So, in one insomniac burst I abruptly joined both Twitter (@lesliepwriter) and Goodreads…and then realized I didn’t know much of anything about either. Twitter seems like walking the wrong way onto the autobahn or something, so I emailed my very savvy, very funny writing group for some advice. I was expecting a couple pointers along the lines of “don’t tweet nude photos,” but instead I got this very sane, helpful list of tips from Carolyn Parkhurst, who agreed to let me share them here on my old-fashioned, oh-so-wordy, very-non-Twitter blog (nearly 3000 characters in here, with spaces, which is like 22 tweets!).
So, lots of good stuff, even if you’re already a pro. (And if you’re not interested in Twitter, scroll down to the link to Carolyn’s incredible humor piece, published by the New Yorker…it will absolutely make your day!)
Make Twitter Your Bitch (Note: my title, not Carolyn’s! Carolyn is too classy for a title like this!)
By Carolyn Parkhurst
1. An email thank-you is nice, but most Twitter users expect a hand-written note for each favorite and retweet. (Okay, the rest are serious.)
2. Follow lots of people. Look up writers you like, people you know on FB, literary journals, and pop-culture things you like (TV shows, actors, etc). Check out Twitter's suggestions for people to follow, and when you find someone you like, check out the people they follow. You don't have to do it all at once. Try to follow a few new people every week.
3. Follow @TheBookMaven, @colsonwhitehead, @mat_johnson, @rgay, @duchessgoldblatt, @JohnMoe, @RonCharles, @robdelaney, @SarahThyre, @BoobsRadley. I may think of more later.
4. Spend a little time browsing and getting a feel for the place. Read what other people are tweeting and what responses they get. You'll figure it out.
5. Engage in conversation: Post replies to other people's tweets, ask questions in your own tweets, compliment people if you've recently read their books, etc. When you mention someone by their username, they'll get a notification and will probably reply.
6. Tweet a couple of things a day. Links to your blog and Redux and any of your work online, but also short, funny observations. Anything you'd post on FB. Thoughts about TV shows and cocktails. Writing tips (real or jokey), grammatical errors you find in public, tabloid headlines you see while shopping. Cat pics are fine, too. Weekday mornings are the best time to tweet.
7. Follow all of us. Duh.
ABOUT: Carolyn Parkhurst is the New York Times best-selling author of three novels, including THE DOGS OF BABEL and THE NOBODIES ALBUM. Her humor has appeared on "The Rumpus" and on the New Yorker's "Shouts and Murmurs" blog. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children, and can be found on Twitter as @CParkhurst1.
And you simply must read her New Yorker piece, about Eloise, who as a middle-age woman has moved from the Plaza Hotel to the Crowne Plaza: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/eloise-an-update