Tag Archives: Twitter

Twitter analysis: Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself)

In case anyone reading this doesn’t know, Neil Gaiman is a short story and novel writer who focuses mostly on science fiction and fantasy stories. Two of his more well-known books are Coraline and American Gods. I love the feeling he brings to his prose; he’s able to create vastly different worlds but let the main character keep human quirks and qualities. He is among my favorite authors.

Mr. Gaiman is following a diverse group of people on Twitter. Many of them are other writers, but he also follows musicians, comedians, and a handful of newsfeeds about Doctor Who (should have known he was a fan). His follower list hints that he is interested in keeping up with a large community of writers, but he’s also a guy who likes to laugh and have a good time. He also follows some novelty accounts, like DRUNK HULK.

I’ve been following Mr. Gaiman for a while now (which sounds so creepy if taken out of context), and he is constantly interacting with his fans. Usually when someone gets to a certain level of fame they become untouchable, but Mr. Gaiman is still able to hold conversations and seems genuinely interested in what his fans have to say. I think this is an excellent example of social networking done right. He isn’t the type to only answer questions about himself or his writing; he holds real conversations about real topics. I think many other celebrities on Twitter could follow his lead (so to speak) and learn something about effective communication.

Mr. Gaiman also was the original proposer of All Hallows Read, and he is a strong advocate for the movement. If anyone is looking for something to give out this Halloween that’s healthier than candy, how about a copy of Coraline?

Cheers, and happy tweeting!


A Week Without Facebook

I sit at my laptop, staring at the screen for a moment thinking: Now what? 

After a long day of school/work/etc., I need to vegetate. I have mindlessly checked my e-mail, Twitter, the news, and the fake-news. Usually right now, I’d be browsing the latest amateur photo-shoots or stupid memes hand-selected by my friends on Facebook. But I’m forbidden to traverse those addictive pages.

I close my computer, and read a book instead.

Going a week without Facebook was an interesting experience to say the least. Before I signed off, I left a message explaining the experiment, and telling my friends to find me on Twitter. Only one did. I know my friends aren’t big social media buffs, but it was a little disappointing. After being required to Tweet three times a day, especially after being deprived of Facebook, I was (and am) starting to enjoy Twitter the more I use it. It’s fun and challenging as a writer to be witty and meaningful while being concise. Going a week without Facebook pushed me to use Twitter even more, which led me to appreciate it more than I already did. 

In terms of being a professional, going a week without Facebook was good for me. At the start of this semester, I felt like creating a Twitter account was the equivalent of selling one’s soul (in fact, I put that in a Facebook status.) But having no other outlet to communicate with my peers for a week, I now feel more comfortable with Twitter. I’m delighted with this, because I am starting to see more and more how Twitter is and will continue to be a necessary tool for anyone who wants to have a successful presence in the world of writing. 

In short, One Week Without Facebook Experiment = Success. 


A week without Facebook draws to a close.

When I was perusing the class website last Thursday night and read that we were going to have to give up Facebook for a week, I felt strange. I’ve already explained my interesting relationship with social networking in a previous post, and if you read that you know that I spend time on Facebook but I don’t consider my use of the site to be productive in any way.

Not being on Facebook has been liberating, but still annoying at times. Instead of checking Facebook in the morning when I woke up, I read articles or looked at news sites. Instead of constantly opening the Facebook app on my phone to see friends complaining about silly things, I checked my Twitter and saw useful links that I might have missed later in the day (I follow a bunch of writers and writing tip tweeps). I don’t understand how I spent so much time on Facebook, seeing as I was able to stay off of it so easily. I realised I mostly keep an eye on my family and close friends to see what they’re up to. Without using Facebook I have to call/text them, and my school and work schedule lead to me doing so at odd hours. I also realised that I find a lot of things online that I would like to share with my friends, and without being able to post on their wall or tag them I had to find more creative ways to share the information that I found. The most annoying thing was when I was with my tech-savvy friends and they’d start a conversation with, “Hey, did you see so-and-so on Facebook?” and proceed to talk about it. I felt excluded, but got over it quickly.

