Monday, July 6, 2009

why I tweet

It took me awhile to "get" Twitter.

I didn't wanna do it at first. I already spent way too much time on Facebook and figured I'd lose half my day if I added Twitter to the mix. I also found it a bit boring. For example, as much as I love John Mayer's music, I discovered that I'm really not interested in knowing what he's doing every five minutes. And the first people I was following didn't know me from a hole in the wall. Following your favorite celebs on Twitter also thins the veil of deception in terms of feeling like you actually know these people, and as a result they want to know you. I was feeling pretty good about myself when I started following Hugh Jackman, for instance. Until I discovered that I'm one of 400,000 followers, and he's tweeting things like "Just met with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and First Lady Margarita. They were both incredibly interesting, warm and inviting." while I'm tweeting things like "The pop tarts... oh, the pop tarts!"

On the plus side, I do have actor and fellow Aaron Sorkin devotee Josh Malina following me, although he never RTs (re-tweets) anything I write, or replies to any of my tweets.

Something cool happened along the blog tour, though. Writers and publishing companies started following me, and vice versa. This is not necessarily because I'm all that. Another thing I've learned about Twitter is that it's keyword sensitive. For example, when John Mayer posted a photo of his guitar, I tweeted a reply: You do realize that I'm more in love w/ your guitar than w/ you. Seconds later, I received notice that LA Guitar Academy is now following me. I don't wanna tall you who started following me after I used the word "bubbles" in my tweet, just to see what would happen.

The point is that over the course of a month, I found myself becoming part of a specific community, one that I had nevr felt I'd belonged to before.

The cool thing about finding other writers and publishers is some of them are RTing what I post. One day Luludotcom plugged my appearance on Writers Inspired, and traffic increased both to the blog and to my storefront on Another time, randomhouse quoted me after I responded to their tweet "What did you read this weekend?" Best of all, so many of these tweeters have blogs of their own, or they find blog articles and other useful sites all related to publishing, books, writers, etc. I can hardly keep up, there are so many.

My point is that agents, editors, publishers, authors, and booksellers are all using Twitter now. You never know if one of them is going to click on the link to your blog, check out your book, or read something you've written in response to someone else's post. It's like being at a convention and introducing yourself. Hi, I'm Elisa, and I'm an author. Here's my card. Granted, they've met a gazillion other authors, but who's to say they won't remember one of them, namely me? Or you?

The biggest advantage to Twitter is not the increase in sales, but traffic. That's just as important. People like to browse before they buy. You want them to keep coming back.

So I guess I can say that I "get" it now. And from a business perspective, I like it. It works for me. Now if you'll excuse me, I've just been informed that duranduran has "New vid on official youtube channel:"

Ok. So sometimes it's not all business.


Elspeth said...

I haven't got the hang of it yet, but I shall take your advice and look upon it more as a networking device than just a place to put mindless drivel!

And be jealous - Mr. Malina has RT to me! (about wine). I must admit though, reading other people's tweets does make me feel rather small.


Elisa said...

Jealous!!!! (See what I miss out on 'cause I don't drink?)

And really, it's about balancing the networking opportunities w/ the drivel. I think it's about wanting people to know you as well as your product.

But I just read a link that someone posted on Twitter about the other side of the coin. Getting an audience is fine, but at some point you do have to turn it into revenue. True, but how much time does that take, I wonder...