The Secret to Twitter That Can’t Be Taught

Christina Katz

Christina Katz

I’ve found Twitter—and many aspects of social media—somewhat tricky to teach.

Why? Here are 3 reasons to start:

  1. Using social media is mostly about being YOU, finding your voice, and finding the right audience (those inclined to listen).
  2. Your strategy, motivation, or purpose will be different—and it will change—depending on where you’re at in your career. That means I can’t teach you by explaining what I do; my strategy cannot be your strategy.
  3. Whenever you set out to use social media as a means to an end (e.g., selling books), that tends to ensure you won’t attain your end. It’s a very Zen process that doesn’t necessarily reward those who “try” the hardest.
That’s why I love this interview with author Christina Katz about using Twitter. Here are a few wonderful snippets:

 

I’m not sure that people like to hear that the tools can become intuitive if you use them enough or that you are actually allowed to take a break because folks often approach the tools as marketing channels or bullhorns. But social media tools are really much more fun and intuitive if you use them for social artistry rather than if you spend all your energy trying to get followers or trying to get folks to buy your stuff. 

 

My experience of using online tools is that you are basically plugging in and expanding your sensibilities the same as when you walk into any room. Writers should think of all of the online tools as an extension of their own nervous system. If you walk into a room, you would get an immediate intuitive sense of the environment. The same is true of Twitter or any online environment. When you connect into to theses contexts, you are not acquiring billboard space. You are entering a context, an environment. Don’t over-think how you are going to act. Just do what you would do if you were entering any new room. After a while, you will become “a regular” and people will look forward to seeing you when you show up.

 
 

P.S. I’m thinking of Christina in particular today because I’m headed off to speak at the Willamette Writers Conference, where Christina and I first met! If you’re at Willamette, I hope you’ll say hello.

 

Posted in Marketing & Promotion, Social Media.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

Join the conversation

19 Comments on "The Secret to Twitter That Can’t Be Taught"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Marc Mattaliano
Absolutely!  This is such a great post! My “career” in self-publishing feels a bit rocky so far.  I’ve been writing since I was little and after losing my job two years ago, decided to work on a piece I’d started.  Finished it, edited the crap out of it and now The Demihuman Archives is available.  Thing is, I have a bunch of copies in my car and since the cover is extremely amateur looking, I’ve lost much of my motivation to promote it outright.  However, I’m not giving up my quest for fame and fortune. When I started getting involved… Read more »
Anonymous

Aw, shucks. Thanks for the shout-out. Willamette Writers is a great conference and always so much fun. Enjoy!

Robert

Love this, Jane. Been on Twitter several months now and I’m finding Christina’s statements to be true. It’s also interesting how different it is from Facebook. On Facebook, I “know” everyone to a certain extent. On Twitter, I probably only know about 10% of my followers. Something I always keep in mind. 

Marilyn

 Just do what you would do if you were entering any new room. After a while, you will become “a regular” and people will look forward to seeing you when you show up.

I like this thought – personality means so much more than strategy – life should be fun, interactive, not regimental, statistical, or boring.

Marli

You nailed this!  As a newly initiate to twitter, it feels exactly like stepping into a room full of people you’ve never met. 

What I’ve found is some great conversations, and some really helpful, considerate people.  And, I had no idea it would be this much fun.  Thanks for a great post.

Erika Robuck

Well stated! Thanks.

trackback
Week Links | Journeys in Steam
C. Lee McKenzie

Thanks for this post. It’s something I’ve “known” since I started using social media to promote my books. It’s been a lot of work to learn to learn the technical stuff, but it identifying the personalities at the other end of Twitter, or those blogs, fb, goodreads . . .  whatever happened immediately. The written word is a powerful tool, even when it’s reduced to 140 characters; maybe because of that!

C. Lee McKenzie

Thanks for this post. It’s something I’ve “known” since I started using social media to promote my books. It’s been a lot of work to learn to learn the technical stuff, but it identifying the personalities at the other end of Twitter, or those blogs, fb, goodreads . . .  whatever happened immediately. The written word is a powerful tool, even when it’s reduced to 140 characters; maybe because of that!

trackback

[…] The Secret to Twitter That Can’t Be Taught. Inspired by Christina Katz. […]

trackback

[…] The Secret To Twitter That Can’t Be Taught (Jane’s post) […]

trackback

[…] The Secret to Twitter That Can’t Be Taught […]