Twitter, a microblogging Web site that restricts posts to 140 characters at a time, can be a fantastic networking tool for writers. If you’re a writer and you’ve never used Twitter before, taking that first step can be a little intimidating.
“I’m totally going to tweet that.” Huh? What does that mean? “Tweeple retweeting tweets.” Say that five times fast! Not many social-networking Web sites have their own vocabulary, but then again, no other social-networking Web site has become part of the Internet’s subconscious in quite the way Twitter has.
Think tweeting is for the birds? Twitter may seem like frivolous fun; but with a little time and some clever effort, Twitter can become a writer’s best microblogging friend.
The Twitterati. Twitter boasts an impressive population of literary agents, book publishers, and industry insiders. Many of them tweet writing tips, news, and helpful leads to keep followers in the loop. Here is a list of notable literary Twitters: Lit Park, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty, workshop guru Michael Geffner, literary agent Nathan Bransford, and The Creative Penn. There are also many successful writers on Twitter, from Neil Gaiman to Margaret Atwood to Deepak Chopra, who actively tweet about their upcoming projects, thoughts on writing, and everyday life.
Know your limits. A blog gives you unlimited space to write in a Kerouacian first-thought-best-thought manner. Twitter, on the other hand, gives you a mere 140 characters to say what’s on your mind. Such confinement can actually be liberating for your writing by forcing you to say exactly what you mean. Boil off the excess fluff and tweet only what you must say, concisely—you’ll be surprised how easily this habit will make its way into your actual writing.
Promote yourself. More than ever before, people are tapping into Twitter’s marketing potential and using it to reach the Internet masses. As you navigate the site and follow people with similar interests, they will begin to follow you back. Once you’ve built up a decent following, you can include links in your tweets to drive traffic to your Web site or online portfolio. This is a great way to not only get your name out there, but to point people’s eyes toward your work.
Hands across Twitter. Above all else, Twitter is a social-networking Web site. As you build up your list of followers, you will be able to connect with fellow writers across the globe. Because of its instantaneous nature, the site allows you to throw questions out there and get answers back just as quickly. Try not to use it as a soapbox—start a discussion, join a debate, retweet what others have to say! Give inspiration and encouragement, and you will receive the same.
Writer’s Relief is on Twitter too! Follow us (@WritersRelief) for writing and publishing tips, lively discussions, and a dose of inspiration every day.