Twitter is so basic, it reminds me of a utility more than anything else. You have electricity running into your house. What you do with it is up to you.
- On Twitter, I know people with private networks for extended family or friends. All the people are following each other, but all the accounts are private. They use it as their personal, real-time communication system no matter where they are.
- Reform-minded Egyptians in the street and around the world used the #jan25 hashtag among others to create a live, up-to-the-minute news channel anyone could tap in to to find out what was happening during the revolution.
- Some celebrities seem to have a competition to get the most followers possible, while having the smallest number of people they are following. “Five million people want to hear what I say, but I only listen to my 27 friends.” Something like that.
- Then there are the legions of Social Media Consultants who are constantly following me. They always have big smiles and slick backgrounds for their Twitter page. It’s obvious these guys are only interested in me because I am a number, and numbers are what they want. Let’s face it, would you hire a Social Media Consultant who only had 453 people following him? No, you wouldn’t. This is one place that size does matter.
- Other people keep separate lists. The people they actually read, and the others who they follow out of politeness or obligation.
I’m pretty active on Twitter. Connecting with people is so much fun—it’s half networking and half performance art. I love the personal side to it.
But I’ve also always approached it as platform-building. I enjoy my social media time more when I know what the purpose of it is. On Twitter I try to connect to people with whom I might share an interest. Writers, designers, ebook wizards, editors, proofreaders, indexers, printers, agents and anyone else whose life somehow revolves around the book.
This is intrinsic to my business, since I need many suppliers for book projects. It’s vital for the blog articles I write here and elsewhere. As a bonus, I really enjoy it.
That’s my world, and those are the people I’m interested in. I don’t worry about the tweets I don’t read; I love the tweets I do read.
Use Twitter for connections, to interact with people, to populate your network. Test different headlines. Run giveaways in exchange for an opt-in. Give great value with the posts you put up for others to read. Build your community, and when it comes time to launch your book, that community will be there waiting for you.
Photo: Luc Legay