I know there are still a lot of people who don't get it. And many who don't want to go there because it seems like it could be a giant time suck.
I've been tweeting for a few months now, and thought I'd share my thoughts, as well as a very smart editor's thoughts, about how this social network is good for an author.
First of all, I should say that because I work a day job, I can't be on twitter and probably am not on twitter as much as most authors.
But the the great thing about twitter is you can pop on for a few minutes, reply to a few tweets, post something, and pop off. Later, I can go back and check if I had any replies to my tweet, and respond if I want to.
So why twitter?
I really think this is social networking at its best, if you use it correctly.
You can reach a whole bunch of people in a matter of seconds - to share good news, to point people to a blog post, to ask a question... The list is endless. And, if people see that you have something great going on, they will retweet your tweet (with a RT at the beginning, followed by what you tweeted), which means you have reached even MORE people.
Do some people use it like a giant chat room? Yes. Do you have to use it that way? No, not if you don't want to. Sometimes I get into a conversation with someone, and that's fun though. And there are scheduled chats that go on, like the weekly #kidlitchat that happens every Tuesday evening, I believe.
Author and Twitter Guru Mitali Perkins does this great thing called #bookbday. It's a tweet on a book's release that gives the title, the genre, the publisher, the author, and a link to somewhere that gives you info about the book and shows the cover.
People retweet these book birthday party posts like crazy, and you just never know who might click on the link and hear about your book for the first time.
I want to sum up this post with some words from the very wise editor Molly O'Neill, who answered some marketing questions over at Shelli's fabulous blog - Market My Words. If you haven't read the interview yet, it's AWESOME, and you should read it in its entirety.
I'm going to paraphrase here, because you should go and read the interview, but basically she said, by participating in social networking sites, WE ARE REMINDING PEOPLE WE EXIST. We are reinforcing the connection we established at some point, and this is how we build relationships.
Yes, writing a good book is the most important thing for an author. But it is so competitive out there, and I think whatever we can do to build relationships with librarians, booksellers, readers, other authors, etc. is very important. Twitter gives us an opportunity to connect with people, even if only for a few minutes a day.
I'm sure I've missed some other valuable reasons. Anything you'd add, twitter users???