Category Archives: Twitter
I know I’m supposed to be putting up a Twitter Tuesday blog. It hasn’t been the week for blogging for me, though. I have been busy writing — the rough draft of Thorns of Decision is complete, and I am in the process of finding beta readers to help me begin the hard work of shaping it into something actually readable. 🙂
In the meantime, for today and tomorrow (March 13 & 14), Seeds of Discovery is free on Amazon! Grab a copy for your Kindle, or Kindle App on your computer or smartphone.
If you happen to have a different kind of e-reader, please know that Seeds of Discovery is DRM-free, and can be quickly adapted to a different format for free, using a program like Calibre (which is also free). Once you convert it, you can download it onto your Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, or whatever you have. 🙂
If you need help figuring it out, please let me know.
Roots of Insight will be available for sale in all formats sometime in mid-April, and Thorns of Decision will also be on all formats from the first day it’s released, on June 1, 2012.
If you are interested in being a beta reader/early reviewer for Thorns of Decision, please leave a comment or e-mail me! 🙂
I keep meaning to write a post about #wordmongering’s birthday. Until I actually do, I’m going to share some of the other lovely posts I’ve found from the dear friends who travel the #wordmongering path with me.
Most of you may see me #wordmongering on Twitter. This is one of my favorite places to visit and use while I’m writing. Before I found wordmongering, I’d sit there dilly dallying instead of writing. It took me five months to write the first four chapters of my book, and when I found wordmongering, I wrote the last seven chapters in two months! I also used this religiously during NaNoWriMo (not like I didn’t already, though). 😉
The way #wordmongering works: you write from the top of the hour to the half and write like the wind. At the end of the thirty minute sprint you post your word count along with the hashtag, compare and celebrate everyone’s progress. There is only one rule… negativity and the word “only” get left at the door. Sounds harsh? Not at all. Some writers can write close to 2k within the half hour and…
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So, the last time I did a Twitter Tuesdays post, I got several comments and messages from people, both on the blog and off, who, until then had NO IDEA you could do columns and searches with hashtags. And really, if you’re struggling to learn how to use Twitter, or you’re trying to build a platform and still feel like you’re fumbling in the dark, it is kind of life-changing news.
Keep the comments and questions coming, guys — I really would like to be as helpful as I can in my limited scope here. 🙂
Again, my posts now for the most part presume that you are using TweetDeck (if you’re not using TweetDeck or another app that you like, such as HootSuite, check out my post on why I recommend using something like TweetDeck.
Another question writers (and others who build platforms on Twitter) have is — “How in the heck do you keep up with your stream?”
I follow over 1100 people. I don’t keep up with everything in the stream every day. I do try to browse through the full stream a couple of times a day to look for interesting new things, but it’s definitely the part of Twitter I neglect the most. Once I find the interesting stuff, I use columns, hashtags, and lists to help me keep up with the rest.
I’ve already discussed these a little bit. A hashtag is a little way of categorizing things on Twitter so that others can find it. One really important thing to know about hashtags, is that if you include one in your tweet, ANYONE who searches that hashtag can see your tweet, even if they’re not (already!) following you. Using hashtags, therefore, can make your tweets that much more visible and powerful (if done correctly!)
For example. I’ve already told you that #wordmongering is one of my very favorite hashtags. I LOOOVE these people, and am thankful everyday for the two awesome people who created it, and got it going. So I have #wordmongering saved as a column in my TweetDeck. I created the column by clicking the little + sign in the upper-left corner. When the search bar popped up, I typed #wordmongering, and then, like magic, I had a whole column filled with #wordmongering tweets!
Now, whenever someone tweets anything with the #wordmongering hashtag, I see it, whether I follow them or not. (And usually, if they like #wordmongering, I follow them!)
This same technique works with any hashtag you see someone tweet. If you see someone in your stream type a hashtag you’re unfamiliar with, but it looks interesting, ASK! Include the hashtag when you ask, too, so you might form a quick connection with someone new. It might look like this:
You: So @personIfollow, what is #wordmongering?
Someone new: Oooh! #wordmongering is a great group of folks who write for 30 minutes at the top of each hour, then post word counts and cheer each other on!
Person you follow: Want to join?
And the next thing you know, you’ve made some new friends and become a bigger part of the Twitter community.
Did you KNOW people CHAT using hashtags?
