Friday Freebies is a weekly event in which I post about self-publishing, particularly as it relates to children’s literature.
My opinion of Twitter has been all over the board. I was reluctant to sign up because the short message format didn’t appeal to me. Exchanges of only 140 characters sounded shallow. How do you get to know anyone by firing off a succession of short blurbs? And did I really want thousands of these blasts bombarding me all day long? How do you get to know 10,000 followers anyway? You can’t! But I signed up at the strong recommendation of many friends and fellow authors.
I did meet a lot of people quickly and the exchanges felt very impersonal. That bothered me a little till I realized these aren’t supposed to be pen pals. If I want to share my bad day or brag about my kid’s report card, I can get on the phone and call someone who cares. Except for two or three, none of my twitter friends could give a rat’s behind for such things, and quite frankly, I don’t want to hear about their Aunt Martha’s divorce either. Twitter doesn’t work that way. But it is a great place to exchange information and meet others with similar interests. It’s a bulletin board, not a post office.
Once I figured that out, I jumped in whole-heartedly–and promptly burned out. I was trying to take in too much, respond to every “follow,” return tweets, retweet, keep tabs on the site all the time and tweet frequently. It was taking over my life and I hated it. So I backed off–too much. I all but disappeared for a few months. In fact, I was ready to abandon it altogether until I found a useful little tool called Buffer.
Buffer lets you schedule tweets. How cool is that!! Now I can pop on Twitter at my leisure, pre-write up to four posts a day (with the free account) for up to two days ahead, and not think about it again till I want to. Very convenient. This also makes me much more willing to interact on Twitter. And I’m learning how to color my posts with my brand to make them more appealing and noticing slightly heavier traffic on featured blog posts.
I think I’m finding a balanced approach. Twitter has the potential to be a powerful and useful tool, but it’s now subservient to me and not the other way around. It’s not making a world of difference for me, but I’m willing to keep at something with potential. I’m all about baby steps because eventually they can get you somewhere.