Friday, August 5, 2011

The Twitter Thing

This weekend I will have been tweeting for two months, and in only eight weeks my life has been completely revolutionised, online and off. Twitter hasn’t only changed the way I now spend my day; the connection with people who have similar interests has given me a different, fresh look at how I approach my work.

The information one can gather is staggering and the generosity of the people sharing it stunned me during my first days exploring how the world of Twitter worked.

This exploring (or initially a lack of it) produced a real howler during my very first weekend when, without understanding how it all worked, I rushed in and looked up people whose work I admired to see if they tweeted, and was thrilled to find that some of them did.

Not only did they tweet a lot, they gave a fascinating insight into their lives, because they didn’t limit tweets to life as a writer, or a successful agent, or a publisher. I loved hearing what someone might be cooking after a long day, or what the sunset was like in their part of the world. I longed to join in and let them know how my day was going too.

So, without wasting any time, going straight to the top, I flew a tweet off to mega agent Carole Blake, whose book, From Pitch to Publication, is a bible to everyone who wants to write and be published. My tweet was simple; follow me please? Ha! With great tact she responded, explaining that ‘Twitter doesn’t work like that, you have to be interesting first, I’m afraid.’

Far from crawling away with a big red face and forgetting about tweeting, I upped the anti and spent hours of each day during that first week in front of the screen, becoming more and more astonished at the many dynamic and talented people who found time to post such interesting things, sometimes sending information all day, while at a conference; gold nuggets of tweets.

Lest it seem like I spend all day still doing this, au contraire. Far from ‘twittering’ away my time, in my case Twitter had acted as a force for movement. It (or rather the dynamic people I follow) has positively kicked me into organising my days and my time in a far more productive way, especially where writing is concerned.

When I read tweets from other writers, especially women, with lives chock full of family life, often with young children, various other commitments, be it the organising of writing groups, contributing to radio shows or doing voluntary work and compared my life here in the hills of Southern France…enough said!

Since one link inevitably leads on to another, Twitter has re-kindled some interests that had been tossed aside, things I had imagined I didn’t have time for anymore. I’ve found fabulous Art sites, stunning vintage clothes & accessories, fabrics & furnishings; in a sense it shook me up to go back and do other creative things as well as writing. Why limit myself?

Most of all, I love the feeling of being part of a larger world, of being linked, however distantly, to so many people, all of whom have their individual & quirky way of looking at the world.

Of course, we cannot possibly hope to read each and every tweet of those we are following. But, to dip in and out and to feel, as India Knight put it, like one is at a Cocktail Party, able to join in or stand back and observe as one pleases, is for me, one of the best additions and marvellous pleasures of life in the 21st century.


  1. Exactly how Twitter should be treated. Good post.

  2. Thank you Lesley. Great to read such a response - I'm still a newbie to Twitter & loving it!

  3. An excellent read Jane. I joined Twitter a few days ago and I am still trying to find my way around it, but must be careful it doesn't take over!



  4. Thank you. I am still a novice with a capital N...but loving meeting all the new people with similar interests...I've seen your Home Exchange site - excellent!

  5. I think this is a great post - and I hope you won't mind if I copy and paste it into a writers' forum I belong to. Quite a few members are just considering making the giant leap into Twitter - and I think this would reassure them it's not really a big scarey monster!

  6. Gilly I am truly delighted you thought this worth adding to your group's reading...I am the ONLY member of my writing group to use Twitter & almost all other contacts are still on FB..they simply will not dip that toe in. So, a huge Thank You!