It’s true. Because of the nature of being able to search using hashtags, oftentimes, people use particular hashtags to create chats. These can be REALLY awesome, because they’re like a huge world-wide conference call in which anyone who adds the hashtag to their tweets can participate! The chats can be a bit harder to find, because they usually run on a schedule, but again, if you’re lost ASK!
So again … take a week (or two, I know it was two weeks — I was writing, which is better than blogging! I logged over 10k new words on Thorns of Decision last week. Besides — have you SEEN the new covers?) and practice searching for new hashtags, making columns, and interacting with folks. 🙂
For Writers Especially:
Here are a few more hashtags you might like to try. And PLEASE, if you have others that you love, leave them in the comments.
- #writechat (On Sunday afternoons, particularly)
- #FNTWP (Only on Friday evenings, but check it out!)
A Final Plea …
Once you’ve learned how to harness the power of hashtags, it can be a little tempting to use them gratuitously as a way to get your message across. PLEASE be respectful of hashtag communities and what the “rules” are inside them. DON’T use hashtags to spam. It won’t work, and it will likely get you blocked by people (who might otherwise have liked you and eventually bought your book/product/whatever). For example — #wordmongering is for people who want to WRITE together. Don’t hit them up with BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK #wordmongering. They won’t.
Besides, if you look around long enough, you’ll find plenty of #hashtags that are fine places to
spam er, market … 😉
Happy Sunday everyone! If you’re looking for new and entertaining reads, head on over to Twitter, and search for the hashtag #SampleSunday. You’ll find all kinds of interesting stuff every week. 🙂
Here’s my first February contribution. 🙂 An excerpt from Seeds of Discovery, which is on sale for just 99 cents through Valentine’s Day at Amazon!
Don’t forget, during the month of love, to spread some love to your favorite authors by leaving them reviews on any review site you frequent, especially Amazon, Shelfari, and Goodreads. Authors appreciate every single review, even if it seems like they already have many.
When she reached Maggie’s house that afternoon, Zander’s familiar truck was sitting next to the curb. When she pulled up behind it to park, she could see the outline of Zander’s head through the rear window; he must have arrived just before her. She pulled her keys out of the ignition and then hesitated, suddenly nervous about seeing him. She took an unnecessary minute to check her cell phone for text messages she might have missed. Small words flashed in the corner of the screen, “NO SERVICE.” Quinn sighed. One bad thing about living in a small mountain town was the unreliable cell phone service.
Finally composed, she took a deep breath and reached for the door handle. She nearly jumped out of her skin when the door opened on its own. Zander was standing there, grinning.
“Hey, Quinn,” he said, reaching for her hand to help her climb out.
“Uh, hi, Zander. Thanks.”
“Sure,” Zander smiled cheerfully, but he didn’t start walking to the house. He stood there for a long moment, looking like he wasn’t sure what to say.
The nervousness that Quinn had started feeling in the car was growing.
Finally, Zander spoke.
“I wanted to ask you something.”
“Will you … I mean, would you like … would you like to go to the Valentine dance with me?” he said the last part in a rush, in a hurry to get the words out.
Quinn was stunned. Did she want to go to the Valentine dance? With Zander? Maybe she did. “Um, I can’t dance, you know,” she stalled, trying to regain her composure.
Zander chuckled, “Neither can I. It could still be fun, though.”
“Um, okay…” shoving her hands in her pockets so he wouldn’t see them shaking, she choked out her answer. “Sure.”
She watched Zander’s eyes widen, “You’ll go with me?”
“Yes, I’ll go with you.”
Zander’s face lit up with a smile that did strange things to her insides… She had to work to catch her breath as she walked with him up to the porch.
I have decided to try something new here … a Tuesday series designed to introduce people to Twitter. I’ve come across a number of people in my online life lately who have no idea how to really use Twitter. Either they’ve never checked it out, or they’ve signed up, and now a huge stream of tweets is passing them by, and they have no idea how to interact with it. 🙂
There are, of course, lots of good Twitter resources on the web, and I will try to point you to some more of those, as well, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in, anyway. 🙂
First of all Twitter isn’t for everyone. If you only get on the internet occasionally to look up things, or to check in with your friends and family on Facebook, and you maybe click on a few links from there (like to this blog post, for example), Twitter is likely not for you, and you can skip the rest of this post. My dad has an e-mail address and a Facebook account. I remind him how to log into both on a regular basis. I will not be encouraging him to use Twitter.
If, however, you are a lover of online life, you like to meet new people, you’ve been on chat boards since they were dial-up BBSes, and you have some idea of your way around … Twitter is worth checking out.
