Dr. Twuth–Conquering the Fear of Public Tweeting

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday with Dr. Twuth. The tips offered here are all based off my #1 best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social MediaIf 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 think I’m a Twitter “Wallflower.”  You know, that person at the party who is too shy / freaked-out / just plain dumb to reach out?  That’s me. I really don’t know where to start.  I’ve been watching and learning all kinds of great info from the sidelines, but still, I haven’t worked up the nerve to jump in and participate.   Ugh!

And would you believe I’m a live performing rocker chic??
I know, crazy!

I could spend hours psycho-analyzing my issue (believe me, I’ve done it while holding up that Tweetdeck wall as everyone else happily Tweeted away), but enough about me.

Can you offer some easy-to-follow steps to get me jump started, please?

Many thanks,
Twitter Wallflower

Dear Wallflower,

Now that we are in the Information Age, Digital Age Authors face a new problem. In the olden days when people actually spoke to each other in person, many writers had a fear of public speaking. In fact, for many of us, it was our abysmal social skills beyond the world of Dungeons and Dragons that prompted our career choice in the first place.

This fear of public speaking, however, has now transformed into a digital phobia recognized by only the most highly trained armchair psychiatrists as Tweetaphobia Neurosa–or the fear of public tweeting. Many regular people suffer from Tweetophobia, but it is far more pronounced in the writing communities.

Why?

Writers seem to suffer the worst, namely because apparently the world at large assumes we all spell perfectly and never goof on grammar. There seems to be an unfair burden placed on writers to always be witty, interesting or profound. Sort of like how people expect comedians to be knee-slapping funny ALL THE TIME.

You’re a Clown Fish. Tell us a joke!

Since writers have the job of being interesting for an entire book, we tend to feel like we need to be equally riveting in life. It is this kind of pressure that, if left unchecked, can create the tweeting anxiety.

There is another problem.

To battle fear of public speaking, there is the age-old trick of just envisioning the audience wearing nothing but their underwear. For writers, this could be dangerous since most writers have an entire social network comprised of other writers…who probably rarely ever get out in the sun (and who probably really are in nothing but their underwear. Just ask @ChuckWendig). The mental image alone of so many pale-as-a-plucked-albino-chicken writers could cause retinal damage.

So what to do?

First of all, relax. People can expect us to never misspell a word or be fascinating in every tweet, but, hey, life is full of disappointments. We never help others understand that writers are indeed human if they never see us acting like humans. The cool part about being a person is that readers (non-writers of the human species) start to connect with us and that is always good.

Another tactic for combating Tweetophobia is to rely on your social media butterflies to plug you in. This activates what I like to call The Law of the Playground.

Remember being a kid and new to a grade? When you would go out for recess, what was the first thing on the agenda? Find someone you knew. Once you could find that person you already knew, making connections got easier. It suddenly became easier to befriend people because of the Law of the Playground.

I don’t know you, but Kristen knows you. I like Kristen, so I like you.

This Law of the Playground was one of the reasons I created the #MyWANA group. This is the place where you are guaranteed to connect to other Playground Connectors and WE will plug you into the Twitterverse at large. Not only will we instantly make you part of our twibe, but all of us have networks beyond #MyWANA and we can introduce you there as well.

The key to feeling comfortable on Twitter is to have a host or hostess introduce you around. Once we start chatting with others as people, this alien place–Twitter- seems far less scary and the anxiety will dissipate. Tweeting will then come MUCH easier.

As far as what to tweet? I have another law. I call this The Law of Three. Tweeting should be roughly 1/3 Information–links to blogs, articles, web sites, 1/3-Reciprocation (RT for others and a lot of times Information and Reciprocation can blend together), and, finally, 1/3 Conversation. TALK to people! If all we tweet are links and cutesy quotes, we look like a bot. Show others you are a person, too.

Humans have a hard time connecting emotionally with bots, but we really dig connecting with other people. Once we connect, we support because you are our peep…and THAT is how platforms get built. Just remember, there is no reason to be shy or nervous on Twitter. We are not alone! #MyWANA is a hashtag designed for the sole purpose of immoral support. Once part of a group, our confidence improves dramatically and tweeting will feel as natural as breathing.

