Monday, March 16, 2009

If I Twitter, My Head Will Explode



I won't Twitter. No, I won't! I Twittered for about a month last fall and it nearly drove me mad. Nearly all of my writer friends Twitter regularly as part of the online professional author package that includes a blog or group blog, myspace, Facebook, and a website. And I admire every single one of them. But I can't do it.

Have I mentioned that I'm highly distractible? (See my blog description, above) For someone like me who needs a lot of structure, Twitter is like digital meth. There's too much going on, too much information and way, way too much psychic noise. As a writer, I'm curious. I want to follow conversations and read odd news and know what people are doing. But I discovered that I was spending way too much time reading other people's links and watching videos and trying to think of witty ripostes that would excite witty responses. Twitter feels like an enormous stage to me--a stage where everyone is trying to grab the same spotlight. *sigh* It's exhausting.

Twitter is the latest and greatest marketing tool available on the web. All you have to do is make your pitch in 140 (or fewer) characters. I just did a Google search for "Twitter Marketing Tool" and came up with 24,000,000 page responses. 24 million. To improve on its immediacy, one would have to have diodes hooked up to readers' brains to decode electrical impulses. And, best of all, it's free. Who can argue with that?

The instantaneous nature of Twitter makes amazing things possible: lost things, and lost people found, sobriety maintained, marriages proposed. Can't argue with that, either.

There are a million reasons I should Twitter, given my occupation. Book promotion dollars are hard to come by, and it's important--especially for mid-list authors--to work hard to establish name recognition. But I'm beginning to wonder if writing more and better books wouldn't be a more useful and productive thing for me to do--personally as well as professionally.

There are times, though, when I feel a little left out. Twitter is a massive party, and I've been known to be a bit of a party girl in my life. I tell myself that I could probably just Tweet once or twice a day. All it would take is a rigid re-structuring of my woefully unstructured day and the discipline to turn off Twitter when I was writing--or updating Facebook, or trying to remember how to format my myspace profile. I'm sure I could do it!

I like being accessible to readers and friends, but the truth is that Twitter is one place I can't go. I do check my email several times a day, and my myspace and Facebook messages go straight to my email account.

If you have a burning desire to know what I'm up to, feel free to drop me a line and I'll respond just as soon as I'm able...

just had protag chew off own arm...too much? need decaf now!

hanging at delta gate. woman w/ chihuahua in heat wants priority boardg. help me pls.

sad, strange http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWg2vLEyRZc

home from gym. lunch now--who's in?!

More and better books. That's the thing.

Do you Twitter?

11 comments:

laughingwolf said...

i signed up on twit... uh, twitter... and never went back to make a single post

...did i thank you for the book?

it's at the top of my reading pile, just waiting for eyes to heal a bit more from muscle surgery two weeks ago friday

Mary-Frances said...

Hey Laura,
Well you know I twitter and we miss you! It's funny because this has been a big topic of conversation on blogs lately. Not twitter in particular but social media for writers in general.

I'm a firm believer in people doing what works for them. You are completely accessible through FB and your blog. You give your readers and fellow writers lots of ways to interact with you. So, if twitter doesn't work for you, it doesn't work.

There's nothing worse than doing something out of obligation rather than what you really want to be doing. I always feel that you like having your blog and your posts are always fun or interesting.

Danielle Ferries said...

I don't twitter. I refuse to. Blogspot, Myspace and Facebook are my absolute limit.

Sophie Littlefield said...

hell no. it just *sounds* unforgivably stupid. I could never forgive myself..."tweeting"? for the love of pete!

Tia Nevitt said...

I, too, have pulled back on my tweeting. Right now, I only tweet the URLs of my blog posts.

My first week I attempted to follow conversations. Then I realized what a huge time-suck it was.

Laura Benedict said...

My wolfish friend--Yes, you did. Hope you heal quickly and well!

Mary-Frances--I do miss everyone, too. But fortunately most are on Facebook as well. You do a really great job balancing and your new blog/site is wonderful!

Danielle--We should have a club!

Sophie--Please, honey. You need to tell us how you really feel! Can't wait for your book--August, is it? And you interviewed Charlie Huston? I'm so jealous! xo

Tia--You're so right. I bet you get a lot of hits from the URL posts, though.

marni said...

I don't twitter...and, because I have that internet-instant-gratification type of addictive personality, I won't.

I'm with you on this one...spend time writing more books. :)

Marni

Laura Benedict said...

Hi, Marni--So thrilled that you're here! I'm typing as fast as I can!!

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey beautiful Laura,

I've only twittered a bit. I think that technology is great, but also a little scary. I have this fond memory of arriving in Denton the summer before I went to college and seeing two hippie guys sitting on the steps of a pizza place doing absolutely nothing, looking totally happy to be exactly where they were. It stayed in my mind all these years and I don't think you'd have that now with cell phones, texting, blackberries, etc. Don't get me wrong -- I don't want to start using my rotary phone again (yes, I have a working one), but I miss being in the moment without distraction sometimes. That said, I also love being able to communicate quickly. A mixed bag for sure!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I'm with you Laura! (As usual...)

xoox Hank

paris parfait said...

No I do not Twitter. Who has the time? And why is anybody interested in the mundane details of my day? Isn't that just too much information and not enough privacy? I wrote a piece about this very subject this week, which had some interesting responses.