Twitter. Yes, that crazy, 140-character insta-communication place everybody’s talking about. It seems like you’re either hooked on it, or you don’t understand it. I was a serious skeptic, but now that I’ve spent some time on it, I’m finding it an invaluable tool for me as a writer and blogger.
When I first heard about it, I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding.” What can I possibly communicate in these short messages? How can I meaningfully connect with anyone?
But I believe the space limits on Twitter in fact make it more powerful and efficient than other social-media sites. Here are some of the reasons I’ve grown to love it:
1. #1 Internet brain-picking site. Would you like to be inspired daily by the Dalai Lama? Want a quick hit of what Guy Kawasaki or Chris Brogan is thinking? Don’t know who Guy Kawasaki or Chris Brogan are yet? Just follow them and find out. Twitter gives you instant access to some of the brightest minds around the globe, in various fields (especially social media and marketing). For starters, just hang out, follow some whip-smart folks, and learn.
2. Make new friends. I’ve connected with wonderful writers around the country, some of which I’ve chatted with on the phone since, from poking around on Twitter, and seeing who follows me.
3. Learn to be concise. The 140-character discipline of Twitter really teaches you how to write for today’s short-attention-span, online audience. Try to be witty in two lines while still including a link–it’s good practice.
4. Find sources…and let them find you. I’ve found Twitter a good emergency source-finding mechanism, even for arcane stuff. Also, some folks are so into Twitter that it’s the fastest way to get them–give it a try if you’re having trouble reaching someone by phone or email. Also, lots of marketing consultants are out there telling business owners they need to find journalists on Twitter to market their business…so if you get on, story ideas will come your way.
5. Meet editors. Lots of publications are jumping on Twitter. Can be a great way to find an editor name in this era when so many publications don’t seem to have mastheads anymore.
6. Get listed. Twitter’s lists feature has become a great way to get known (and to find people). I’m in 85 or so lists, and have made nearly a dozen–easy way for me to quickly save names by category, i.e. writers, business sources, etc.
7. Find jobs. Twitter is an increasingly hot place for jobs. I created a list for job sites that are on Twitter, so I can run a feed and just look at listings whenever I want. You can also use tools such as TwitJobSearch to run job searches on key words.
8. Get social-media skills. If you’re not working with clients yet who want you to do social media for them, you probably will be soon. So hang out on Twitter and learn the etiquette so you’re ready to combine your copywriting skills with social media to earn more.
How are you using Twitter to help your writing career? Let me know if I’ve forgotten anything. And for more on how writers can use social media to help their careers, see my Twitter tips and samples.
3/15/01–Oh heck! I DID forget one more thing that’s great about Twitter — #WriterWednesday (or #WW). Every Wednesday, writers on Twitter tweet about what they’re up to, salute new friends or listers…fun dialogue to scroll through. Just search on the hashtag phrase and enjoy…great way to connect with other writers.–Carol
Photo via Flickr user 7son75