To my nearly seven hundred followers on twitter, I say, hello my lovelies. How are you?

The reason I opened a twitter account was because every writer in the twitterverse was doing it and I didn’t want to get left behind or thought a Luddite because I wasn’t embracing social networking.

But I do wonder if twitter is beyond me. Does anyone really want to know what I have for breakfast – protein shake/yoghurt/berries/seeds – why on earth would they want to know this? Twitter is a brilliant tool if a tornado is about to hit the state of Texas but is telling everyone you’ve just had a leg wax interesting?

According to Stephen Randall in the Los Angeles Times, ‘We live in an era when it’s important to have opinions – not necessarily original or good ones, just strong ones, and plenty of them’. Well, okay, but opinions on what? Whether Prince Harry should be plastered all over the front pages, nekid?

Everyone feels the need to engage and I get that, I do, and I adore re-tweeting and supporting writing friends. But sometimes I don’t have anything to say. I heard those gasps of disbelief from the back of the room. Stop it, you know what I mean, 140 characters is simply not enough for the flow of my creative brain. It’s too much pressure to be instantly funny, unforgettable, current, and just a little bit zany (look how many words that took?) It’s the limiting of language that’s so hard for someone with a big mouth, like me.

But celebrities love it – it keeps the fans happy while retaining their privacy. It’s like giving them a glimpse of their under arm hair to keep them titillated and engaged while keeping their deepest secrets intact.

What I hate, detest and drives me crazy is the SPAM on twitter with peeps I don’t know and never met asking me to ‘like’ their blog/book/buy their product etc. And the great Kristen Lamb has been posting about etiquette on twitter Here. What I do like about twitter is the direct messaging part of the deal. Love it. People come onto me and chatter away about all sorts of stuff and you can get to know a person really well. And I’ve made some excellent friends on twitter who appear to care a great deal about me as a person rather than as a writer which is cool. And real, honest to goodness fans have come on too, which was a big thrill and made my day. Not had a critic yet but I’m sure it’ll happen at some point.

The Queen’s grand daughter, the lovely Zara Phillips, said recently about social networking sites, ‘I’d rather just pick up the phone.’ And I totally sympathised with her point of view.

But what I want to know is how to connect with people who are readers on there without spamming them about my books. Any ideas anyone? I know the plan is to engage and be nice and lovely and helpful. I am all that and more – just say’in – but I’m not finding it as easy a place to engage with people as I do on facebook for example.

What I think people who are really good at connecting on twitter is they manage to give a little piece of their heart and a little bit of their soul on there. Not easy to do in 140 characters, but I shall not be deterred and will try much harder to do better.

How do you guys use twitter?

What works for you?

And what do you dislike about it?

You know I adore hearing from you, so shout out from the back!


Christine xx


  1. Oh – I am so with you. Facebook is totally my game. I’m on Twitter, I have idk… 1,000 followers – but most of them aren’t meaningful connections. If you figure this out, let me know!

  2. It’s tough. And I don’t have lots of time, either and also find FB easier to engage. Mostly I RT, post a couple of “thoughts/plans for the day” and look for Sweet Tweets who might be online the same time as me to chat for a spell. My blog gets auto-tweeted but I don’t really count on that for engagement–although many of my AWESOME FOLLOWERS do RT the blog for me. In a nutshell, that’s what I do. Does it have an effect? Dunno. But that doesn’t take a huge amount of time so I’m happy to continue for the nonce. Good discussion!

    • Thank you for that, Amy. It’s not just me, is it? I like the idea of thoughts/plans for the day and sweet tweets. I’ll give it a try 🙂 I must admit I have awesome followers too, but I don’t like taking advantage of them either, if you know what I mean?

  3. Personally, I don’t have many followers nor follow many. I want to be able to read the stories, funnies and know a few people, check in now and then. I love the stories and books and have a list going so as soon as I finish mine I’ll be catching up. I find the need to slim it now and then otherwise I have some meaningless tweets. I do follow a couple movie people for fun as I like to watch all the glitz. I did follow a book blog that turned into a movie so that was fun. l learned things and shared comments with other followers. Actually it was very cool. I have never done anything like it before. I just got a job so I will have to streamline my time on net. I like personal messaging myself and having paragraphs of chat! Thanks CC. Do you find facebook best for that?

