Once upon a time, not so very long ago, Twitter was a place of whimsy, fun, and discovery. I looked forward to checking my feed and interacted regularly with a group of interesting, motivating, supportive people – mostly writers, with a few other types to keep things balanced. Back then I was incognito as Uppington Smythe and free to say whatever the heck happened to cross my mind.
Ah, those were the days.
Then I got a publishing contract. I got serious. I came out as myself and worried about every tweet I posted. Was I saying something that would piss people off, alienate readers, annoy my publisher? Would my mother see it? My boss? My counseling clients?
Somewhere along the line I decided it was a good thing to follow people back, instead of sticking to a smaller feed of people that I enjoyed interacting with. Not that I’ve ever been an indiscriminate follow-back type, but if somebody looked reasonably legit and civilized, I started clicking that little follow button.
Nowadays I catch myself bemoaning the fact that most of my stream is promo and that negativity rules the world. I hardly ever see the people I care about anymore. Some days, my only reason for showing up on Twitter is to keep my account alive so that maybe, in some way, it will be useful to me as a form of promotion.
Not likely. It’s like a medieval bazaar out there – all the merchants clamoring and shouting, “Buy this book! No, this one!” Nobody’s ever going to hear me if I start talking about my book as well.
Last Sunday I attended a class at Colorado Gold taught by my friend Susan Spann. She had some revolutionary thoughts on the whole Twitter problem. In a nutshell:
- Anybody seen promoting something three times in a row is out.
- Don’t promote your own stuff on Twitter unless there’s a true occasion, and then still keep it infrequent
- Provide content that is useful or interesting
- Help and support others
There was more, but that’s the gist of it. In light of this class I realized one of those things that should have been obvious:
Twitter is what I make it. I control my feed. Therefore, my little Twitter Cosmoverse is whatever I choose for it to be. As of right now, I choose to move back toward a feed filled with people who inspire, entertain, and support. I’ve already begun unfollowing the accounts that are largely promotion. Some of them seem like good people, sincere about their craft and trying to sell their books. It gives me a little twitch every time I unfollow one of them, but it feels good, sort of like deep cleaning the house and taking cast offs to good will.
Life is short, I figure, so I plan to make the most of it.
Kerry is the queen of the misfit story. She writes fantasy that has its teeth sunk into reality, mystery that delves into the paranormal, and women’s fiction that embraces the dark and twisty realms of humanity.