Saturday, 28 January 2012

Twitter Adventures (or how not to network)

So, everyone has been telling me to get on Twitter. My daughters, friends, well wishers --- those who would like “Gaia’s Children” to be as successful as Harry Potter. After a lot of procrastination, I decided to swallow the bullet. So, Twitter fans, I’m there with the pompous sounding ID of @paulauthor. (I refuse to use Kieniewicz as only Poles know how to spell it.)

A week on Twitter has sobered me to the realities of social networking. It’s not as if I haven’t read and taken to heart good advice on how to attract followers. There’s a ton of it out there but like reading about driving a car and actually doing it --- well things don’t quite go as expected.

What’s my purpose --- it’s to connect with people who read science fiction, who may appreciate a book review, recommendations on interesting books, who may even want to sample “Gaia’s Children”. Plus I want to get closer to the zeitgeist and find out what people are reading and what they’re thinking about.

After choosing an ID, and building a profile that I though might not be too offensive, I started following people. Twitter is a time commitment. You can spend an hour on it and find you’ve barely moved from home base. Using various search engines I quickly found science fiction fans. Most are science fiction writers, publishers and editors. Where are normal people who don't write, but love to read?

Perhaps the readers don’t always list “science fiction” in their profiles. To find them I searched through tweets that contained the name of one of my favourite authors (Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Philip K Dick etc.) I did find a few SF readers that way, though I was never sure if the tweet I latched onto was a one-off. After hours of searching I found 65 people I wanted to follow.

I started tweeting --- about interesting books, book reviews,science fiction small news and so on. Also retweeted some tweets and replied to a few. I never mentioned "Gaia's Children" as I didn't want to appear to be selling a product. My followers began to grow. I now have 6. Of those, four are women who are promoting porn sites. Maybe the tagword "fantasy" threw them off? The two others are people I'm glad to connect with. I'll find out soon whether my future followers will maintain the same ratio of 2 porn-site followers to 1 SF reader.

I have a lot to learn about how Twitter works.

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