Talk Me Down: I’m on the Twitter Fence.

Thank you to everyone for their comments, advice, and direction.  I’ve made my Twitter decision–you can see if I’m going to ‘drink the Kool-Aid’ or not HERE.

Last fall, I started hearing some noise about Twitter; I ignored the hype and continued my little life blog, thinking nothing of it.  Fast forward to March 2009 and my new book blog:  Twitter is all the rage over here in book-blogging land!

To be honest, I briefly considered joining Twitter after Christmas to keep up with my life blog buddies, but it seemed too absurd.  My blog was enough of a time suckage; I don’t have Facebook for that very reason. 

With my introduction to book blogging, Twitter seems to be an invaluable tool–I miss many discussions and buzz because I don’t ‘tweet’ or ‘follow’.  (I don’t even understand the lingo!!!!)

Could you please take a mo’ and argue FOR or AGAINST Twitter?  Do you use it?  How does it help or detract from your book blogging?  Why do so many book bloggers love it?  Will joining improve my book awareness or something? 

I’m on the Twitter fence and have to jump one way or the other.

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41 responses to “Talk Me Down: I’m on the Twitter Fence.

  1. I don’t have any interest in Twitter. What fence?

    • the proverbial fence…like which decision should i make. hhahaha. why do i feel like the majority of book bloggers are Twitter-fans? am i imagining it?

      nat @ BLaS
      (didn’t feel like logging out of my life blog account)

      ps. feel free to DROP BY my life blog…i have a fun ‘as seen on tv’ product giveaway going on. (shameless plug…)

  2. I’ve considered joining Twitter, but no, I don’t think I will. I have Facebook but don’t use it enough. I only have it to be able to stay connected with old friends and family (as I’m half a world away from most of them), if need be. Like if I needed to send someone a message or something. If I used Twitter, I think it would just bother me. With 3 kids and a blog, I’m busy enough as it is. I don’t want to eat my words one day so I won’t say I will never join, but for now I really don’t want to.

  3. I can’t really argue for or against in this case as I haven’t actually joined Twitter (if that is the right lingo!). I think I have more than enough forms of communication in my life at the moment – sometimes I think it is nice not to be so connected.

  4. I’m on twitter but I can’t say it really does anything for me…half the time I don’t even update. I don’t think it’s as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be.

  5. I had a look at twitter but changed my mind. I am already on Facebook and that is enough. I just don’t have time for it between reading and reading other people’s blogs. I would be on the computer permanently.

  6. I honestly can’t quite figure Twitter out. I see one-sided conversations and feel like I’m eavesdropping. It really seemed like I missed something during the Read-A-Thon – so NOW! so active! but I’m really not impressed. Yesterday I tried to update my Twitter that I had a new blog post! but it wouldn’t take (it just sat and spun or whatever it’s called) so I eventually logged off with nothing. Also, I can’t condense enough, ha!

  7. I love Twitter! It’s a great place to network with other bloggers, as well as authors and publishers.

  8. I am staunchly anti-Twitter (in my opinion, there’s a reason why it has the word “twit” included in it…), but realize that I also hate Facebook. I enjoy my blog, but I feel that Twitter is yet more proof that many people feel the need to be connected to others ALL the time, and have the desire to be up on their soapbox ALL of the time. Only problem is, while some people can likely use it just fine, many people have BORING soapboxes. I don’t care if someone’s just returned from the grocery store or if they’ve run out of milk… or even what most people’s plans are for the next 20 minutes. Write a thoughtful post of more than 140 characters and then I might be interested in what you’re saying (by which I use the impersonal “you”)… I guess book bloggers are less likely to tweet about such mundane trivia, yet I still think many of them do. I fear the day people have twitter vlogs, where we can watch them go about their daily lives. To me, Twitter is just taking the old “instant messaging” system public, which is kind of what bugs me. It’s ok to keep some things private and personal! Most people are not so interesting that we need to hear their every thought!

    Phew, rant over! Sorry about that. I just have strong (negative) feelings about Twitter… and Facebook… but I’ll save that rant for another day! 😉

    • Amen! When I first heard about Twitter, it was to say how cool it was the follow Ashton Kutcher and how he had “just walked downstairs.” Who cares?! When I did look at it (to keep updated on Jen Lancaster’s “Pretty in Plaid tour”), it was extremely confusing. I couldn’t figure out how to read it, and I agree that it’s annoying to read only half a conversation.