  4. I get lost on FB…. I took the onramp to Twitter and there is so much traffic, I can’t see for the smog. Mostly I sit in the breakdown lane until I have the energy to muscle my way into traffic. I make my occasional forays but am soon driven back to the sidelines by all the speeding vehicles spewing out their spam. I feel like a Model T on the 405 at rush hour(s). One day, I will have the time and energy to force my way into traffic and hold my position while I get up to speed, but that day is not today. You can find me asleep in the rumble seat in the breakdown lane.

    • Hi, Charis,

      Lovely to see you here! I adore the analogies and totally get it, lol! It’s not easy is it? Tweetdeck helps keep a track of conversations and makes sure you don’t miss messages from peeps you want to hear from!

      • Sounds to me like a you “you are here” sign… Works wonders once you are there and have some reference point… I am limping in that direction. I haven’t even had the time to keep my blog up to date, so I think I will work on that while I hang out in the rumble seat here. Don’t worry, the engine in this ole’ beast is tricked out. Once I figure out how to drive, I will fly.

  5. I think Twitter is a great place to make friends. Not friends who might want to read our books, just friends. To me, it’s really the only way to use Twitter. Yes, we can absolutely promote our books/blog posts/etc, but those messages only go to people on Twitter. And from the articles I’ve read, the percentage of people they influence is very small.

    What you’re doing with DM is great, but you should bring it out of DM. (Unless these are private conversations) The big advantage of Twitter is if someone’s having a conversation and I have something to add, it’s not rude for me to jump in. I’ll bet many of your tweets could’ve drawn in some new people.

    The other thing to remember is more people will read your tweets than respond to them. So, do like the article says, and be honest. Have an opinion. If you did get your legs waxed, did it hurt? Did they do a good job? Rest assured, someone will have read your tweet. Then, do it all over again. You’ll establish yourself as a friendly person who’s cool to talk to on Twitter. When the time comes, you’ll have tons of FRIENDS willing to help you out with your books.

    And that concludes my strong opinion for the day.

    • Hello, Andrew!

      Lovely to see you here and thank you very much for commenting with such wise advice. Hmm, the DM thing is interesting. Some are definitely not for public consumption, if you know what I mean? The issue has been getting my head around the way twitter works, so thank you for clarifying the method – it’s simple – trust me to over think the thing 🙂

  6. What you said. All of it but, especially “sometimes, I don’t have anything to say.” And yes, it’s too much pressure to be charming, witty, etc. – I’m not that interesting; that’s why I write fiction! I don’t even DM people on Twitter, unless it’s to reply to someone who’s DM’ed me – and hardly anyone ever does except the ones who do the creepy auto-DMs after you follow them back. By the time I get on Twitter, most of the WANA peeps aren’t around anyway.

    • Hi, Jennette!

      The time difference thing is an issue. And since I tend to be online during the night, which is daytime in the USA, most of my contacts are over the pond. And a lovely lot they are too! I find peeps DM me on twitter rather than the other way around. And if someone spams me I just report them. As Andrew says it’s just about tweeting an actual opinion and not be afraid to share it! Who’d have thought I’d be shy – do I hear sniggering in the back? 🙂

  7. I’m still learning Twitter, but I think connecting on a personal level works best here as it does with any other social networking sites. That personal touch makes the difference, right? Now, I still need to work on that in the Twitterverse, but I do believe there’s no shortcut to getting noticed.

    • Thank you, Natalie. You’re absolutely right. Jillian Dodd was talking to me on Facebook and she posts stuff that’s happened in her life, like her son driving his car into the garage wall for example. Or the twelve pizzas all lined up to be eaten in her kitchen. As you say there’s no shortcut! I just need to be me, God help us all ‘)

  8. I agree with Andrew. Some of those things that seem random, like getting your legs waxed. How I have been putting off going to the grocery store (because I HATE IT) but now I am forced to because I am OUT of Diet Coke and that means I will not be able to function. Don’t forget about instagram or just uploading goofy photos. I often take photos of my cocktails and food related items. Everyone who reads my books knows that I am a huge Husker fan and I tweet for most of the game and interact with a lot of people within the hashtag. I think you just have to have fun with it. Just like at a party, if you are having fun, you will attract people. If you’re sitting bored in the corner, you won’t.

