Here’s the thing—I can’t figure out what all of you supposedly “social media savvy” authors are up to on Twitter. I get the thing about trying to get lots of followers, and that one of the ways to do that is to retweet stuff by @JoeBlowAuthor so that all of Joe Blow’s followers will follow you…And I’m cool with that “strategy.”
However, the reason you want more people to follow you is the hope that they will keep following you, and learn to enjoy your witty and insightful comment-ettes (that’s comments of less than 140 characters) and mini-reviews and eventually give a rat’s ass what you have written, and even, maybe, someday, click to see more about—and maybe even buy—your books! So…If that is the aim, then why do you insist on retweeting every single “Buy my Book” and “My book’s only .99 today!” tweets that comes across your Twittering device?
I mean, if you want me to consider you a person who thinks, makes choices, discerns, and actually has an opinion about contemporary books and authors, then why retweet a plug about @JoeBlowAuthor’s latest book-of-the-minute just because he tweeted it to the Twitter-verse?
Here’s a potentially revolutionary idea: why not restrain your retweeting a bit, and only retweet notices about books you have read and enjoyed, or plugs by authors you enjoy reading, or at least, by people you have respect for as writers? Then I, and your other followers, would get to know a bit about what you like (because, seriously, I know you don’t like all that, um, stuff you tweet about).
Getting to know what books and authors you like would lead to my getting to know you a little bit as a person, not just a social media cyBorg (you know, “resistance is futile”). And that knowledge could lead to my thinking “Jeez, that @JaneDoeAuthor sure likes a lot of the same books that I like, or at least the same sort of books…Tweet by tweet, I’m finding her to be one savvy and perceptive gal…I think I’ll take a sec and check out her books.” Click.
I know this rant makes me sound like a grumpy anti-Twitter or anti-social media crank, and trust me, I’m not. I just think that social media should be implemented by all of us writers and editors for the social part, not the media part. Because you’re not a news outlet, you don’t have to try to plug whatever crap your sponsors are currently churning out. This isn’t your job, after all. It’s supposed to be fun. So, let your true colors show, and, please, tweet me something about a book you read, and liked.
–Jennifer Silva Redmond