Almost three months ago (to the day), I deleted my two personal Twitter accounts, and I offered my rationale here. Yet, here I am, with a new Twitter account @plainswriter. What gives?
I don’t think my attitude has shifted much from what I shared in that post, but I realize the benefits of using Twitter, and for me as a writer, one reason for using Twitter is a way to promote my writing (whether posts on my website here or publications in magazines, journals, and/or books). I feel uncomfortable with the word “promotion,” but I also know that a writer wants (and needs) readers if the writer wishes to communicate to someone besides him or herself. I hope to broaden my audience over time. (There, I wrote it. Whew.)
My second reason for using Twitter (in terms of composing tweets) is as a way to encourage other writers and what they’re doing. A friend of mind said a good rule of thumb is for every post/tweet about your own work, you should post/tweet about three other people’s work. I’ll admit that’s a mindset that counters my disposition, but I plan to give it a try.
My third reason for using Twitter is to follow more closely my writing friends as well as the publications that I enjoy/admire. (Thanks for the “lists,” feature!) I will follow my other interests, too. Here’s my official description on Twitter: “Writer. Reader. Runner. Musician. Professor. Editor. Husband. Father. Christ-Follower.”
Fourth, I’m looking at Tweets as more of a challenge. Offer substance (yes, substance) in those 140 characters. I welcome a fun writing challenge, whether I impose restrictions/constraints on myself or the form/context dictates them.
Lastly, I’ve made a number of principles/guidelines for myself.
1. I’m not going to obsess about the number of followers.
2. I’m going to be selective about what I tweet, and to that end, keep in mind number 3.
3. I’m going to reflect before I tweet: what is my message? Why I am choosing to share this?
4. If I’m angry or upset, I will not use Twitter as my default mechanism for dealing with it.
5. I want, as much as possible, to encourage my fellow writers, the publications I appreciate, and others whom I follow (i.e., offering words of substance).
There might be others I add to the list, but this is a good starting point for me @plainswriter.