Dear tweeting reader,
For years I wore a badge of honor – no social networking for me. I didn’t care how hard anyone, whether it be agent, editor, publisher, or friend, pushed me, I would resist. I would not become one of THOSE people.
Funny thing, no one pushed. So then, like a reluctant toddler with a strange meal in front of her, I got curious. I started poking around on Facebook and Twitter. “Well, maybe I’ll just try it for a bit,” I thought. “But if I hate it, I’m quitting. No one can make me eat this if I hate it.”
So here I am. Tweeting. Blogging. Facebooking. And I have to say, it’s a lot of fun. But of all the new avenues I’m exploring, Twitter is by far the most surprising and weirdest. You’re limited to 140 characters, so it’s like a social networking haiku. And there are thousands upon thousands of possible listeners and speakers.
I started tossing one-liners out into the fray, not entirely sure who might be listening. I began following a few people, a few people signed up to follow me. Before I knew it I had a little community that includes me, my editor, my publisher, some fantastic writers, a few old friends, my mom, and a brown bear in Denali.
Some of my favorite comments are funny. DenaliBear tweets about his life on the tundra, at least I think it’s a “he.”
And I also follow Conan O’Brien on Twitter, since I don’t have television reception.
Twitter is also a great way to find out what other writers are reading, including Alaska’s own Don Rearden.
Don Rearden @nprbooks Favorite short stories? I’m a big fan of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” and Tim O’Brien’s “The Things they Carried”
But there is a surprising, heartwarming aspect to Twitter that I didn’t expect. Fellow authors are encouraging me, and I have a chance to speak out for authors I’m enjoying.
Urrealism Luis Urrea — Missing my newspaper days while finishing up @petehamillnyc’s Tabloid City. Also loving @EowynIvey’s The Snow Child. #beaprep #fridayreads
And in some small way I feel closer to the crew at Little, Brown & Co., my publisher.
One of the reasons I resisted social networking is because I didn’t want to do the hard sell. I didn’t want to be out there pushing my wares like a street vendor with a trench coat. “Pssst. I’ve got some books over here. Cheap books. Come on, take a look.”
But I see that I can come at it from a different angle. It can be about supporting other authors, cheering on other people, making new friends, and sharing a few laughs along the way.