Thursday, January 22, 2009

Twitter is useful, yes, but..

I discovered I'm listed on 25 good follows for writers on Twitter.

What a crock.

If you're a writer I don't represent, my tweets might seem like the ramblings of a deranged caffeine soaked cranky person. Well, ok, they ARE the ramblings of a deranged caffeine soaked cranky person but if you know me, you know that's pretty normal.

It's a crock because I don't use twitter to instruct, educate, inform, network or any of those other whizbang new benefits espoused by social networking experts. My tweets aren't useful to you unless you're on twitter to waste time.

I use twitter to hang out with my clients. And colleagues. And follow the waffle truck (which I think is the coolest use of social networking so far.)

If you want useful info about query letters and other publishing perils, that's what this blog is for. And that other one.


I follow about 75 people on Twitter, which means those are the ONLY tweets I see. If you follow me, but I don't follow you, I don't see what you write. And I don't go looking for it. I do look at the people who follow this blog. Thus, following me on Twitter isn't one of the ways to get my attention.

One of the great ways to make twitter a total waste of time is to follow someone who isn't using twitter for what YOU are using it for. Most likely I'm one of those people. You won't hurt my feelings if you quit following me. I'm not invested in that number.

And three sure ways to make sure I not only don't follow you ever, but block you from following me:

1. protect your updates. You can follow me without asking permission, but you won't let me even see what you tweet without asking? I think not, bucko. BLOCK.

2. You follow more than 1000 people. Clearly you're using twitter for some mass hypnosis evil plan for world domination, which interferes with MY evil plan for world domination. BLOCK.

3. You only post links to other places. I don't know what you're up to, I probably don't even want to guess what you're up to. I'm not letting your avatar sit on my page, nope. BLOCK.

Twitter is useful indeed but, like other useful tools, if you hit yourself in the head with it, it's not going to do much good. Tweet and follow wisely.

38 comments:

acpaul said...

Oh, but Janet,

I follow you 'cause you're funny. Since you don't represent SF&F, I'm probably pretty safe for you (no point in stalking). :)

Cheers.

clindsay said...

There's a waffle truck???


I knew about the dessert truck and have recently dicovered the Belgian crepe truck (in Queens of all places) but a waffle truck is the clear winner.

freddie said...

Yes, but it's so entertaining. : )

ryan field said...

I like to see what my agent is up to, I like to see what a few fellow writers are up to and I like to add my own so they can see what I'm doing. I go there for a total of three to four minutes a day. And I don't like too much clutter.

I just hope that if you block someone you know it doesn't come off as a nasty snub, because it's nothing personal. And it seems I to have to block someone at least once a day.

BJ said...

I'm on Twitter to find out industry news and so forth. I follow publishers, authors, agents, even some publicists or other news/writing twitterers. Most of it I skim, looking for bits and pieces of what I can use. I don't usually follow links unless they look up my alley.

I also protect my updates. Why? Because I like to know who's reading my tweets. It helps me to know what to post, what I shouldn't post, and what I should post more/less of. Since there are publishers following me, I try to keep my tweets more professional, though I do let a less professional tweet slip through... and I do follow an author or two whom I know and converse with. There may come a time when I feel confident enough and prepared enough for public consumption, but right now, I'm not there yet.

You may not be out there to educate or inform, but I do find your tweets interesting. I also follow a few people for entertainment, too. They make good counterpoints to the 'major publisher firing many people' and book review tweets. I'd fall asleep reading some of that stuff if there weren't other more interesting things keeping me awake!

Besides, how else would I have learned that Edgars don't sell books?

Mary Lindsey said...

I'm represented by another agent, but follow you on twitter because I like your blog and your sense of humor. Perhaps that's because I relate so well to your caffeine-soaked crankiness.

Alicia said...

Janet, I follow you on Twitter too because you're funny and I like the attitude you have on things. It's one of the reasons why I read your blog as well!

Merry Monteleone said...

Josephine Damian talked me into joining Twitter - I think because she was on there more than blogging and also because she really likes it.

Me, not so much. I stop in occasionally and barely ever update my tweets unless I see a comment I want to respond to right in the recently posted section.

Maybe I'm not cut out for that kind of social networking. When I get an email telling me someone is following me, my first thoughts are:

"Who is that? Do I know you? Why the heck are you following me - I might be lost, how do you know?"

Rather than the more normal, "Yay, new people are following me!" reaction.

Eva Ulian said...

I'm pretty safe too, I've already queried you 3 years ago and you said No. But you did write something nice back, not the usual slip. So, you're off my list. I've also unfollowed you because that is your wish, however, I did enjoy the defenestration bit.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

I quit Twitter, just joined Face Book... (using my real name, OH WOW me, how daring)! I'm friendly - mostly.

This should be interesting.

Haste yee back ;-)

inthewritemind said...

I was hesitant even to join Twitter, but one of the real estate agents told me I needed to in order to help promote social networking. Not that it's actually been used yet here in our company...

Anyway, I follow maybe 40 people, but I'm thinking I need to narrow it down even more.

JES said...

Twitter is nuts. I'm there, follow a few people, find entertainment value in it, but good Lord -- like you, when I see someone is following a thousand Closest Friends it makes me wonder if they've got any real ones.

[curmudgeon mode off]

BJ said...

Just as a comment on my previous: yes, I'm following a LOT of people. However, I also weed them out, depending on what they post most of the time. I give them a chance, and if I find them useful or entertaining, I'll keep them. Kind of like any kind of collector/packrat, I suppose, but it takes less room than salt-and-pepper shakers...

Just_Me said...

Now, Janet, we're going to have to discuss these world domination plans. Mine have been in the works for years, I'm not sure I can just let you step in and take over. No matter how shapely your stiletto. You can have New York, after that, we'll need to negotiate.

