Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tweeting My Life Away

I spent all day yesterday on twitter tweeting. I am learning the fine art of the retweet. I find an interesting tweeter and follow them, then they follow me. It's just all so smart and fast moving and takes a certain wit so say something smart in 140 characters. You know me as a rather long winded whiner, but I can pitch snark with the big boys on twitter. There are certain bloggers who are natural tweeters. Tengrain is one, ConecticutMan is another.

For every cause there are a group of tweeters who make it their own, who do the research, follow the news for up-to-the-second updates, and for every profession there are tweet networks. I think it was just a few months ago I started tweeting and now I have almost 400 followers. I wake up every morning to 10 invites to follow other tweeters. Throughout my day at twitter I find smart and interesting tweets from people I follow home to follow, then next morning there they are, following me. I think this is what they call "going viral." I could be wrong; I often am.

For every interest there is a twitter network. I'm following reporters, and pundits. For instance I follow Rachel Maddow, David Shuster, Don Lemon, Anna Marie Cox, Contessa Brewer, Jake Tapper, and many many more. I follow the NY Times, The Nation, NPR, MSNBC, CNN, The LA Times, The Washington Post and more. I follow too many news sources to remember them all first thing in the mid-day upon just waking. Twitter's an interesting place. I could follow Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, and every other right wing nut job if I choose, but I let others follow the crackpots and relish their skirmishes with them. It's a fast, wild ride on twitter.

I tend to be a bit long winded when I write. That's one of the reasons writing a one or two page query letter is such agony. So much to say, so little space to say it. Twitter forces me to condense my writing. I think it's a good discipline for me.

And after I have an experience like getting together with an important person from my youth to find myself shaken to my core, twitter is the kind of meditation that keeps me focused for a day on something else and breaks the cycle of painful looking back and wondering why.

There are twitter rooms for those with very specialized interests. I have found agents, publishers and other writers. I even follow The Writers Digest. The networking aspect is one of the reasons for tweeting. Find an agent who handles the type of fiction or non-fiction you write and then follow them to their blog site where you will be able to read about all the agents in their agency and what each is looking for. I've found tips on how to write a query letter and who accepts chapters with a query letter. I can't imagine another social networking site that would let me move so quickly and freely through these many diverse worlds.

Some of you have invited me to join FaceBook. I tried it once and then realized quickly that I didn't want any of the people I knew in High School or College to find me. I've been hiding from them for fifty years. And social networking takes time. So choose the place you want to spend your time and jump in with both feet. Hope to see you on the twitter.

24 comments:

thelass said...

There are a lot of privacy controls on Facebook that allow you to decide who can search for you and how. Just sayin'. I have a Twitter account but rarely use it. I perform the long-form blog. You know, to make my readers really suffer. :P
Also, thanks for the note!

thelass said...

"I perform"? PREFER. Ack. Can't think good today.

MadMike said...

I need to get into this Twitter thing. I have an account but never spent a lot of time in it. Secondly, I can't figure out how to Twit from my Blackberry, which is the only reason for me to Twit, or is it Tweat? I am so confused.

Utah Savage said...

I think of the blog as the long form of twitter. I think of twitter as the facebook for grownups. I don't mean that as a slap in the face of the facebook enthusiasts, but I know so many young people who are facebook enthusiast but who would never be able to tweet. I guess twitter is an acquired taste like asperagus or caviar rather than corn on the cob and fish sticks. Oh god, there might not be a nice way to make the comparison.

Take Sarah Palin for example. The girl can't twitter at all. She gets her ass kicked on twitter every time. But she can get away with saying shit on facebook and nobody calls her on it until it hits the press. On twitter we'd be all over her in an instant telling her what an idiot she is.

Utah Savage said...

MadMike, the correct term is "tweet" and I bet you'd be really good at it.

Cat said...

I tried this for a short time, and just as I began liking it somehow I got hacked, so I deleted it and just never re-started it.

The Peach Tart said...

I've only been tweeting for a few weeks, mainly to tweet when I've made a new post on one of my blogs. I'm slowly starting to get into it. I hate Facebook. I'm on there but never use it. I signed up to follow you on Twitter.