If you are a writer, or an artist of any kind, or the owner of a business (large or micro), or anyone needing to build any kind of a platform, Twitter is pretty much a MUST.
Also, if you are a teacher, trying to learn how to increase your knowledge and use of technology in the digital age, and you don’t use Twitter, you’re missing out, trust me.
Facebook is fantastic for lots of things, but it does not allow you to meet and connect with people you don’t already know. (Well it CAN, but Facebook actually actively discourages this). If you want the opportunity to reach out beyond your third-grade buddies, or your neighbors, and actually interact with NEW people who have the same interests you do, and who like to share their resources … Twitter may not be the only place, but it is an AWESOME one.
Getting Started : The VERY, VERY Basics …
If what I’ve written above has intrigued you (or you’ve been meaning to try out Twitter anyway, and you just haven’t gotten around to it), keep reading.
Step One: Go to twitter.com
You will get a screen that says “New to Twitter? Join today!”
Enter your information. Remember to choose a secure password. 🙂
On page two, you will have a chance to change your information and to choose a username. Your username can be your real name, or any other name you choose. I recommend NOT choosing something terribly obscure, NOT going with a Twitter-generated one that has lots of extra numbers or letters, and KEEPING IT SHORT. If you are an author, go as close to whatever name you write under as you can. You can also choose a name that is related to your business.
Click the big, yellow “Create My Account” button! 🙂
Twitter will then automatically take you through a little tutorial.
Step Two: Following
This is the first place that Twitter is DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT than Facebook (and different than real life, too). On Facebook, friending people you don’t know is discouraged. In real life, “following” strangers is also bad news. On Twitter, though, following people is the whole point.
Here, you can choose to follow people you know, people you don’t know, corporations, rock stars, authors, WHOEVER. Following is good. Start following people. Just click the “follow” on the little list that Twitter has given you on this page.
At the top of their list of suggestions, there’s also a little box. You can type whatever you want into that box. If you type @bputtroff, you can follow me. If you type Lady Gaga, you can follow her. Besides people, you can type things you’re interested in. If you type “writing,” then a bunch of ideas in that category will pop up. Follow some of them. You can also click, “teaching,” or “football” or “crafts” or “dogs” or WHATEVER YOU WANT.
Once you have followed at least five people/things, you can click NEXT.
One word of caution. There are spammers on Twitter, lots of them. I have a general rule. I don’t follow people with lots of numbers in their names, and I don’t follow people who feature body parts other than their faces in their profile picture. Unless you’re following a business showing their logo, it’s a good idea to stick to following people who show real pictures in their profiles that feature faces. “No face, No follow.” You can adjust this rule as you get to know Twitter and how it works for you.
Once you’ve chosen your first five, Twitter will show you a list of categories, so you can pick even MORE people to follow, based on their categories. I suggest either scrolling down to the category Twitter, or typing it in the search box, and following a few accounts that tweet tips. I learned a lot from those when I was a newbie. Actually following @twitter, @safety, and @support are good ideas.
After THAT, Twitter will help you look through your contacts. You can choose to give Twitter access to your e-mail and Facebook accounts to follow people you know, or you can skip that part by typing something else in the search box.
Once you’ve followed 15 people, Twitter will let you loose on a page showing the tweets of the people/accounts you’ve already followed, and it will ask you to confirm your e-mail address.
Take the next week to just play around with it and check it out. Next Tuesday, I’ll be back with some tips on going further with Twitter. 🙂
Book Three update:
I have been hard at work writing Book Three in the Dusk Gate Chronicles, and this book even has a working title! Right now, it’s Thorns of Decision. The writing has been going very well this month, and the book is currently over 30k words long — about 120 pages.
So, after hours and hours of reading blog posts, following people on Twitter, participating in #blogchat, and who knows what else (when I should be unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, and doing laundry), I’ve decided to try transferring my blog to WordPress. Who knows if I’ll keep the change, but there are things about the blog on my Homestead site that I am just not loving – the sharing and following capabilities are just not there. And as I’m paying for the hosting there… well. I have to try new things before I really know what I’m doing, I guess.
Anyway, I love all of the people who have been reading my blog. Let me know what you think of the change. I do take what you guys think seriously! Some of you have been at this a lot longer than I have. 🙂
Crap! Now I have that ridiculous song stuck in my head… not sure I’ll ever forgive Dan for introducing me to that one. 🙂