    • Oh, and recently, I tweeted about the coolest pair of Donald Pliner shoes I bought. (They are my addiction) and they RT’d me. Made MY DAY. Maybe my year. So don’t forget to RT things people say about your books or your blog. You just might make their day!

      • I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere. That Twitter is like the cocktail party where you only get to small talk with people. Where as facebook is more like inviting someone into your home. For good and bad.

  9. I started out on Twitter, but FB is beginning to win my preference. I also sometimes sit in front of the Twitter screen “speechless”–yea, my husband doesn’t get it either. Sometimes it’s because I try to chat and feel limited by well, Twitter’s limit. So haven’t figured it out either 🙂

    • Thank you, Coleen, I’m glad it’s not just moi! But I’m beginning to get the picture, thanks to the great comments from Jillian – who rocks the social networks and should write a book about it (!)

  10. I treat Twitter as part advertising platform, particularly with Tweeps who understand reciprocity, and also a sort of daily log. As with Facebook, I think of it too as an online diary—the kind that can be used against one in court. Personally, I find FB better for personal connection, while the T-verse excels at writer networking. Feel free to link up! @DaleAmidei

  11. Have we not had enough of HRH of Nakedness. Prince what’s his face????? 🙂

    So happy to see that we are talking about Twitter. I wasn’t sure what to expect knowing you and the title you chose. LOL! I don’t mind Twitter. I love talking to people. But most of the people who are following me I don’t know. Which makes me ask, “Why are they following me?” Then of course, you need to be on Twitter when your friends are on there if you hope for a response. Yet, we all live in different time zones, so that may make things a bit confusing.

    It would help if I had a smart phone or another computer for tweetdeck. If I am writing, or on Facebook, it makes it hard to be on Tweetdeck at the same time. And like you mentioned, there is a lot of spaming going on lately, which I hate, and if it’s from Triberr, that person isn’t really there. If you respond to their tweet you end up looking like an idiot. I may be an idiot, but prefer not to go public with that knowledge in front of hundreds of people, thank you.

    When you get this all figured out Christine, let me know because I am one of your almost seven hundred lovely faithful followers.

    So tweet me! 🙂

  12. I sure know the feeling. I often go to Twitter to say something and participate the conversation but then I just stand in the corner and can’t open my mouth, just like in a real life party where I don’t know most folks 😛 It’s even worse if there is a Twitter chat going on. People type so fast that the topic I wanted to comment on is so 3 minutes ago and everyone is talking about something else already.

    That, and I feel a huge pressure to say something witty and smart and nothing is coming.

    I’m really assured by the recent articles I have read about Twitter and Dubar’s Law. According to the law you can only be really close with 150 people. Imagine if you only had that many Tweeps and since you knew them all, those of them who saw you Tweet something, would be very likely to RT it. They likely know at least 50 people who are not the same who you know, so you’d get a little more coverage. A coverage more likely to be RTed again if they follow the same philosophy.

    And remember that Twitter isn’t the only social media there is. If you like Facebook or Pinterest or plain blog commenting better, stick to those. It’s better to ace one or two social medias than half-ass them all.

  13. I think Twitter has taken a nosedive since Triberr. Mywana helps with the conversation, but otherwise I feel like I’m talking into space. I try to tweet fun/interesting things like trivia and music/movies. I like Facebook for connecting, and I’m hoping I’ll eventually branch out beyond just awesome writer friends.

    • Hello, Stacy,

      Lovely to see you here! Hmm, yes, the bots are a pain. Kristen’s been blogging about them at length and rightly so. Connecting with readers is key. However, I need my writer friends too – you all keep me sane 🙂

  14. All I can say is “ditto” to all of it. You said exactly what I would if I were writing a blog about twitter. It feels more chaotic to me than facebook. On the latter, I can take my time and chat and not feel like I’m missing 1000 more tweets while I’m at it. Not to mention that long-winded thing. LOL

  15. Ditto. I try to participate in twitter. With limited time, it’s a dash in and out type of thing, so I’m not certain it’s working for me, either. Interesting that so many people feel Twitter isn’t working for them.

  16. This has been an incredibly interesting conversation, Christine. I play on twitter for a while, till I start spamming people too much, then I drop out of sight. If you squint, you might be a le to see me hiding under the bar. 🙂

  17. Maybe it’s because all this stuff comes to my phone, but I have the best conversations on Twitter. It seems like we all have to be wittier at 140 characters and it’s just so much fun. I do Facebook and enjoy it because of all of you. But as far as loving it? I don’t really.