This experiment allowed me to spend more time with Twitter and get to know the site a little more intimately. I’m shocked at the amount of information I get from my feed every day. I know it depends on who you follow, but it’s still overwhelming. I’ve been trying to use that site strictly as a writing student to build my persona as someone who shares articles that I believe could be helpful to others. I still goof around a bit on there, but that also says something about my personality.

I’ve also been playing around with my own personal WordPress blog, which I hope to launch before November. Stay tuned for more info on that, and I’d truly appreciate feedback when I get it up and running.

As an off-topic side note, is anyone planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? I’d like to, and it’s always easier when you know other people who are doing it, too.

Cheers and happy Facebooking!


(Still) Getting Used to the Evolution of Writing and Tech

Before I was required to create a Twitter account for Intro to Writing Arts, I was required to do so for Internet and Writing Studies (IWS) with Professor Wolff. Now, we are also creating LinkedIn, Flickr, Diigo, and separate WordPress accounts in IWS. All this is for our “Integrated Social Media Presence” project, a project aimed at helping us create one pervasive, yet consistent, professional presence across the web. I’ve never even heard of Diigo, and I’ve never been on LinkedIn’s or Flickr’s websites. I was just starting to catch up in Intro, and now the overwhelming sensation of existing in the wrong century is starting to creep back.

In reality, I know it’s not all that bad. No matter what your desired profession (creative writer and library-science-guru, for me), having a professional online presence is essential. At least, that’s what they keep telling me. I’m still trying to convince myself that it’s true, not because I don’t honestly believe that it’s true, but because attempting to run all these webpages in a professional, coherent, and attention-grabbing manner terrifies me. I’d much rather just sit here writing (with pen and paper), or reading a book (printed and bound.)

So I must say, while I truly am frightened by the upcoming weeks and the new skills I will have to learn, I’m also excited. I want to be able to join this group of elite, tech-savvy geniuses who have their online presence ironed out perfectly and wrapped with a bow. Authors are now required by publishing companies to create and maintain their own websites. Self-publishing, particularly on e-readers, is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to sell one’s work. I want to know that these are things I am capable of doing myself.

I suppose it’s finally time to just put on the work gloves and get to work with the internet.


Social networks! Social networks everywhere!

I had to read a few articles on social networking this week for my special topics class, Professions in Writing Arts (everyone who wants to pursue a career in writing should take this class if you can, it’s incredibly informative). I thought they added nicely to our discussion of social networks. While we’re mostly focusing on Twitter and blogging for this class, there are so many other options out there that you can use to build a bigger, better online persona.

The first article, Social Networking for Writers – How to Network like a Pro, and Why Every Writer Should, is fairly self-explanatory. Robin Parrish discusses using the sites to create your brand and get the notice that you deserve.

The second site isn’t an article, but a list of the Best Social Networking Sites and Message Boards for Writers. This list is extensive and I only knew of two of these sites before reading it. There are many message boards and communities out there where writers can post their work to get feedback and constructive criticism, which can be hard to find outside of a workshop-centered course or a writing club.

I hope this is helpful! I sincerely think everyone who is thinking of a career as a writer or considering going to graduate school for writing should take the Professions class. It’s a special topic 1 credit class that runs for only 5 weeks, and so far I feel like I’ve learned more than I have in some of my full 15 week classes. Our class website is here if you’d like to see what we’ve been covering.

Cheers and happy networking!


Social networks for creative people

While exploring the Twittersphere for my Writing, Research and Tech class, I came across a link to article called The Top 10 Social Networks for Creative People by Mark McGuinness. Writing is considered creative, so I thought I’d read it over. The article started out with a section outlining why you need to be involved with social networking to survive in a creative profession. The author’s points are strong and encouraging. It was a strong start.

