When I used to think about Twitter, the first thought was time spent fooling around on the interweb, not the things Twitter teaches us. But while responding to an author’s thanks for a book review I wrote the other day, I got to thinking about Twitter in the grander scheme of things. This social networking site is explosively powerful. When I really think about it, there is no end to the things Twitter teaches us.
The first thing I learned when working on building up my Twitterverse was that no-one was going to step in and make people follow me. If you think you have something to say that other people will want to read, you have to spend some serious time on self-promotion. This does not make you vain, it makes you proactive. No one can appreciate or respond to something they never read from someone they’ve never heard of. Of all the things Twitter teaches us, self-promotion is the one that translates into day to day life with most relevance. Support yourself and your work, or no-one else will.
If you’re on Twitter, you probably started out by following your favorite actors, artists, and authors. (Well, and Lord Voldemort, but that goes without saying.) Next time you’re scrolling through your feed, pay attention to some of those people. They are really just like you and me: they post pictures of their pets, meals, and selfies… they respond to political issues… they love inspirational quotes… I could go on. Personally, I enjoy author’s posts the most… their minds always come up with good, quirky fun. But really, the point is that there’s no need to feel like they’re these far off people you can’t relate to. Famous people are people, too.
I was late to Twitter. Really late. Seriously, by the time I joined up, hashtags were on Facebook, and I was annoyed. What were these people doing writing the number symbol everywhere for seemingly no reason? Well, while I still don’t think it translated to Facebook very well, I now understand the importance of the mighty hashtag in following trends and joining in on conversations. Remember that self-promotion I suggested? The hashtag is your self-promoting friend, my friends. #TrueStory
When I was younger, I lived by the old adage, "Quality over Quantity." Since joining Twitter, I learned that social networking is the exception to the rule. While you still cannot let your quality slip, quantity does play a large part in getting (and keeping) Twitter followers. No one likes when someone they enjoy reading takes a week off from tweeting. Tweeters have a duty to their followers to produce quantity WITH quality; one or the other will not do.
I came to this realization the day Laurell K. Hamilton responded to one of my tweets. Well, after some serious fangirling, that is. Since then, I have had lovely, wonderful conversations with a number of authors and strangers who live nowhere near me, and whom I never would have connected with without Twitter. It’s a small, fabulous world on Twitter, and all the best tweeters are open to conversation, as long as you have something interesting to say. And trust me, you are far more interesting than you realize.
Between trending topics, hashtags, a seemingly unending variety of people to follow, and the tagging ability, Twitter makes connecting with other people a snap. Want to learn more about a certain type of job? I guarantee most companies you’re looking at have a Twitter account. Want to meet people who like posts of talking puppies as much as you? Hashtag away, my friends. Finding like-minded people, or people to have a good debate with, is made easy on Twitter.
Sometimes, I need to just get out of my own head, or put down my writing or work for a minute. Scrolling through Facebook seems a bit too self-indulgent to me, and Pinterest is even worse (though fun). But Twitter perfects procrastination with a purpose. On Twitter, you can self-promote, build connections, join in on conversations of import, and dodge boredom, all without feeling like you’re slacking. Twitter is my go-to social media site for a quick break, and the witty words of others tend to fuel my imagination in a way most other sites do not.
Social media is growing daily, and Twitter is one of the most popular sites for a reason. Instead of breaking down interaction, it builds it, fostering intellectual, intelligent conversations, and life-changing connections in a way no other site does. What do y’all think? Is there another social media site you like better? What has Twitter taught you?
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