    The problem with Twitter comes when it’s all links and no chatting. I’m blessed though because I can usually get a Twitter chat when I want one.

    • Helloooo Jenny,

      So we really need to follow your conversations. Now there’s a plan! The trouble with me is finding the time since I’m up against deadlines, but I’ll definitely keep an eye on you and see what’s cooking. Thank you for commenting, I appreciate it!

  18. I kind of flail about with it — I go in at least once a day and look around – -I try to, as you do, retweet to support other writers, and artists/musicians/etc. What I don’t do is “advertise” my novels — the only time I talk about my books is when I have specific news to share – like a promotion my publishers is doing, or a new book comes out, or something of that sort, and I do that not often at all. Most of the time, I’m just “myself” on social networking and decided I’d just have some fun with it. A stress relief from the demands of deadlines and also a break from what often is a mostly “reclusive” life!

    I do go to #mywana and #amwriting and the @litchat/#litchat discussions when I can and every once in a while I’m engage in discussion, but so many times I’m a little lost so I just read and catch up a little.

    • Hello, Kat!

      You flail do you, darling? I know the feeling, but some of the commenters are spot on and I’ll definitely try harder.

      Sometimes I wish my life was a little more ‘reclusive’ I dream of being in a cottage with a fairy who will provide food, clean it and just leave me alone to write. Until I have one, Hugo will just have to do! My three kids and assorted other people never permit me to be a recluse. However, they and their friends provide plenty of entertainment.

      Lovely to see you here!

  19. Argh! I left the best, most poignant comment yesterday and it’s gone. Where did it go, exactly? Weird.

    Anyway, Jillian and Andrew said pretty much what I wanted to say. Except I added this for Andrew ~ leg waxing does hurt. A lot!

    And you know what? There are people out there who love knowing that kind of stuff. Like Jillian said about hating the grocery store, I’d reply to that tweet because I too, hate going to the market. It’s the banal stuff we think no one wants to know that really unites us. We don’t always have to be charming and sparkly, so don’t stress it. Just jump on, be yourself, comment when it’s interesting and jump off. No worries!

    Love the cocktail party analogy. I have to admit, Facebook has always been my first love, but Twitter is now my secret crush. 😉

  20. I read this post originally and mentioned that I looked forward to hearing all the comments…so I came back today to read them and I see that I’m sort of off track on Twitter, maybe. I guess I treat Twitter and FB almost the same — so maybe that’s the problem. I do share posts from Triberr on Twitter and not on FB. I check out the #mywana to see what’s up there — very often, there’s no one around because I’m on EDT and most of the wanas are around later. I answer everyone who mentions me, every time, no exceptions. I block those bots. But all of that said, I really like the small groups on FB the best. These are the places where people can actually talk to each other in my world. This is where I get to know folks — like most of you, to be honest. I probably wouldn’t feel so fondly about all of you if we’d never joined up on the FB group. I feel like our FB group is where we’ve become friends, not the #mywana or other Twitter spots. Maybe it’s a character flaw, but I’ve never been good at cocktail parties. …

    • A totally agree with everything you’ve said. The sharing of information, the way writers work hard and play hard is great fun. And we’re inclusive too, which is even more important. I think you share and pay it forward in an awesome way, Diane. It’s been a great pleasure to meet and get to know you.

  21. I find that on twitter, i’m not really lost, I just wish I had more time and energy to be where I needed to be. (Kinda like the broke down on the side of the highway comment, but i’m not really broke down, I just pulled over and waited until I felt like I wanted to get back in traffic, LOL)

    To find readers on Twitter, I looking in other social networks and remind them to connect with me on twitter. In my blog post when I do reader questions, I let my readers know to send me a question anytime on twitter. (Majority I get late in the night too).

    I also join chats with other authors on twitter, especially if it’s sponsored by a bookclub. I try to read the book or scan it quickly and then come up with questions to ask the author about the process or interesting characters I found.

    I’ve found interaction fast and connections even faster on twitter than I do on facebook.

    Most of all, I share news. I see other authors sending out news about their stuff and I RT a lot because I like to uplift others and get ppl to read their work, but in turn click thru on the “affliliate code” and I get something out of it too.

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