Twittering and DOING

I love Twitter. It’s a great way to meet lots of other writers, to find fresh articles and pictures that stimulate the curiosity cortex, and to help out other writers and fledgling film makers most of all. A Retweet (RT!) goes a long way, I think. There’s a great Karmic feeling about the whole thing.

I also have over 110 followers now. Yay me! I never thought I’d even get that many, but they’re breeding (er…) and I don’t even think any of them are the ‘twitter porn’ people who keep trying to ‘follow’ me and who I keep reporting as spam. If you only Twitter in proverbs and your website reads ‘big-hot-cocks’ I think I might spot you’re not going to be fun to follow. Incidentally, who the hell IS following them?

Accidental porn sites aside, Twitter is a fantastic way to connect and publicise. A few other people have worked that out, too. Only thing is, the more I get into it, the more tempting it is to keep clicking and clicking on new and exciting links. I’m getting much better at filtering these ‘Tweets’ though. Once you realise what’s being repeated by people understandably trying to promote the same thing a few times in a row, it’s easy to pick and choose what links to try out. New ones, mainly. Repeated tweets are useful for when I get behind on reading the tweets. More on that in a moment.

I also try very hard to retweet and get paranoid about missing people off! Basic rules for retweets are:

1) If it’s funny. Each to their own…

2) If it’s startling – not always the same as funny.

3) If it’s a book I’m intending to buy – & if it’s the Amazon UK or Smashwords link.

4) If it’s re a film I’ve watched on YouTube or similar, or want to see soon.

5) Awesome pictures which fall under first 3 categories

6) Charity. If I agree with it.

7) News articles. OK, usually ‘comment’ pieces on the Guardian/Telegraph

8) Simon Pegg has said something cool. Neil Gaiman also. Joe Hill too!

9) Anything about Ridley Scott’s latest projects.

10) @DaftLimmy has said something not involving the ‘C’ word…

That’s all the reasons for RT’s I can think of for now. Fairly accurate examples, these are most frequent spurs for me to hit the magic RT. I like being able to help out other writers, for what’s it’s worth anyway. Feedback is great and Twitter can be a wonderfully friendly place, as long as no one has actually heard of you.

Anyway, this is what I look out for. The more people and companies I follow, the more interesting Twitter becomes. However, it’s also MORE DISTRACTING.

Watching those ‘new tweets’ pile up when trying to do something else is terrifying. But I’ve had to come to terms with it. I close the ‘Twitter’ window because I can’t read them ALL. It’s impossible. I can check it twice a day, trying to restrict myself. I’ve lost evenings to it, drawn into opening one more link in a fresh tab, until all the tabs are unreadable and the laptop is whirring like an overly-laden Battle Cat. 

Basically, I need to learn how to use the Lists more effectively.

As a writer, dodging Twitter addiction is an important step. This is probably coming across as an excuses sort of post, for why I’m not typing every day. It’s not. Not exactly. It’s about recognising that I don’t HAVE to use Twitter all the time. Like any distracting part of the internet (read as: the WHOLE internet) it’s possible to make it work FOR you, rather than being sucked into that endless loop of ‘new tweet-click on link-look at link-open new tweet’. Yesterday I had a job interview, and felt like crap, and spent the day preparing for the interview or reading, catching up on blogs and trying to reconnect a bit that way. In the evening I read an actual book, too. Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, in fact. But later today I’ll be catching up on ALL the tweets from, say, the last fourteen hours. Tops.

Twitter is a really vital tool, and with the genius linking website Pinterest, and the now ubiquitous Facebook around as a mere starting point, the aim of today is not to get lost in ‘social media’, but to produce work AND make the most of such amazing resources. People can be pickier than ever. It seems to be a case of tracking down people who are picky on the same letter. Oh, and having your own content helps, too.

Time to write. Or at least start properly. Am I using this blog as therapy? Oh yes. But I #amwriting, dammit…!

Twittering and DOING