For a long time I steered clear of Twitter, openly spoofing it whenever the opportunity came up, and never missed a chance to call Twitter “Twaddle.” It all seemed so vain to me. Why communicate 1 sentence at a time (or technically 140 characters)? Then, mainly in an effort to get some sales for my two books, I ended up starting my own Twitter account. This seems like the time where you might expect me to say “Then I learned how great Twitter really is!” Wrong.
Originally when I started using Twitter, I did find that I liked it. At the time, I mostly followed celebrities, and found it pretty enjoyable to read the unabashedly liberal comments by Alec Baldwin and the more heartfelt tweets by Mia Farrow. What ruined Twitter for me was when I set to work promoting my books.
First, I read that the best way to gain followers was to follow everyone who follows me. Big mistake. Today I have about 750 followers, and I follow just about everyone. My rule of thumb is that I won’t follow anyone who’s not wearing a shirt in their profile pic, and that has served me well. The problem is, now I almost never see tweets from celebrities I admire. Instead, after giving the twitter timeline a cursory glance, just about everything I see is shameless self-promotion. Everybody’s jumping at the chance to tell strangers how great they really are in 140 characters. Now I very rarely read anything on twitter.
When I started using twitter, what thrilled me was how quick it was. Instead of spending half an hour to an hour writing a blog post to hopefully call attention to my books, I could spend 15 to 30 seconds writing up a tweet. But then came the banality of twitter. To really use twitter, you have to learn an awful lot of twitter jargon, such as what in the world #FF means (and it’s not Fantastic Four) or that “plz” means please and not pills. To gain followers, you have to occasionally utilize trending topics, which run the gamut from #beliebers to #SelenaGomez to #ILoveWalgreens.
After a while, twitter went from being time-saving to a waste of time. There was a while when everyday I had to follow new people, then unfollow people who weren’t following me, and had to use twitter programs that function like a singles meet and greet to find new followers. I wasted way too much time doing this, and honestly I’m pretty ashamed about it.
I then started using Twitter to promote my sites as well. I have an awful lot of sites right now. I have 2 wordpress blogs, 4 facebook sites, a Goodreads account, a Flickr gallery, a tumblr profile, and a BookDaily page. Throughout the day, I’ll put up links to those various sites on Twitter, and hope people check them out. This is hardly effective. My Flickr account is the only thing that’s really getting views. Even my two blogs don’t get much views daily, and the amount has more or less plateaued for the last few months.
Was using twitter worth it? Considering I started it to sell books, I’ll go ahead and say no. My books are still selling poorly, and out of the few sales I’ve made, I don’t know if any were through twitter.
I did have one funny moment while using twitter. One day, while in a cynical mood, I tweeted “If you’re looking for a laugh check out Cowboy Troy. I can’t believe hick-hop exists. Awful song.” To my surprise, Cowboy Troy tweeted back saying “THX” which I’m guessing means thanks and isn’t a nod to the George Lucas cult classic THX 1138. I was later contacted via twitter by one of Cowboy Troy’s fans, and, feeling the heat, quickly issued an apology. Cowboy Troy later replied no apology was necessary. So I guess this goes to show that Cowboy Troy is a much cooler dude than I gave him credit for.
So what now? Will I stop using twitter? I wish I could. It took me so long to gain 750 followers that it’d be a mistake to let it all go now. I do resolve however to use it less. I’ve found lately I’ve really gained nothing from looking at most people’s tweets. I do however have a few friends through twitter who share info and witty comments occasionally, and I guess that’s the most I can now expect from twitter.
—-If you want to help me out, please just read my books. I’m tired of jumping through all these hoops. I wish I had the cash to hire someone to do all the marketing for me. My books are called The Madness of Art Short Stories and A Rapturous Occasion, and my name is Corey Pung.
If, after reading this whole angry polemic you still want to follow me on twitter, feel free to do so, although to be honest I probably won’t read anything you write.