      I wasn’t going to join Facebook either, but one of my groups was using it to communicate, and I was assured it is not like mySpace, so I tried it out. And I am hooked. Now *that’s* annoying. 😉

  9. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    I’m on Twitter @bookladysblog, and I feel consistently ambivalent about it. I don’t want to be hyperconnected, but I don’t want to miss out on the major happenings. I wasn’t using it much when the only computer in my house was upstairs in the office, away from the rest of the action, but I just wireless, so now I can Tweet from my couch, with hubby sitting next to me, and it works better. I use it sparingly, but it can be nice.

    Why not try it out and strike a balance that works for you?

  10. I’m out there in Twitterland, but I find that I don’t take the time to read the tweets. I have my blog autofeeding into it, so I “tweet” that way. I don’t think that I like it much either. I haven’t run across a single tweet that was so great that it made it all worth it. I haven’t quit using it, I’m just not sure that I’m doing it right so that I get any benefit out of it.

    Sorry, probably not much help, huh?

  11. I’m trying to figure twitter out. Trying really really hard. But like two people read my twitter, so it’s a little weird at the moment. I think it just takes a while to build twitter relationships.

  12. Okay, so, I’m pretty much against social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for personal use. However, I find Twitter really useful when it comes to my blog and communicating with fellow bloggers. Personally, I don’t understand why someone would want to put up random bits of info about themselves, but I do get why someone would want to use the site for networking. And, remember, you can always get rid of it or stop using it if you hate it (which is what I did with Facebook).

  13. Being on Twitter and Facebook (tossing that in there too) has upped my traffic quite a bit. I post all of my reviews on Twitter and FB and it hits readers that would not have normally checked me out. Some have stuck.

    Publishers also offer freebies once in awhile which is nice if it happens to be a book you have your eye on. I don’t feel that Twitter is as much of a time suck as FB. It takes very little effort.

    That’s my 2 cents 🙂

  14. I am the sort of person who refuses to Be Connected 24/7. I think there’s a cachet to being unavailable sometimes. I’ve tried various social media. Dumped MySpace when certain people at work began stalking me. Tried Facebook, scratched my head, and deleted my account. I always said I wouldn’t touch Twitter with a barge pole. I shouldn’t’ve said that. I follow about 300 Tweeters–book bloggers, news agencies, publishers, authors. I get late-breaking news almost as fast as it happens. I can learn about new books being published. I can find out what the hot topics are amongst my fellow bloggers. I can get to know favorite authors. I tied my RSS feed to my Twitter account and get more traffic to my blog. I’ve even won a book, and I know other bloggers who’ve won Kindles, gift cards, DVDs, etc.

    Of the 300 people I follow, I have yet to see any of them tweet that they’re going to the grocery store for any other reason that to let friends know that they won’t be answering tweets.

    I was fascinated with Twitter for about a week. That was quite a while ago, and it’s been a long time since I’ve read every tweet that shows up on my screen. I don’t always have the program running. Twitter isn’t time suckage unless you allow it to be time suckage. If you want to learn about the book industry and what’s going on in the book blogging community, Twitter is one of the best resources available. Like everything else, it has a learning curve, and you have to be able to tell it who’s boss.

  15. I sat on the twitter fence for almost a year. When I took my first flight I hated it. In fact I still hate it. I think twitter is kind of dumb HOWEVER it has been invaluable and I have a learned a few things too. So I say fly twitter bird fly just set yourself some limits.

  16. Twitter is where I share all the AWESOME I come across. Before Twitter, I had considered putting up a page o’ awesome on TTi so that I could share every hilarious video or phenomenal article that I thought would the world a better place.

    Twitter does it better AND you don’t have to respond to anyone if you don’t feel like it. It is a stream of information and you can just dip in and take what you like from it.

  17. I don’t feel like I have enough time for MICROblogging in between blogging, reading actual books so I can be a relevant librarian, and having a life outside of reading as many actual books as I can cram into any period of time.
    Others are obviously able to successfully block out time but I am not that talented, obviously.

  18. There have been some very good book-blog-related discussions on Twitter lately – but then they inspired blog posts on the topics, so non-Twitterers stayed in the loop. Still, a lot gets started on Twitter these days that DOESN’T make it all the way to the blogs, so it’s one more way to be informed.

