It took me a while to succumb to the temptation of Twitter. Once I did, I found it enjoyable and very valuable – as a news feed, as a medium to interact with other writers, and to learn about opportunities I could pass on to my Writers Bureau Students (if not make the most of myself). In fact, many of the competitions I list on this blog’s Competitions page turn up originally in my Twitter stream.
Although I find it less useful than I did before (am I the only one who thinks the proportion of marketing and sales tweets, not to mention spammy tweets, has soared in the last year?), I still couldn’t be without it, and have accounts both for this blog (@WritersMistakes) and my main writing work and specialism of food allergies, intolerances and coeliac disease (@HealthJourno).
Over a day of my working week, spread across days, is spent on social media; I now manage a dozen or so Twitter accounts, including the accounts of two clients, so it has become not only an important tool for me to do my various jobs more effectively, but something that I’m paid for to take part in on behalf of others.
Join in! Many of my students are social media avoiders, but I’d urge you all to reconsider, to just give it a go. I strongly believe all aspiring writers should experiment with writing on different subjects and in various genres – you simply don’t know what you might like until you try it – and to some extent the same applies with social media. I won’t go so far as saying it’s a definite mistake to avoid it wholesale, but it could be. It may not be for you, but it may be for you, is the point, and a whole new world could open up. Be patient, dip your toe in, give before expecting to receive, don’t brag, and go easy on the self-promotion. You’ll be fine.
Facebook, I’ve always been a bit more sceptical about. Although I use it for clients and have a page for my professional work, there seems to be less engagement there, and I’ve never fully got to grips with it as working or learning tool – this is perhaps understandable, as it was never really meant to be a medium for business, rather one for personal interaction.
Still, given that this blog has hit a major milestone – a centenary of errors, in case you missed it, so do send gifts of chocolate – it seems appropriate to finally set indifference aside and give the Mistakes Writers Make blog a presence on Facebook too. I hope you stop by occasionally – especially if you’d rather engage there than on Twitter.
But before you shoot off, and while you’re still here, I’d be interested to hear what you like and dislike about Twitter and Facebook. How can we use them more effectively, or make them more useful to all writers? Are their days numbered – and will they soon be usurped by the next social media ‘kid’ on the block, whoever he is? Have you tried them – and hated them? …