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 Diana Douglas on September 6, 2011 - 10:10 am

    I’d like to tweet about other subjects in addition to reading & writing, but don’t know if this would put off the followers who are strictly reader/writer types. Any suggestions?

    • #2 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 6, 2011 - 10:20 am

      Contrary to what most people think, writers DO have other hobbies and interests aside from writing. Just because we talk about gardening, kids, video games or TV shows doesn’t mean this won’t connect with writers too. There really is no need to section people off. On Twitter, people just generally only pay attention to what interests them.

  2. #3 by Angela Wallace on September 6, 2011 - 10:11 am

    Twitter was really overwhelming for me too when I started, but after observing it for a bit, I realized it was more or less a global AIM chat room where being offline didn’t stop someone from receiving messages.

  3. #4 by Nicole Basaraba on September 6, 2011 - 10:17 am

    I was definately a Twitter Wallflower and probably still am to some extent. I think Kristen’s ideas of RTing and just general talking helped me the most. People “found me”, recognized me and starting chatting. I think I can do more, but I think its takes time to get used to it by building contacts/finding networks like #MyWANA and observing what other people tweet about.

  4. #5 by susielindau on September 6, 2011 - 10:17 am

    I was fine until I found my “recent tweets” on my own blog site and on google. I thought Jeez, I better spend at least a few seconds of thought before sending them into cyberspace since everyone sees them. I realized why so many people had such thoughtful tweets, especially since many are writers.
    I like your 1/3 breakdown. Thanks for the twitter advice Dr. Twuth!

  5. #6 by Laura on September 6, 2011 - 10:22 am

    Kristen, I see you are a tweeter. What about Facebook? Same rules apply? I am not promoting myself as a writer but as a recruiter for a clothing company so in a sense I am selling myself with this business. I want to be human first and have a life outside of constantly promoting my business (I hide people who constantly promote their business – I would much rather get to know them as a person). I like your 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 rule. Give them small tastes every now and then – enough so they remember what you do but not so much that you become (as you put it so perfectly) a spam toad. Yuck!

    • #7 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 6, 2011 - 10:27 am

      Actually my Law of Three applies to all social media. It is a way of balancing our interactions so that we are not just talking about ourselves, but at the same time we aren’t absent emotionally either. Most of my social media lessons apply to all professions. I just focus on writers. Non-profits and many small businesses have used the WANA approach VERY successfully. So great to have you here, Laura!

  6. #8 by Anne R. Allen on September 6, 2011 - 11:10 am

    Love Dr. Twuth! Law of Three makes so much sense.

  7. #9 by August McLaughlin on September 6, 2011 - 12:06 pm

    Great post, Kristen! I find that the more I worry about grammar or writing awesomeness – ha, the more errors I’m likely to make.

    Regarding Twitter… Is it important to have Tweet Deck open or use it on a smart phone? I visit the Twitter site occasionally — maybe once a day — to post something or peruse/comment/re-tweet other’s remarks. Is this way too minimalist?? Is it supposed to feel like IM/chatting as Angela described?

  8. #10 by Catherine Johnson on September 6, 2011 - 12:20 pm

    I am going to work on not being ‘absent emotionally’ this week Kristen. Why dip your big toe in when there’s a perfectly good diving board right there. I mean what’s the worst that could happen – aaargh!

  9. #11 by Barb on September 6, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    Okay, you convinced me to step into the Twitter River. Thanks for the hints to keep from drowning.

  10. #12 by darcyflynn on September 6, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    Very helpful Kristen! I love the 1/3 idea! Less than one month ago you introduced me to #mywana. I’ve made so many cool writer friends since then! Yeah!

  11. #13 by Amy Kennedy on September 6, 2011 - 1:04 pm

    The 1/3 formula…why didn’t I think of that? It makes great sense. And I get to use it for my blog etc. even better!

    I am an outgoing person — but I get the Twitter wallflower stuff, I think I do way better in person. So, now I force myself to not be a twitter wallflower — so much easier if I can comment on a comment. Like overhearing a conversation at a party.