Utah Savage said...

Cat, I'm really curious to know what you mean by "hacked."

Peach, I'm following you back. Feel free to poach from my followers. It's an interesting bunch. The political conversations are fast and furious. I love it. I hate facebook. Sorry facebookers.

Lisa said...

What a brilliant way to use your twitter account. Someone we know is using it to tweet homework info to students. I'm going to borrow your idea and look for publishers and agents.

Utah Savage said...

Lisa, there is a search bod on your twitter homepage. Type in writers, or agents, or publishers and you will get a network. Then every time you are in your network use the hashtag (#writchat, for instance) to end your tweet and it will post on your network. Another one is #publit. You go girl.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I am on twitter...I never tweet..i have lots of people following me..for naught..
i've had so many last names and have outlived so many people that i dont have any fear of anyone finding me...i can always pretend not to remmber them...i'd love to see you on facebook...

Beach Bum said...

Sorry, my mind went straight into the gutter after I read about you follow Contessa Brewer's tweets. The pictures in my head had nothing to do with the internet.

Some of you have invited me to join FaceBook.

Vigil, MadMike, and Stella got me into FaceBook for a short time. But after my family stumbled upon it and I found out more than I wanted to know about my family's politics I jumped ship and deleted the account. Plus with my recent dry spell in writing I found I was piddling around FaceBook too much wasting time. I actually have a halfway decent story posted now.

themom said...

We are following each other on Twitter, but I have come to the conclusion...I must be doing something wrong. I need to either find a room I guess, so conversations (140 characters or less) can be had. Sometimes I can be brain dead. :)

Tengrain said...

Thanks for the compliment, Utah.

Flaubert knew a thing or two about brevity - he once began an epic letter by apologizing, saying that he did not have the time to write a short letter.

You and Flaubert - you are each in a class of your own.

Regards,

Tengrain

Utah Savage said...

Oh Tengrain, be still my heart. You make my heart sing. Yes, you were a great tweeter before twitter was invented. You are the master of the tweet, far and away the best.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

An informative, pleasant, good post! Ok, tweet me: theblender really want to follow you and see all your follows! I freely admit to wanting to benefit from your hard work! :-) and it'd be nice to say HI or snark around at 2am EST. LOL I admit to spending too much time updating my FB, because the bench is slow right now. I go in spurts... twitter and FB and blogs... one I do kinda regular, but I don't want to make an impression of stability....lord no. !!!!

Neither Here Nor There said...

Giving you an award. Sorry I've been MIA.

Stella by Starlight said...

Utah, I'm a Twitter drop out. Like thelass, I like Facebook, where I can ramble on and on and on... I still haven't gotten Tweeting on Twitter. Bro Mike, you're not alone about.


I tend to be a bit long winded when I write.
relate. (Major LOL.) To paraphrase Tengrain's reference to Flaubert... Mark Twain once wrote, "If I'd had more time, I would have written a shorter book."

And Dorothy Parker once wrote for a magazine ad, "Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

Passive voice always makes writing longer: avoid it for business letters to make them short. For your dynamically and engaging writing, throw grammatical rules out the window. Rules have no place in creativity.

Sorry I got you started on Facebook, BB. It's is a time sink. Once you get on, there's no turning back. Utah, I need your tutelage to Tweet. I still don't get the hang of it after all this time.

Hi, Gwendolyn =)

Jang-chub Ozer said...

"takes a certain wit so say something smart in 140 characters"

Marshall McLuhan once said that if writers were limited to 12 words a year, which had to be inscribed in stone, the quality of writing would improve immeasurably. Brevity is the essence of wit (I'm told - usually after I've been going on and on again...)

Saoirse in Spokane said...

You make me want to visit Twitter more often.

Happy Wednesday.

Sherry said...

i'm on twitter, but rarely. i too am long winded.

i like facebook- i just don't friend anyone i don't want to.

the publisher thing is terrific. thanks. i'll have to try it.

Nan said...

I fear Twitter would be too addictive so have been deliberately avoiding it.

Utah Savage said...

Nan, twitter is VERY addictive.

Randal Graves said...

I forgot I had an account.