrong button and ended up with tons of tweets about da Vinci, plenty having nothing to do with da Vinci. Also got followed by class action lawsuit attorney bots. That was hilarious. The things people use Twitter for!

  21. #24 by Jeremy Duley on March 16, 2011 - 1:29 am

    I LOVE bellydancing! Well, not for myself, I’m more of an observer. Anyways, since recently joining Twitter I have been spammed in ways that I didn’t know were possible. I made a remark about wanting to write like Charlie Sheen parties and next thing I know I’m being followed by two DUI attorneys. What???

  22. #25 by KIM MULLICAN on March 16, 2011 - 3:14 am

    Oh the ‘tools’ on twitter make me screech. I use my ninja blocking skills every time I get spammed (so love the block button.)

    TY for the tips! I follow a lot of writers…seems I could use some expansion.

  23. #26 by Melissa Bradley on March 16, 2011 - 3:59 am

    This is great advice. I am new to twitter and am struggling to find my feet there. Thank you.

  24. #27 by educlaytion on March 16, 2011 - 4:46 am

    Ah, now you’re talking my language. Love me some searching and Twitter has a smooth system. I know exactly what you mean about those tools that jump on me because I mention some proper noun. People like @thrillerguy better back off or I’m gonna rob em in Compton and blast em in Miami. Just for that last sentence I’ll probably get spam saying, “If you like Dr. Dre why not buy my book on gang signs cuz I’m a big jerkface tool!”

  25. #28 by Jane Sadek on March 16, 2011 - 3:44 pm

    Ever since your seminar at DFWcon I’ve been singing your praises to anyone who will listen. This blog is just another great resource! And of course, I linked to your blog from mine!

  26. #29 by katmagendie on March 19, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    I was wondering how the spammers found “me” so quickly – huhn! I’ve not used the search tool, but I admit I’ve not been as active on twitter as I probably should be.

  1. Kristen Lamb | Sally Apokedak,
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