  12. #14 by catwoods on September 6, 2011 - 1:10 pm

    I’m not sure there’s even a name for the kind of twitter wallflower I am. Thanks for the great tips.

  13. #15 by Jessica O'Neal on September 6, 2011 - 2:50 pm

    I feel like I do ok with the reciprocity and chit-chat, but not so good with the information 1/3. I feel like I have to be really interesting and don’t think I’m very interesting so I just don’t tweet. Must learn not to worry so much about that. Thanks for the post!

  14. #16 by Maryann Miller on September 6, 2011 - 3:13 pm

    I’ll admit that I am more comfortable posting conversational messages on Facebook. Never thought of doing that on Twitter. Thought that was more for sharing links and such. I guess I really have a lot to learn about Twitter. LOL

  15. #17 by lanceschaubert on September 6, 2011 - 3:59 pm

    What if you’re worried that everything you just said was interesting, but a bit too much?

  16. #18 by Piper Bayard on September 6, 2011 - 5:51 pm

    I was terrified of Twitter until I dove in. I found, though, that if I focus on others, it always gives me something to say. Thanks for a great blog, Kristen.

  17. #20 by Darlene Steelman on September 6, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    When I first signed up on Twitter (with a quirky name or three until I took your class) I finished and sat there staring at the screen.

    Okay…. now what? Where are all these people? What the hell am I suppose to do? This is LAME.

    And I didn’t go back on Twitter for over a year.

    I am happy to say my following is growing like one of those little animal sponges we put in water. We put the tiny sponge in the bowl of water, we go to sleep… zzzzz. We wake up.. HOLY WEEMBLES! “Mom! There is a giant foam dinosaur in the kitchen!”

    I am now on Twitter waaaay more than Facebook (my boyfriends fails to see the amusement in any of this).

    Thanks to your Twitter Tuesday posts, I am becoming a Tweetomaniac!!

    Great post, Kristen!

    Darlene

  18. #21 by alexlaybourne on September 6, 2011 - 11:14 pm

    I like your rules. The law of three is (I hope) pretty close to how I run my Twitter. I link to my novel a couple of times a day maybe, I re-tweet if I see a link that I think is interesting. To me and the people who follow me, and I just post randomly. Sometimes a bit too random but I’m British… blame Monty Python.
    I think the other key thing about twitter, and I am sure you have mentioned it before is the use of the #WW and #FF tags to name but a few. I found a lot of new ‘followers’ thanks to these tags.

  19. #22 by Kimberly Mullican on September 6, 2011 - 11:17 pm

    My twitter community has grown a lot in the last six months. I work so many hours that when I do get on, I have a tendency to talk to everyone. I don’t seem to care if I sound odd or quirky – it usually gets the ball rolling.

    So, if anyone wants to tweet with someone who will make them seem normal… I hang out on #mywana and I don’t mind being the ass😉

    Thanks Kristen for continuing to lead us into the fire pit with your blog😉

  20. #23 by Tina Sicre (@tinasicre) on September 7, 2011 - 1:07 am

    Kristen, thanks for your post. It was equally helpful to hear from those other self-proclaimed wallflowers. I…am…just…about…ready…to…dive…in…

  21. #24 by alicamckennajohnson on September 7, 2011 - 6:17 pm

    The writers must have every word perfect thing is a big issue for me- because I’m very weak at it. I just posted to a blog and used better twice in one sentence -I hit post before I triple checked it- oh well. Off to post about knitting – something new and maybe exciting??

  22. #25 by Marilag Lubag on September 11, 2011 - 3:30 am

    Think sky diving… You just have to do it. Sure, you have an instructor with you the first time you do it but you have to swallow your fear as you get off that plane. Feel the fear but do it anyway.🙂

    There are various ways to face fear. I used to fear driving, heights, and large groups of people but I realized that we have to face it one way or another. However, I’m now driving in the freeway, managed to skydive, and is more comfortable being around crowds (WIP). Throughout these, I learned that the best way to conquer fear is to face them. Good luck, Twitter Wallflower!🙂

  23. #26 by Chloe on September 18, 2011 - 12:01 pm

    I should have read this article first. Thanks Kristen. You’re the best.

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