5 Twitter Top Tips and an Announcement (or four)

Twitter, especially for a new user, can be overwhelming. Followers appear from the strangest places (I have 40+ German hotels and resorts following me). Trying to communicate in the cacophony of chirping is reminiscent of attempting conversation in an overactive aviary.

by petesimon via Flickr (CC)

by petesimon via Flickr (CC)

Here are Five tips gained from a couple of years living in the birdcage:

  1. Be Your “Relevant” Self: “I had two pieces of toast, an egg, and orange juice for breakfast,” is only relevant to your mom (she is happy you eat). Tweeting about a good day working on your latest story genius to other writers, relevant and inspirational. Tossing a question puzzling you at the appropriate crowd – relevant and often highly informative. Tweeps (the inhabitants of Twitter Land) are generally good folk that love to help. Just don’t spill your orange juice on them.
  2. Never Negative: Never, ever, use Twitter to vent your bile over anything (unless that IS your platform, then vent as your audience allows). Actually, I’d apply this same thought to all social media. Here is why: After twenty plus years online (started with AOL 2.0) I’ve learned that tone, expression, body language, and intent are easy to misinterpret in text. Especially at 140 characters, or less. While it may seem funny or justified in the mind as it’s typed, always consider how others will interpret it without your internal insight. Social media presence is a precious treasure that can melt away in moments from a spray of acidic remarks.
  3. by danielmoyle via Flickr (CC)

    Twitter Hashtag by danielmoyle via Flickr (CC)

    Hashtags are not Shotgun Pellets: #Writers #Learn to #Edit in five #Easy steps, link, #writing #writetip #areyoustillreading. While I do, on occasion, add a few more hashtags than I should, doing so is not the most effective method. Sending out two or three well-placed and time-spaced tweets, each with a single hashtag, adds a special feel to the tweet. It is saying, hey, the tweeter was thinking just of “me” or “us.” When people find relevant information and feel special they are more likely to retweet and typically will add new hashtags, thus spreading the word in a healthy manner. Which leads me to…

  4. Don’t repeat Hashtags: Retweeting to the same hashtags is a redundancy that can (by annoyance) have an oppositional impact. Use new hashtags to keep information moving along to fresh eyes and groups of people that will find it interesting. Whenever possible, do yourself and others a favor and shift things up.
  5. Tweet it ONCE and then Lock the Bird in its Cage: Yes, tweets vanish like a parakeet jailbreak making it easy to indulge the compulsion to keep dropping the same tweet over and over (and over and…). This is a fast way to get ignored. There are exceptions, however, once per hashtag works best. Imagine if you were watching your favorite show and during every commercial break the station repeated a single commercial – for ten solid minutes – during every, single, break (aluminum siding companies tried this in the 80’s – it didn’t work). Same thing here – tweet it once then step away.

Bonus: Blog Tip: This post is all about my announcement of blog and writing adjustments. Here is the tip: Every post should have a value add for the readers. Up above is the value add. Down below is the announcement. Learn it. Live it. *smile*

Gene’s Announcement(s)

Hi there!

Four quick things and then I promise to release you back into the wilds of the matrix.

  • Blog Schedule: Writing Resources (formerly Blog Treasures) will continue to be on Saturdays. Other than that, I plan to post between 2-4 times a week, but am not setting specific days or subjects at this point. Because…
  • Blog Site Change: I will be shifting to a wp.org site by the end of March (or first week of April) at which time I’ll consider setting up a formal schedule.
  • Writing Focus: After watching a story bleed to death in triage (one character is still gnawing his own ankle in the corner), I’m back at work re-imagining and working a new, and better, incarnation. The experience *smacks forehead* exposed what I should have known all along: I love legend, mythology, folklore, perhaps a dark fable (or five) – and this is what I’ll be focusing on moving forward. New mythologies, folklore with a twist and fables to tease the mind. Once I do the site shift, I’ll be putting up progress bars and talking in more detail about projects-in-progress (PIP for all you acronym fans).
  • For My ROW80 Peeps: Yes, I am taking this round off – to regroup, reorganize and well, just re-things. Planning to return in round two. With you all in spirit – always.

End Announcement(s)

Have any Twitter tips, experiences, horror stories to share? Agree with my tips? Don’t agree (because orange juice IS relevant)? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


About Gene Lempp

Gene Lempp is a writer blending elements of alternate history, the paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and horror for dark and delicious fun. He unearths stories by digging into history, archeology, myth and fable in his Designing from Bones blog series. β€œOnly the moment is eternal and in a moment, everything will change,” sums the heart of his philosophy. You can find Gene at his Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, WANATribe, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
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14 Responses to 5 Twitter Top Tips and an Announcement (or four)

  1. I love that you are re-everything. I have needed to make the jump to WordPress.org for a long time now, and I’m positively paralyzed. I’ve heard the programming is hard to learn and that it is possible to lose readers, etc. I can’t wait to hear about your transition!

    So excited that you will continue to post Writer Resources. Our reading changes based on where we are in the process. I’m excited to continue to look to your mash-ups as the best out there.

    Last, I shall try to use fewer hashtags. #Probably. πŸ™‚

  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Gene (and Renee), I am the lowest-tech-y person you’d ever want to meet, but I switched over to wp.org nearly two years ago and I’ve been able to make it work. Good move, Gene! Also, I’m glad to hear that you’re going back to what you love. That’s how you make things work. Good luck!

