I’m a relative newcomer to social media. I prefer to think of myself as a late returnee. I was an early geek, but never a cool one. Long, long ago I had dabbled in 6502 assembly language, hand coded .htm. I could usually be found on the Undernet, most often in the Poetry room. I even ran a BBS for a time. The host had a mighty 386sx processor and two wicked fast V.22bis 2,400-bit/s 600 baud modems.
Then, suddenly, not so much anywhere.
When I decided to return to social media and the internet, I was a little apprehensive. The internet was littered with the corpses of dead blogs, inactive accounts, and there were so, so many choices. All of them (Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Smashwords, Buzzfeed, Crowdfire, BuzSumo, etc.) I was told, absolute positively no exceptions 100% must-haves for a writer.
All of them (Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Smashwords, Buzzfeed, Crowdfire, BuzSumo, etc.) I was told, absolute positively no exceptions 100% must-haves for a writer.
I chose to focus on just three areas: This site for my writing and whatever obscure musings and rants I felt like inflicting on JQ Public. GoodReads, for the books, the forums, and genre engagement.
I was warned about Twitter. “It’s a time-suck/Troll city.” And one ominous cry of “Dooooooooommm!!!” I knew other writers would be there. Editors. Publishers. I discovered the awesomeness of PitchWars and those involved. As a Baby-Boomer-Millennial cusper, I wanted very much to get a feel for current Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Hard SciFi, and Space Opera.
So the REM/Michael Stipe offering seemed a natural for the title. Plus, I really like REM.
What have I found? Everything. A wealth of advice from authors and editors and bloggers and reviewers and publishers, some good, some bad, but most good. It’s easy to focus on the trolls and spammers. But I have found a lot of people, in and around writing, all genres, all levels that just want to help out other writers and artists. I have encountered joy, heartbreak, sorrow and sickness, hope and faith and anger and forgiveness. And even a brief encounter or two with redemption.
Four months later, has it been worth the time? Definitely. Has it changed my mind about other social media sites and tools? No. I’m writing part time. Work, family, writing, and reading pretty much occupy all 48 hours of my day. I don’t have time for another tool, site, or task. Not now.
Will I use Twitter to help other authors or publications? As much as possible. It’s the least I can do to try and repay those who have so unselfishly helped me.
Is Twitter right for you? I don’t know. Try them all, pick the ones you like, skip the rest. Mix and match. It’s your book and your library. Write and read what you want.
Just don’t be afraid to try.