Monday, January 05, 2009

All atwitter

I originally joined Twitter as a way to keep up with friends. I saw it as kind of like Facebook: a way to learn random, useless-yet-interesting tidbits from people I know.

But now a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people use it as a successful marketing and contact-making tool. And I'm flummoxed by this.

I understand the basics of Twitter: join and post 140-character blips about what you're doing or thinking. You can "follow" other people, and read their own posts, and they can follow you. Simple enough. Kind of like Facebook status updates.

Then I started following tweets (Twitter-speak for those 140-character posts) from people whose blogs I follow. They tweet about stuff they've posted, thoughts, etc.

Other than my real-world friends, mostly I follow people in the publishing world (like Janet Reid , Nathan Bransford and LittleBrown) or booksellers (FLWBooks, AtriaBooks) or writers, but also a few other random ones like The Pioneer Woman, DaMomma and Foodimentary.

And now I see people are carrying on complicated Twitter-conversations (I'm sure there's a Twitter-speak word for this but I don't know it)..oh wait I think it's @Replies, which is where your tweet is directed at someone specific (I.e., @acvollers) but everyone can still see it. And then there are DMs, short for direct messages. Oh and apparently you can get Twitter to e-mail a person who follows you with a message from you.

Guilty admission: I just checked my @replies for the first time today. Ever. And felt totally stupid because people have been @replying me and I wasn't aware. Now I'm feeling a little bit blonde. Or old.

And then you also get "followed" by random people you don't know. Of course you can block them if they look weird. Which is nice, because a lot of them look weird.

Luckily, one of the random people I don't know who started following me on Twitter (and doesn't look weird) tweeted this interesting post about how to find people to follow on Twitter. I also found this article on Twitter for bloggers. This one about 17 different ways to use Twitter is especially helpful.

So I'm going to try to utilize Twitter more successfully. It would be a New Year's resolution if I made those.

You can follow me (and @reply me and DM me and...ok, I've run out of Twitter-lingo) here. I also run my tweets in the right-hand sidebar of this blog. So, tell me who you are and we can follow each other. The nice thing is, in reality that's not as creepy and voyeuristic as it sounds.


Chad Sayban said...

Between Facebook, writing two blogs and (oh yes) trying to work on my novel, I think I'm too technologically stretched to take on Twitter too.

Tracy Marchini said...

Excellent post AC! :)

BBJD said...

Are you bailing on this blog? I hope not, although it would be a good way to get rid of me.

I don't know what Facebook is, but some of the blogs I visit reference Twitter posts and I've gone there - only to be confused about what's going and bail out post haste.

I hope I'm not weird in the sense you indicated.


Christy Raedeke said...

I've been on the fence about Twitter - namely because I have nothing interesting to tweet about 5 times a day. It seems as stressful as that status bar in FB that's always staring at me with the mocking "Christy is______" as if I should be doing SOMETHING amazing. But it looks like Twitter is here to stay, so maybe I should just give in...

AC said...

BBJD--I'm definitely not bailing on this blog. I'm too verbose to only Twitter!

Christy--That is exactly why I'm still iffy about Twitter. It seems kinda stressful to keep so many online presences updated every day.

Jill Wheeler said...

Hee, I just logged in at Twitter for the first time in forever and was totally creeped out by this one guy who was following me. I didn't know who he was. Turned out to be my husband. I invited him and didn't even remember it!

Kasie West said...

I didn't know what Twitter was until a few days ago. Here I was thinking I was technologically advanced with my blog and facebook. I'm always a step behind. Sigh.

AC said...

Jill--I read your comment on my Blackberry while I was in a meeting and laughed out loud!

Kasie--I'm seriously glad to hear I am not the only one belatedly jumping on this bandwagon.

Corey Schwartz said...

I was born ten years too early. My three year old had to show me how to use the photo function on my cell phone.