Twitter jitters

My wife got me this t-shirt for Christmas. It fits, in many ways.

I’ve made a new writing contact, and she happens to “tweet.” For the uninitiated, that means she uses Twitter as a social network medium. She keeps track of her clients this way, announces business-oriented things, and generally uses it as a platform to further her career. And she does it in 140 characters or less, each time, a couple times a day or more.

I can’t do anything in 140 characters. OK, that’s not true, as I just managed to say I couldn’t do anything in 140 characters by using just 40 or so characters. That’s probably my first mental block — that I have nothing worth saying that can be somehow squeezed into 140 characters.

And yet, how hard can this be, right? I’ve wrtten four books, dozens of magazine articles and feature stories, and hundreds of breaking national news stories on a deadline. I’m even starting to get into fiction writing.

I mean, I make a living via the written word. I can totally do this. Nonetheless, I have Twitter jitters.

I think part of it is the time commitment. Yes, this blog is a commitment, but on Twitter, I see people tweet, re-tweet, tweet-back and various other permutations several times a day. To answer everyone seems like a pretty big time-sink. In comparison, this blog isn’t interactive. I write, you read and comment. End of story. It doesn’t really demand or expect a reply, and I’m averaging a few times a week on here. Not a huge deal, right?

And what exactly do I tweet about? “I’m going to work.” “I like peas.” “My kid is on the can singing Phineas & Ferb songs.” Truly captivating stuff.

But…with all that said, I’m likely going to have to investigate Twitter at some point. If I am indeed going to be a (hopefully successful) fiction writer, I’m going to have to engage in social media like I’ve never engaged before. I’m going to have to use those platforms to interact with any would-be readers, simply because these platforms have created the expectation that I would.

J.D. Salinger would’ve hated it, of course. Guys like Stephen King and Dan Brown don’t need to hustle for readers on Twitter. I’m none of those guys, and thus, this old dog will have to learn a few new tricks about social networking.

Right after I finish writing something worth publishing…!

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