Read a recent post by fellow author and all around wonderful person Lorna Suzuki where she talked about her logical process for "to follow or not to follow" on Twitter, and it made me take a second look at my own use of twitter.
I'm not so much a social networking expert - I definitely don't think I have any justification for telling people what it takes to build their followers or increase their Klout rating or monetize their Facebook profile - if I had, I'd likely be spending a lot more time counting my paypal pennies and less time bragging about it.
But I do trust what Lorna has to say - she's never steered me wrong yet - and I agreed with her list. It's really all about figuring out what she personally wanted from her Twitter experience, and as with so many things out there on the web, it's about figuring out your desired destination as well as the journey, and also placing a certain amount of prioritizing weight on both. Are you looking just for a huge twitter following? Do you want attention? Are you a net-stalker? Or are you looking to socialize? Are you working on developing your Brand, or looking to spam the universe?
Or are you looking for a radically, personally balanced, combination of those things?
I read a few dozen posts a day about people telling me "how to" do X thing the best. It's a lesson I learned years ago from a raven - an actual bird, yes - who showed me that by sampling everything and spitting out the garbage, you get a pretty good chance of filling your belly. And I'm fairly confident that there are lots of people out there who might just quickly filter my posts and tweets into that "garbage" column, and I'm fine with that. Sure, I wouldn't mind bending the ratio there a bit, but that's me and my hangups.
What is twitter for me? Well, I don't want to pretend like you asked that question, but in brief, twitter for me is a good way to quickly scan what is going on in publishing and media. It's a quick peek at the weather vane to see which way the wind is blowing, as well as a fairly expansive bulletin board to let a lot of folks casually know about things that they might be interested in. It's also a nice way to get the word out about whatever project I might be working on at the moment. Or help spread the word about projects friends of mine are doing. Fact is, you probably are reading this now BECAUSE of a tweet I made.
That actually made me smile to write that. Heh. Cool.
But the truth is, I really learn a lot from twitter. It's the simplest and broadest way for me to people-watch. And phrases might jump out (the ones where I accidentally misread them are the best by far!) that might trigger some other random idea that might make its way into a book. That's a whole lot of mights. But they're good mights. Mighty mights.
Twitter is a funny thing. I got into this weird headspace a while back where my follower count had frozen at around 1240 followers. It just didn't go up. At all. I'd pick up 5 new followers, and 5 others would unfollow. It was like running on ice. Crazy curling stuff, I'm telling you. I resisted the urge to do one of those "find out who is unfollowing you!" websites, because that would just likely feed into my already-enhanced twittneurosis. Like I need more things to be crazy about.
Then I went through a huge purge sometime late last year - I was following 2001 people and Twitter had cut me off - because I kept finding new people I wanted to follow, and that's when I realized I really was spending too much time reading the words of others and contributing so precious little back into the world. I went back, finished my last Aesirium novel and did a few other fun projects and am now feeling like I'm back into a better groove. A blog or two a week - a few tweets a day - and keep the juices flowing. A magical symphony of temporal balance, coupled with a healthy adjustment of extroversive and introversive (no, spellcheck tells me those aren't actual words, but I'm inventing them.) energies, and voila.
To sum up: if you've followed me and I haven't followed you back, please don't take it as a slight. I haven't followed maybe even half the people who've followed me, and a lot of the people I follow haven't followed me either. It's a sad cycle of accidental and perceived rejection, and I'm not gonna cry about it. Well, okay, I was sad back when Warren Ellis unfollowed me. But I got over it. @NeilHimself , @ThatKevinSmith and @TheNerdist have no idea who I am, either, but to be clear, that's never been my goal. Getting more books written - getting better books written - and coming to depend upon my personal creations and the results that come from them, and shifting my world into a much more artistically production-heavy one.... those are my goals, professionally speaking.
And at the end of the day, I can live with that.