Then, I encountered something that I don’t usually see: in each section of the article the author focused on a certain social network, and each section includes snippets from creative people in different fields talking about their experience with the social network in question. Real people! There aren’t any full interviews, but there are short bursts from people who seem comfortable in the networks they choose to use. I thought it was really neat to see people in different fields discussing what social networking has actually done for them. It’s easy to think of popular Twitter handles or LinkedIn profiles as an entity on their own, but it’s important to remember that each profile is run by a real person, and through their social media we are getting to know a small part of that person.

Since this article is aimed at all forms of creativity, not only writing, so some sections and snippets aren’t explicitly related to us as writers. I still think we can learn from this article and see a small sample of information from the people who use the sites effectively, no matter their specific creative field. Definitely worth a read.

You can follow the author of the article on Twitter @markmcguinness. His other contact information is scattered throughout the article.

The link that I saw was tweeted by Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn) who runs a blog about writing, self-publishing and marketing. Check out her blog out if you haven’t. She also offers a great information package on self-publishing called The Author 2.0 Blueprint. It’s free!


Facebook vs Twitter: Friends vs Followers

(note: This is rambling and slightly off-base.)

When I was younger, my freshman year of college specifically, I joined Facebook. This was back when the layout was unfriendly and people still thought Pokes were a cool way to communicate. For the first few months I avidly played around with the status updates, some games, and sending people whatever Facebook suggested I send them (like a virtual pie, pet, flaming bag of poo… the works). I even played Farmville for about a week. After the novelty wore off, I moved to just status updates, pictures, and the occasional posted link.

As for Twitter, my relationship with that is odd. The first time I made a Twitter account on my own I started so I could follow people that I admired. Eventually, I started following some friends and tweeting here and there, mostly things I deemed unworthy for Facebook. This was before I used this medium for class, mind you.

About two years ago, I decided I hated both Facebook and Twitter. It was like a switch went off in my head and I noticed how absolutely narcissistic these things were. Who cares what you ate for breakfast? Does anyone really want to know which sitcom you are? Who wants to see 10 pictures of your cat a day? (Okay, I still kind of enjoyed that last one.) I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but two weeks later was bullied by “friends” who I never saw in real life to bring them back online just to talk to people. I tried to pretend everything was okay, but it was a struggle for me to post anything on either because a little voice in the back of my mind just kept saying, “You sound so narcissistic. Who cares? Would you get annoyed reading this?” Continue reading


Twitter vs. Facebook:

As an avid Facebooker, it feels almost unfair to put these two social media sites next to each other; you may have heard me say only a few weeks ago. Now that I also use Twitter regularly, I now see the pros and cons for both sites.

With Facebook, I’m heard by an audience I chose, people I (mostly) know and who have agreed with me that we would both like to hear what each other have to say. If it is someone I feel is more important than the others, I can flag them as such and will be notified if anything at all happens with their page (Mike just changed his background from white to off-white!). While this is fun and helpful for keeping in contact with relatives, especially due to the private messaging feature, it can also be a hassle dealing with all the different things you’re required to update (Do I want to change to the new timeline? Huh. I wonder what that- WHAT HAPPENED TO MY FACEBOOK?). If I want to speak to the audience I choose than I’ll definitely go with Facebook.

On the other hand, Twitter is me speaking to the audience that chooses me. Yes, it is often common courtesy to follow those who follow you, but if you really don’t feel like it it’s not a social law. These people who follow me follow my words for my words, not who I am. Because if you get tired of the whining of someone’s posting (oh-em-gee I cannot believe this girl is wearing this #omgicantbelievethisgirliswearingthis), it’s as simple as a click and you don’t have to deal with them anymore. Sometimes it’s hard to get your word out with Twitter because of how many people are doing it, but that just means you have to tweet more and make them count. Twitter followers will only follow you until they are tired of you, so keeping them entertained will keep your followers up.

Although I personally think both of these sites are a complete waste of time, I still sit (with both of them open in separate tabs) waiting for my next Facebook notification or the next idea for a clever Tweet.


Twitter, Facebook, Spaces, and Limits

Twitter has always seemed to me to be the height of egocentrism. Why would anyone, even my close friends, be interested in what I’m thinking 24 hours a day? That’s why until this class, I fervently stuck to Facebook alone, and even then I went months at a time without logging on.