    I’ve been on Twitter for about a year and blow hot and cold with it, but it’s mostly been worthwhile. I agree with a lot of what Ti and Cathy said in their comments here.

    I think you should try it out for yourself, though.

  19. I have a twitter account, and I go on sometimes, but not too often. I can’t access it from work and I have found that a lot of the best discussions take place during the day. I don’t think Twitter is a bad thing, in fact it’s kind of fun, but for now I just play around and occasionally see what people are up to. I don’t think it’s anything revolutionary, though – I personally like facebook a lot better.

  20. I have a twitter account and I cannot for the life of me figure out what to do on there. I get on, tweet, and feel like a fool. Who am I tweeting to? Where does it go? Why am I doing it? So, if you do it and like it, could you explain it to me:)

  21. Drink of the Kool-aid! I enjoy Twitter although it is a time suck. Mostly I follow book people. Lots of publishers are on it. I’ve gotten a few books through using it.

  22. I use Twitter and I view it as a tool that helps me achieve certain goals.

    The thing about it is, you have a choice on what you get out of it. If you only follow fellow book lovers, writers, moms, dads, etc. that is what you will get out of it – points of view, interests, opinions from those who have similar likes and thoughts as you. And through this interaction, you may learn about new things that may not have come your way otherwise.

    Initially, it was something that was used to post 140-bit items about things which many would consider inane and useless.

    But it has grown into something more than that – again, depending on your approach to it, what you want out of it, and how you choose to use it.

    I have sought out fellow book lovers, publishers, writers, hockey fans, photographers and I am connecting to them in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.

    I guess I could go on, but I am not writing this to sway you one way or the other. As I saw so many negatives, I wanted to offer a positive as I think all sides should be heard.

    I agree with Chris, it can be a time suck. But so far, I have found that what I’ve gotten from it outweighs that negative aspect of the service.

    Just my humble opinion. If you ever decide to join, this is where you’ll find me:

    http://twitter.com/BiblioBrat

  23. I love Twitter because I feel like people who I knew through blogs are now friends I talk to everyday…it sort of catches all the little things that never make it onto the blogs.

    I think book bloggers like it because the book community as a whole is very vibrant and active. I’ve connected with favorite authors, etc, who might never visit my blog but will respond to my tweets.

  24. Nat, I love you, you know that, but I can’t yet again try to defend Twitter. I just can’t. Not because I don’t think it needs defending, but because all I do is defend it against people who don’t use it. WHY? Why do people who don’t use it insist that it’s dumb? Why do people who use it one time say they “don’t get it”? Why do people insist that Twitter is used to tell others what you had for breakfast?

    Twitter is best used as an information exchange. Frankly, I’m on the computer a LOT, so being on Twitter is no big deal. I can throw questions out there and have them answered, I can point people to blog posts I think are interesting, I can find links that other people point to that really help expand my world. I can connect with people on a daily basis who I wouldn’t normally be able to connect with: authors, publishers, publicists, and others in the book world.

    I guess I did what I said I wouldn’t: I defended Twitter. I would say, if you’re on the fence, try it for 30 days. If you don’t like it, you can get a full refund. But follow bloggers and publicists (I’ll give you 50 people you could follow right away!) and authors and see what kind of information you start receiving. Use it like it’s meant to be used and I would bet money you’ll like it.

  25. I enjoy Twitter. I have had fun conversations and meaningful conversations with bloggers I read and others I didn’t know of. I like getting the almost personal invitation to come and read someone’s blog much more than the overview from the RSS feed. I also like the little throwaway chats and discussions that are somehow less formal than blog comments.

    The biggest hurdle in twitter is taking the step to engage with someone else, but if you were to only follow book bloggers you know to begin with, I’m sure you would find it easy.

    Oh – and tweetdeck – hands down makes it easiest to use.

  26. Amen to what Trish said.

    Meredith and I are on Twitter (@thinkthinkers) and have found it a great way of keeping our finger on the pulse of what is happening in the book blogging world.

    It’s also been a great way of promoting our own blog and blog posts or articles written by others that we have particularly enjoyed.

    There is a lot of junk out there – people who tweet about that cute little noise that their baby just made. We just don’t follow those people, just like I don’t click on every link of baby photos from people on Facebook.

    My advice? Give it a go. Decide what you want from it (blog networking, social, friendship) and choose who you follow based on that. Don’t be afraid to ‘unfollow’ someone whose posts annoy you.

