Hashtags, Lists, and Other Uniquely Twitter Things
- Hashtags (#) are an easy way of following tweets without following a ton of people. For instance, there is a hashtag called #queryfail where agents talk amongst themselves about the query letters they get that are a mess. They never use names, etc., but it is a helpful list to follow because (a) you may recognize that you’ve done the exact same thing in your own query letter and (b) you get an idea of what they like and don’t like. Any hashtags you follow are saved under “Saved Searches.” You can only have 10 Saved Searches at a time, though. Also, when you tweet add a hashtag or two (I invariably add #amwriting to my tweets because my tweets are almost always about writing (occasionally that’s a stretch, but you know what I mean). People who read those hashtags may become your followers.
- You can divide the people you are following into categories or lists and follow them that way instead of getting hundreds of tweets streaming into your Twitter home page. Like your Saved Searches, you’ll see the lists you’ve created in the right hand column on your Twitter home page. For instance, you may have a list where you put all the agents you are following. Using a list means that you won’t miss a single word they’re tweeting and you won’t have to sift through hundreds or thousands of other tweets to find them.
Pitfalls of Twitter
Like any social media outlet on the Internet, Twitter can be a time black hole. You may find yourself spending hours on Twitter. You’ll have to develop some serious discipline. You’ll have to be able to not feel the need to read every tweet sent by every person you follow - they could number in the hundreds or thousands each and every day depending on how many people you follow. You could spend hours reading each 140 tweet. Don’t do it. Yes, you’ll miss a few pithy remarks, but you’ll also be wasting a lot of time.
HINT: I check Twitter once or twice a day and I’ll read tweets for an hour. I’ll go to a recommended blog post or two and leave comments there. But I don’t fret over all the tweets I’ve missed. It is what it is.
I Don’t Have Anything Interesting to Say
You may think you don’t have anything to say that would interest anyone else. Tweet about an interesting book you’ve just read, an interesting article you’ve read in the paper about writers, an interesting interview you read (or wrote), an interesting blog that resonated with you. The possibilities are legion. Remember, though, that you’re building a following and an online presence. Keep your tweets positive and professional.
For a more detailed take on Twitter, go here
This is another author’s take on the pros and cons of Twittering.