I’ll say it right out: I heart Twitter. I like the river of info, the low murmur of humanity in the tweetstream. I like how voices emerge from that stream with personality or needed expertise, and how I can always click through on their links for something fresh or funny or timely. I like how I can leverage the stream to get the word out about something I care about, or bring an opportunity to my followers and, if the content is right, their followers. I like how I can support people, businesses and organizations by spreading their word, just as I would share a story a friend told me, or pass on a grant deadline to a colleague.
There has been some moody rumbling of late about the ‘best’ way to use Twitter – though usually phrased as “the way I like to use Twitter”. Publishing divvy Jane Freidman, on her Writers Digest blog There Are No Rules, recently posted about how her practice on Twitter has evolved since 2008. She began by following everyone who followed her, moved to only following those she had significant interaction with and now, with over 3000 in her tweetstream, is actively unfollowing on a weekly basis. The full post is worth a read – be sure and read the comments for Greg Pincus’ thoughtful response. (Mr. Pincus is all about writers and social networking – and poetry. A great resource.) Jane uses the stream as a source for the information she turns around to deliver to a wider audience, not for social networking or personal commentary. Her weekly Best Tweets for Writers links ought to be in every writer’s feed or inbox. It’s chock full of goodness.
Those who don’t tweet regard Twitter as yet another social networking time suck, but I’m with Jane, though far from her need to seriously cut back on the deluge of tweets. I glean news and information from Twitter, discover writing blogs and follow people whose thinking I admire, but I also socialize, make jokes and engage in discussions. I love the community of YA and Kidlit writers, agents, illustrators and publishers. You can see friendships being forged, book tours being hatched and readers born – a beautiful thing.
For converts and scoffers alike – a funny. 46 phases of twitter from 2009 – not sure who the author is, let me know if you do.
If you haven’t discovered Kristen Lamb’s blog, her tweet thoughts are a good introduction.
And now: a glorious cold and sunny day in New York. The Writers Digest conference is under way, Digital Book World is coming up Monday and everything seems possible. Wish I could see Guy Gonzales and Jane Friedman’s presentations at WDC, but you can’t do everything. I’ll have to comfort myself with Degas drawings, John Steinbeck’s diary and Harry Houdini.