In the brave new world of social networking it’s a bit of a love triangle, with those of us who want to engage with our readers picking our platforms. And I’ll freely admit I stuck with Facebook far longer than I should have. We could have parted company while we were still on civil terms. But I was too “I don’t get Twitter,” to even try it, so I hung around at Facebook with my personal profile and my author page, trying to engage with the tsunami of information (often duplicated) being uploaded by my peeps. I’d sigh when the feed rolled out, daunted by the distinction between ‘top stories’ and the others, which were clearly ‘not top stories’ although I couldn’t work out why. I liked these people. That’s why I’d . . . liked them, so why wasn’t I getting all their stories? Why was my feed top heavy with “popular” people. And who decided who was “popular” anyway?
It was like being back at high school!
Anyway, in the end I just needed some time apart. You know. Not breaking up. Just a break. I had to open a Twitter account sooner or later because all the authors were expected to, but I had no clue that within a fortnight I’d be spellbound. I mean, it’s so quick! There’s no picture-heavy feed to wade through, and every single post is short. Of course, everyone knows that. 140 characters, right? But it’s not until you start interacting inside the format that you realise how awesomely fabulous that brevity is. Refreshing doesn’t begin to describe. I just felt . . . at home. Really. I just relaxed right in. People found me. I found people. It was like being at a convention or a conference where you know “your people” are around somewhere, so you just settle at the bar with a scotch and chat to whoever’s there. They’re sharing pics of their new puppy (and btw, having a new window open for every link is gold), so you can say, “Aw, check those floppy ears,” or if you’re feeling particularly clever you can say “got a bit of a Yoda thing happening there,” or when you want to slap your connections card down you can say “Oh yeah, Tara’s got a puppy like that. You know, Tara Moss. We share the same agent.”
Actually, I have no idea what sort of pet Tara has, but I’m just tossing it in there. Then before you know it someone else comes along, someone you know and then you’re exchanging info on upcoming book launches or who’s had a new cover arrive, or a book deal, and it’s just so relaxed. So cool. So understated. There’s no try-hard thing happening. Well, not after the first fortnight. You’re allowed a few “well I thought it was funny” posts as you settle in. And it’s easy. The set up is intuitive. The posts are quick. The conversations funny. You get to meet people. Really meet them, who they are, what they’re interested in. Not their ‘author’ persona. Just them. Eating raw cookie dough. First swims of summer. Kids birthday parties. Crazy hangovers. Sleepy goodnights. Boring stuff. Funny stuff. Interesting stuff. Insightful stuff.
I don’t know all the techno details about Twitter. Can recommend Alan Baxter’s blog So you don’t understand Twitter? Read it before you get started. But do. Get started. It’s fun. You’ll love it. And if you follow me (I’m @Louise_Cusack)and sit at the bar I’ll shout you a drink.
P.S. Just because Twitter gets the girl, doesn’t mean that Facebook is out in the cold. I’m hanging in there. I know there are readers who love it. But don’t forget Goodreads. It’s AWESOME too.