Rockin’ Robin, Tweet, Tweet. . .um. . . No Tweet: Or How I Had To Join The Quitterverse In Order To Write My Book & Now Have Lost The Thread
I loved the couple of years it took me to tweet approximately 8500 times. I loved the tweeting part, anyway. I discovered that, although yes, there are indeed creepy weirdos in the world, for the most part there are not. People are great. And people are hilariously funny. And that, for me, is The Gift Of The Internet. I laugh many more times a day than I did pre-internet. And I have made friends who have become important people in my life; and I can spy on my kids when they’re traveling. There’s so much about the internet to love.
But I turned out to be that most awkward of things: a writer who can’t do her work if she is tweeting six hours a day. (I know, weird, right?) And so, just around January 2012, as I sunk my soul into my burgeoning novel, I also sputtered through a few unsuccessful attempts to wean myself off that tiny blue bird, until eventually, I really did it, barely a chirp for over a year – or more! I’m not actually sure for how long. I know I broke my silence for the occasional Downton Abbey episode and other than that not much at all.
But once the book was finished, I gradually made my way back, feeling. . . weird.
Some of this has to do with the simple social awkwardness of jumping in on conversations that have been unfolding in your absence; and part has to do with my discovery while away, that though I had loved being on Twitter with gusto, I can’t sustain it in a fully engaged way and be a full-time writer all at once. Others can and I envy them that ability to balance. I cannot.
Throw into that the professional circumstance of my being asked to use it to publicize my book, and. . .it’s a bit of a mess for me right now. It’s a worry – a Tworry – for me.
When I was on there as my full-time unpaid job, I was scornful of authors who used Twitter solely or even primarily to promote their work. I was even more scornful of people who did what I thought of as the Three Tweet Shuffle: one tweet about someone else, then one about some accolade they’d received, then another about someone else. And then silence until the next accolade. Whom did they think they were fooling??
In a way it was worse than the ones who just came on to trumpet a success. In many ways it was worse.
Back then, I wrote advice about being on Twitter, hardly original. I pronounced that if you were on there mostly for promotion as opposed to for personal engagement, people would figure it out and drop you. So, if you were going to be on, you had to fully engage. Tweet your stuff, sure. But retweet other people’s stuff. Get to know the people. Thank people for every retweet. Observe the etiquette, but also open yourself up a bit. Be a real person. And so on.
That was then, and this is now. … Continue Reading