Sarah Jensen said...

Am I the only one not on Twitter?
Maybe I should head over there. I follow some blogs that I enjoy, this being one, but I can't seem to find time for the rest.
What am I missing out on?

Maria said...

I don't use twitter, but I wouldn't hesitate to read/use it were I looking at a particular agent that was out there. It doesn't necessarily matter what topics they are posting. Twitter, blogs, facebook--all are useful to get insight into the personality of someone I may or may not want to work with. Same thing that some agents probably do when it comes to checking the blogs of potential clients.

BJ said...

Ms. Jensen, what you're missing out on depends on what you're looking for. :) You can find friends, you can find information, you can find crap. Choose the people you decide to follow wisely, with a specific purpose in mind (such as social networking, learning about an industry, entertainment, news)

I don't do Facebook. I think I have an account, but if you ask me, Facebook takes more time than Twitter, and you don't learn as much as quickly.

I guess you could say that Twitter is the fast-forward version of Facebook...

BJ said...

Oh, and Haste? I was wondering where you went!

ICQB said...

I'm a twit when it comes to twitter.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

BJ... LOL, I sent you a tweet, tweeter, tweetish?? saying goodbye and thanking you for friendship.

Sorry you don't like Face. If you change your mind, look me up... Robert Wahl... lol, put my old high school football pic up so classmates would recognize me. Yes, they're screamin' at me for a recent pic to see how I've... I've matured!

Hey, I get a new puppy saturday - German shot-hair pointer. I'll be a parent for the next six weeks.

Haste yee back ;-)

Margaret Yang said...

My evil plan for world domination involves getting agents to follow my waffle truck. What's yours, Janet?

spyscribbler said...

I actually started reading your blog because of Twitter. I first got your tweets via your clients replying or something, clicked through to you, and you cracked me up.

So then I started reading the blog.

And I mean this very kindly, but the informative posts about querying and such? There are a ton of them, and while I appreciate them all, they do tend to be repetitive.

I have two agents and one editor in my reader, because of that. As they say in the biz, it's all about voice. :-)

AC said...

Finally, someone who uses Twitter for entertainment! The whole confusing rules of Twitter networking boggle my mind and I'm supposedly the Facebook generation...

I think you're witty and endearingly disgruntled so of course I'm following you. Wish we had a Waffle Truck in my neck of the woods. Best. Invention. Ever.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I don't tweet. I've got enough little birdies with their beaks wide open, waiting to be fed.

I succumbed to Facebook, though. Long-lost cousins are coming out of the woodwork.

Heather Wardell said...

I follow you on twitter because I never quite know what you'll say next and it entertains me. I read your blogs because I learn things. I'd probably physically follow you around NYC if a) I lived there b) that wasn't stalking c) I didn't know you'd make sure I never walked again.

Gina Black said...

That explains why you seemed to be ignoring my answers to your questions when you were editing a book set in L.A.

Janet Reid said...

oops! Sorry Gina! I've only just recently figured out the @ column, so I can now actually see those replies when I click.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

I follow you on twitter because you often converse on twitter with other people I follow. Having 2/3s of a conversation isn't much fun. :)

Haste yee back ;-) said...

You mean my answers... LA electric bills pay to, PG&E and locals call the Dorothy Chandler Pav, "The Chandler" were never read - and I invested a phone call to LA?

Lee Roy, pass that jug! (No, Janet, I ain't sharin')

Haste yee back ;-)

Indigo said...

Insanely enough, I can't follow everyone who is following my blog. If I were to try to keep up with them all...I wouldn't have a life. I imagine the same can be said of you.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace are all not on my radar. Like I said it's insane enough with the blog and trying to have a life. Heaven forbid if I ever wanted to try my hand at writing a book.

As for why I'm following you? You give some interesting feedback on what's on the market and how it's handled. I have a few of those nuggets stored in my head for future use. (Hugs)Indigo

Gina Black said...

So glad it wasn't the cut direct. All is forgiven. :)

Foxi Rosie said...

But cranky people are much more interesting... and I agree with Alicia's comment about your humour...

December/Stacia said...

...but I like following you on Twitter. :-(


I like Twitter, I think it's fun. I keep my Following list low so it's mostly just sort of a very slow chat with friends.

Eva Ulian said...

I thought you might like to know that I found the letter you sent me from the then JetReid Literary Agency. It was dated July 27, 2005 and the reason for rejection was "these novels are not quite right for my list", then you go on to say that what wasn't right for you may be just the ticket someplace else. You also recommended me to read a book by Pat Walsh- I am posting a link to a recent interview of himhttp://www.powells.com/authors/walsh.html

But what I thought was really noble of you is that you went out of your way to send me a letter and actually supplied the stamps yourself because here in Italy I could not send you US postage- 2x23c and 1 37c. In effect I still owe you 87 c.

So, I will never let anyone knock you down by saying you don't care- you do!

Leif said...

I writ' a bit
and then I twit
and tweetle on until I git
all tangled up in it

just kiddin'
...ain't been on it yit.

IT jumped in my head
I couldn't quit
....such FABULOUS wit!

oh, forgive an idyit.

Josephine Damian said...

2. You follow more than 1000 people. Clearly you're using twitter for some mass hypnosis evil plan for world domination, which interferes with MY evil plan for world domination. BLOCK.

Might wanna re-think this criteria - most of the popular tweeps use tweetdeck - you can put the people you REALLY want to follow in a column/group and leave the rest of the people you "follow" but never even bother to read their tweets into a column you never read or even see. It appears as if you care about what they say when you really don't.

Josephine Damian said...

For the record, you're one of the people I really do follow. I will look into this waffle truck thing.

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