I told myself Facebook wasn’t like Twitter because there were so many more ways to interact with people. But really, instead of Twitter being a boiled down Facebook, I think Facebook is a glorified Twitter. For the longest time imaginable (until about two weeks ago) I absolutely refused to believe that any sort of serious writing could take place on either one. I’m willing to admit I was wrong.

I once took an autobiographical writing class in which we had to come up with a “Six Word Memoir” that summed up our entire lives. Mine, appropriately enough, was “wrong many times, admitted it once” (though, now I suppose it’s twice.) Trying to summarize my entire life in six words was one of the most interesting writing projects I’ve ever encountered. This is one of the biggest advantages of Twitter, and I would say the biggest disadvantage of Facebook.

Twitter forces you to be concise. Anyone can do that, but as a writer, you must also find ways to be witty, original, and provocative. You should make every Tweet meaningful and as intriguing as a six word memoir; even though your writing is confined, it should be crafted well enough to gain followers.

Facebook doesn’t place this limitation on you. You can ramble on for ages, and I must admit, the moment I see someone has posted something longer than a paragraph, I typically check out. Because of this lack of limitation, Facebook is a breeding ground for false information (way too many of my friends post way too many chain letters.) The one place I have to give Facebook credit is the Notes section. The ability for a writer to share a piece of creative writing, a personal story, or just some information with specific people is a great tool. You can draft, edit, repost – it’s a miniature blog on your Facebook, except most people don’t post consistently, and instead of trying to get followers, you decide who you want to see it by tagging them. This is the one advantage Facebook has over Twitter, the ability to share longer, drafted and revised works with a carefully selected audience. Twitter is challenging with its 140 character limit, but there are times when larger spaces are needed.


Getting Used to the Evolution of Writing and Tech

Before this semester began, I knew very little about Twitter or blogging. From what I understood, unless you were a celebrity or possessed a truly unique skill, keeping a Twitter or a blog was simply the height of egocentrism. I had never considered either Twitter or the blogosphere as participants in the evolution of writing and the materials we use to communicate. But I have to wonder, as Bolter implies in “Refashioning the Writing Space,” if in the past, those who were partial to scrolls felt skeptical about bound-paper books. Progress and change are going to take place whether we want them to or not, so it’s nonsensical to refuse to partake.

Bolter’s mention of the malleability of the e-book particularly struck me. I was given a Kindle a year ago, and still have yet to turn the thing on. E-books are simply not for me, however, I think they are an incredible step forward in the book industry generally. Things can be done with an e-book that could not be done with a paper-book, and vice-versa. Aside from the obvious convenience factors of the e-book, the fact that it’s viewed on a computer screen makes it susceptible to coding. Theoretically, in an e-book you could insert videos, links, .gifs, sound effects, even those computer-generated coloring pages you paint with your mouse/stylus. The possibilities are entirely endless, and what’s so great about this is that it creates a wholly new, interactive experience. The reader can really become part of the story. How’s that for the evolution of the book?

But as far as “redefining visual and conceptual spaces” of writing and the “changing material and visual field” of writing, why stop at books and the internet? Why can’t writing enter into public spaces? In an article he wrote in 1999, British author Sean Tejaratchi stated “[i]f I see an ad without asking to, it’s [sic] images are mine to reprint and redistribute, with clearance neither granted nor requested. ..Why should I ask my assailant’s permission to keep a rock he’s just thrown at my head?” (Tejaratchi) I think this sentiment summarizes the way writing should evolve in the public square, particularly as a way (for those who so desire) to contest the constant avalanche of lies, hidden-truths, and advertisements we receive from politicians, news distributors, and corporations. This of course is where copy-write and libel come into play, but I suppose that is exactly what I’m talking about. The evolution of writing into new materials and new spaces is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to guarantee continued and deepened freedom of speech and thought, both of which are absolutely indispensible to writing if it is to evolve at all.

Works Cited

Tejaratchi, Sean. “Reciprocity in Theory and in Practice.” Crap Hound Jul. 1999: No. 6. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.