  3. Xandra James says:

    I agree, in general, with you twitter tips πŸ™‚ The only thing I’d mention is with regards to tip 1. It’s okay being irrelevant sometimes! I find my twitter stream very boring when all the users just stick to what they’re supposed to tweet. I try and mix it up by RTing a bit, adding a little about my own writing, and then tweeting something fun and/or slightly more personal (and I’ll very often start a random conversation with a person who replied to that personal/fun tweet, hence you’re broadening your scope). Prolific tweeters can be a little dry and impersonal when all they do is stick to the rules, I find. I’d much rather them show the occasional ‘real person’ underneath – even if that’s not strictly the way it should be done πŸ™‚

    • Gene Lempp says:

      Renee: No fear allowed, dear πŸ™‚ I will be sharing whatever I learn from the process of shifting to .org – not looking for perfection, but to refine, refine, refine.

      Kathy: And that is what gives me hope, because I’m not all that tech-proficient in some areas, but hey, if Kathy can do it πŸ™‚

      Xandra: Agree very much with your point – even a fun tweet can be relevant, just, as Chuck Wendig is fond of saying: Don’t be boring. Perhaps that would be the better way to look at Tip #1. Thanks for the excellent observation πŸ™‚

  4. Marcia says:

    It’s fun, a lot of work and exciting making all those changes but, your new site will be more ‘you’ and reflect your writing even better! WP.org is not really hard to get to get used to, especially if you have a friend who can answer a question or three, now and then.
    With writing, I did the same thing, as you know, about rethinking what I REALLY want to write after writing one whole story and struggling with it. So, good for you for realizing your best path to publication is probably writing what you love! Seems so obvious but somehow we can get on the wrong track initially.
    Can’t wait to see what else you’ll blog about! You always have the best posts!
    I love blogging but 5X a month is working out great for me. Writing is a time-intensive art for this old gal!
    I may have to go to Twitter rehab to give up some of those hashtags. (They’re just so dang much fun to create!) I will persevere, though, and cut back to one or two. I think what I write in tweets is okay but, I don’t use Twitter enough. And, yeah, sometimes “juice” is relevant, though not often. πŸ˜‰
    Have fun making your changes and improving your site!

  5. Julie Glover says:

    Great tips! I personally would add that you should watch your language. You get 140 characters and some people use at least four of those in many, many tweets for profanity. I’m not saying that you should never cuss, but I see a lot of cussing for cussing’s-sake, and I think it alienates some people you might otherwise reach. IMHO.

    Best wishes with the new site! I’m currently wrestling with a YA novel that has pinned me a few times, but I am not giving up. Sometimes you do have to step back, take a breath, and regroup. Happy writing, Gene!

  6. Jane Sadek says:

    Am I a sloth if wp.org sounds like too much work? I seem to be getting long fine on the baby slopes.

  7. Great Twitter tips. The only thing I’d add is that when determining your “Relevant” Self, don’t Tweet all writing related stuff if you’re a writer. Other authors are wonderful but hopefully you’ll connect with your readers too.

    I’m happy to hear that Writing Resources will continue. Btw, will you be using that name instead of Blog Treasures? I think that Treasures is a more evocative title even though Writing Resources conveys precise value better.

    Refocusing our goals is a great idea every now and then. We need to be doing the right things. Good luck with site transfer!

  8. Oh yes, the hashtags. Sometimes all I can see on the retweet from someone is a series of hastags. I have no idea what the original tweet even was. Thanks for making that one a priority.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Gene Lempp says:

      Marcia: Yes, yes and yes. I am looking forward to the shift from WP.com, especially after all the arbitrary changes and quirky issues associated with it. Being able to use plug-ins and have personal control of the sites look & feel are the bonuses I’m most looking forward to. Will be definitely be getting in touch with a friend or two out there about the nuances of the shift over the coming days. I’m glad your new blogging schedule is working out for you – seems nice and relaxed, which is a good thing. Be well, my friend πŸ™‚

      Julie: Absolutely, on the language. Now, if swearing is part of your online persona, then that is one thing because people know what to expect, if not – then just don’t do it. If someone really needs to vent in type I’d suggest a Word doc or 750words.com to steam the frustration away. Best of luck with the YA novel, you are not alone – struggle on and we will be there to support you πŸ™‚

      Jane: You are not a sloth. WP.com works well for some people – I just have a different plan is all and would like to use the plug-in’s (and have control – yep *smile*). Now back to the lab before Pinky realizes I’m missing πŸ˜‰

      Reetta: Agreed. Yes, many of us are writers. But, we are also many other things. Twitter is best used to show the multiple dimensions of a person that can then be expanded on blogs and places like Facebook where we can more in-depth communication. I hear your point about Blog Treasures and yes, I wept a tear to shed the name. However, it became a choice of SEO – so the hard choice had to be made. I think I’ll attempt to make a logo that carries on the BT name. Thanks for the inspiration to do so πŸ™‚

      Patricia: Far, wait, #Far #Far #toomany. Agreed. When they are no longer intelligible, it has gone beyond useful to absurd. Great comment, thanks πŸ™‚

  9. Seems like you have fabulous stuff in the works, Gene. I’ve been loving your latest posts. πŸ™‚

    I’m a big hashtag fan, too, and I have a big ‘ol Twit-crush on twitter parties of the MyWANA variety. πŸ˜‰

  10. Pingback: Writing Resources: 2 February 2013 | Gene Lempp ~ Writer

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  12. jbw0123 says:

    Fine twitter tips, but I have to say, those tweets rolling by just mystify me. Still. Maybe some day I’ll find the flow. Best wishes on your blog update and time off ROW to re-things.

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