Last July, I chronicled my awkward experiences of building the foundations of my social media presence. I wrote about setting up my own website, Facebook account and starting to Blog. I promised, then, to write about Twitter, but have put it off…until now. This piece is about all the good advice I was given before I started to Tweet. Next week, more about my Twitter progress towards my goal of world domination.
Twitter (the beginning)
First up, I find more Abi Silvers than I can count, already Tweeting their hearts out, so I have to choose something else and go for @abisilver16 which I know I will remember. “Not very catchy” says mediasavvy1 with a sniff. “Couldn’t you be more imaginative?” says mediasavvy 2. “At least you’ve got your name in it” says mediasavvy3 “and not your date of birth, I hate that.” I blush. That had been my alternative choice.
“When you Tweet, always be courteous” says mediasavvy4. “So, credit the person you are re-Tweeting, don’t pretend it came from you.” “And when someone follows you, follow them back. It’s only polite” says mediasavvy1. “No” argues mediasavvy2. “Then you end up following a cast of thousands. And you look desperate. And God knows who they are! But do message them back to thank them personally and say hello.” “I agree” says mediasavvy 1. “No way” says mediasavvy3. “They’ll think you’re really weird if you message them directly, it’s like stalking.” Oh dear!
“Remember to always link back to where they can buy #TPB” says mediasavvy4. “Complete rubbish” says mediasavvy1. “If all you keep doing is selling your own stuff, then people will get fed up and ‘unfollow’ you.” But isn’t this why I am doing this in the first place? To sell my own stuff? “Yes, we all know that. But your followers don’t, do they?” (?)
“Think up catchy ways of introducing what you want to say. And try to include lots of hashtags that will be picked up by others,” says mediasavvy2. (Hashtags?) “But don’t use too many hashtags or your Tweet won’t read properly.” “If you use hashtags, make sure you get them exactly right or they don’t work” says mediasavvy3. “And why are you using #TPB? You’re not @Ian_Rankin or @AnnCleeves. No one has actually heard of you or your book. Put #ThePinocchioBrief. But make sure you use it consistently every time.”
“What do I actually say on Twitter?” I ask innocently. “Just say stuff you would say to your friends. Be yourself” says mediasavvy1. “Don’t tell jokes” says mediasavvy2. “Not everyone shares your sense of humour.” “Take a look at what is trending” says mediasavvy3. (Trending?). “Be original” says mediasavvy4. “But remember” says mediasavvy1, with a serious face emoji, “Facebook is for friends, Twitter is public.”
“Tell people what you think about anything you like, anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter if they are unconnected to you, books, crime writing, #TPB” clarifies mediasavvy2. “But why would people want to know what I think about, say, Donald Trump? My view is no more valid than anyone else’s?” All four mediasavvy friends raise their eyebrows collectively and exchange exasperated glances. “Because you’re @abisilver16 now, that’s why” they say collectively. “I see,” I reply. Now the penny has finally dropped, I can prepare my first Tweet.