    I love Hayden’s comment about just dipping in and out when you feel like it. I use Tweetdeck to divide those I am following up into groups (locals, book bloggers, etc) and can scan the tweets of groups that particularly interest me in more detail and just glance over the others.

    To shamelessly plagerise a T-shirt slogan: Come across to the dark side Natalie – we have cookies!

  27. I LOVE twitter. I agree with everything that Trish said. One nice thing is that I don’t have twitter on the “go” meaning I’m not connected 24/7. Only when I’m at home and only when I’m on the computer already. There is a fine art to balance with everything and twitter is one of them.

    Twitter is a FANTASTIC way to connect with other book lovers, authors, publishers, publicists, and book industry folk. Of course, not everybody has the desire to connect in that way but to those that do, I can’t think of how they can do that any other way.

    I honestly wondered what I did before Twitter came along. Find an interesting post that you’d love a publicists opinion on? Chances are that you’d never email them, but you can get feedback via Twitter. Need feedback on your blog? You’ll get it on Twitter. Your favorite author venting about their last editing round? You can share in the process via Twitter.

    Twitter is one of those things that I use to share the information that I find throughout the day. Link love. If I find a blog post that is interesting then I can tweet about it. I know I won’t blog about it but I can share it more quickly and easily via Twitter.

    The conversations that we have had with booksellers, publishers, and publicists, have in my opinion, been invaluable. I can’t think of anywhere else where we could literally hash out hot topics together.

    I’d like to attribute the entire reason I’m going to BEA to be on the book blogging panel is because of Twitter. And also that I now have an “in-store” relationship with two of my local bookstores.

    And it’s nice to connect on a different level with the bloggers that you are already friends with.

    Yes, some people just don’t get it. But I think they need to jump in with both feet for at least a couple of weeks to see what it’s all about. Maybe it’s for them and maybe it’s not.

  28. I was hesitant and signed up figuring I’d give it a few days and then forget about it.

    But then I found a bunch of book bloggers and now it’s a daily conversation that I enjoy.

  29. DO IT!

    All the cool kids are doing it.

  30. I’m an author who fought, then tried it and liked it. Bunches. Great info. Laughter. Community. Book buzz. Yippy!

  31. I too am considering Twitter as I do not feel that my daily mundane-ity warrants full-blown WP posts of the “@ Kohl’s: I’m so glad my parents and I never fought like that.” genre.
    On lunch, I pulled up twitter, but didn’t have the twits to do it.

  32. I’m not on Twitter, not because I have anything against it, but just because I feel connected enough with my blog. 😀 I’d rather spent my limited computer time writing up posts and commenting on other people’s blogs. If I started Twitter too, I feel like I wouldn’t get any books read!

  33. To be honest, Twitter does help you get to know other bloggers better. But, also, it is definitely time suckage to the extreme. I don’t know how some of these ladies do it. Some seem to be on all-the-time and are in on every discussion. Maybe because I am introverted, but sometimes the whole thing exhausts me! But other times, it is is fun, so all I can say is try it and if you don’t like it, you can stop, you know? If you do get on, let us know how you like it!

  34. So funny! I just started using Twitter today … after hemming and hawing about it. I figure there is no reason not to try so I’m giving it a whirl. I think I shall mostly use it to promote giveaways and perhaps the occasional random thought and perhaps blog updates with small words on what they are about but I can’t think what else I might do with it. If it seems like a waste, I can just quit it. It doesn’t cost anything, right?

  35. Pingback: Rockin’ Twitter. Tweet, tweet! « Book, Line, and Sinker

  36. I finally got back into Twitter this weekend. Getting a netbook was what pushed me off the fence – I don’t feel tied to my computer anymore. I’m also starting to see the value of following a diverse selection of people because I’m finding some very interesting links and discussions as a result.

  37. I’m on Twitter, but don’t have time to hang out as much as I would like. Lately I’ve mostly used it to spread the word about giveaways, postings on my blog, and seeing what the publishers have to say. I’ve gotten into a few conversations, but not many. Keeping up with my own blog and others’ takes up most of my available computer time. I can tell that some people really have a good time on Twitter. I’d use it more often if I could.

  38. P.S. It is a bit of a challenge trying to figure out all the angles of Twitter, but if you stick with it, things fall into place.

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