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More bad Twitter

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Steerpike, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I've pointed out before that I've never bought an author's book due to Twitter, but that I have stopped buying one author's book as a result of it. Twitter just continues to seem, to me, to be an opportunity for authors and others in the public eye to make asses of themselves, or otherwise do things that are harmful.

    Last night, after the Ferguson decision, both Ellen Datlow and Charles Stross tweeted out false, and in my view, inflammatory information. Worse, it was information that could have been checked for veracity pretty easily (I know because I did it when I saw the tweets and thought something was off). I like Stross and would normally buy anything with Datlow as the editor, and now I have to say that my estimation of both of them is lower because they seem, at best, irresponsible.

    Is Twitter really a boon to authors? For those with large, active Twitter followings, do you believe it helps? Because for me it does one of two things: 1) keeps me in touch with authors I already know I like and would have bought books from regardless, though the personal contact is nice; and 2) gives me a bad impression of authors I thought, from their writing, were probably intelligent, thoughtful people.

    No net gain. A potential net loss.
     
  2. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Hi Steerpike, this is something that I've seen discussed on another writers forum recently and its left me wondering the same thing: is Twitter even worth it? I have an account. Set it up over a year ago and have maybe made 15 tweets the entire time. Although I set it up for my writing, I use it for inspirational Yoga quotes and to keep in the loop with other teachers and studios to see what they're up to. So basically it does nothing for me as an author and I don't think it ever will.

    I've never seen anyone promote their book on there (no one I follow anyway) and people there seem genuinely nice. But as a platform for authors I don't think its a good one. Facebook is 20x better for that sort of thing (and I hate FB).
     
  3. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Social media is good to get your work out, but when you mix personal and professional it can back fire.
    Your favorite star (any class) could be the best at what they do, but they might be stupid in person on some or many issues.

    In times of trouble, its best to wish the best for people, not throw out inflammatory responses or communicate a threat. Many stars of many genres do it and have done it.

    I seperate the star or character from the person. When they say something I oppose, I just chalk it up to being human.
    I weigh the stupidity versus the enjoyment I get from their work, and also add in how they were raised.

    Sometimes when a star says something stupid, all you can do is just look at them and say:
    "Hodor."

    If what the person says is inflammatory or a threat, I would probably avoid contributing money to them for a while.
     
  4. Ryan_Crown

    Ryan_Crown Troubadour

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    This is the reason I maintain separate personal and author Twitter accounts. On my author Twitter account, anything I tweet is going to be writing related (including retweets of other people). Once I have something actually published I can see using it for promotion (and I currently use it to occasionally promote my website/blog), but I can't imagine using it to tweet personal/political/religious views (I have my personal account for that if I really need to tweet something along those lines, not that I'm ever really on my personal Twitter). So I can see using Twitter as one more tool to help build my author platform, but that's all I would ever use it for.
     
  5. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

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    I've looked up books because I saw the author being awesome / saying interesting things on Twitter. Sometimes the books didn't look like things I was interested in - Sam Sykes is a good example there - but I wouldn't have looked at all without the social media introduction. And I've certainly looked up the books of authors who are chummy or interact entertainingly with authors I like and follow on Twitter.

    The flipside is that I don't follow all the authors that I like, because I don't necessarily like what/how they tweet. So it is a balancing act. I think you just need to figure out what you want to get out of Twitter - do you want to connect with people, or do you want to sell books? Is this a personal or a professional service? - and make the decisions that serve that purpose best.
     
  6. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I'll say that I've unfollowed people on Twitter before because they tend to talk more about politics (on both spectrums) than books or writing. I get that it's their person account and they can do what they want with it, but I think some use it as a soap box to espouse whatever they want. I do think using your clout as an author can be used for good by spreading the word about a good cause or something similar, but yeah, I think Twitter is one of those things to be careful about. I have two accounts now. One is more for promotional stuff about my writing (my Splatter-Elf account) and I'm going to use my personal account more for just whatever with occasional promotion. I almost never talk about anything inflammatory no matter what the case. Maybe I'm "old school" but I just prefer to share my opinions about certain topics in person with someone so there's less chance of misunderstanding or misinterpretation that happens sometimes on the internet.
     
  7. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    My friends daughter got an agent to pursuit a singing career. Her mom posted that the agent was pushing her to sing at a Republican function during an election year.

    I told her that would not be wise. Just starting out, why would you want to alienate 40-50% of your base? Even more so when mother or daughter were that much into politics. RNC function on a resume might close some doors, as well as turn off listeners if they found out.
    I would have told her the same if it was DNC.
    Best to leave politics and hot topic oppinions alone until you have a big enough fan base, that you don't care if you alienate people.
     
  8. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    As marketing, I think that Twitter and the rest is stupid, although I do most of it (albeit at Lv 1 degree of proficiency).

    On the other hand, I really like the insight into the authors (and other celebrities) as people, and the ability to be able to connect with them so long as your tweet catches their eye is awesome. There's something surreal about getting even minor celebrities to respond to you and have a conversation with you. When I had a grief that one of Veronica Belmont's guests on the Doctor Who 50th anniversary pre-show gave away a major spoiler, I tweeted @ her and she responded out of concern and then following up by disagreeing with me (but at least she took the time to respond).

    On the other side of things, I've had people get in touch with me through Twitter, email, my blog and Facebook after reading my math books (and I think even one or two that read my spec fic books) and being accessible has always been spiritually rewarding as well as resulting in some of those people buying other books that I've put out.
     
  9. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Sorry for the necro, but I didn't want to create a brand new thread on Twitter when this was still in recent memory.

    I have a Twitter account, but it's helluva far from my favorite communication platform. I can barely type down anything on my mind without running afoul of its character count. At least there's still Facebook.

    The biggest challenge I face with any form of social media is saying anything without offending any of my friends. The people I have following me on Facebook, DeviantArt, and other social sites come from many different walks of life, so they inevitably won't see eye to eye with me or each other on everything. Any opinion I voice has the potential to provoke someone on my friend/watcher list. That wouldn't be so bad if I could hold my own on a debate, but I've learned over the years that Internet debates never lead anywhere except kicking me into a meltdown (I've always suffered from a short fuse). The alternative would be ignoring their objections, but that makes me look evasive instead.

    In the end I usually end up deleting posts that have the potential to upset people. It may be cowardly, and I really wish I had a place to express myself without ruining my friendships, but that's why social media can be such a double-edged sword.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  10. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I don't think you can really worry about offending people if you are going to participate authentically in social media, and if you're going to participate inauthentically, then I don't see the point of that social media existing. I use Twitter mostly whenever I have a smartass comment I want to make in my daily life but there's no one around to make it to.

    Just make sure that what you post is accurate and truthful and not based on lies and assumptions. Your public image version of yourself should (in my opinion) be a version of yourself. Readers respond to people being authentic.
     
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  11. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    On the one hand, I want to say that if they're offended by your Twitter, they'd be offended by your fiction. I don't use Twitter, but I have blogged about things I knew could be potentially touchy, because they were related to the ideas and themes of my stories. I'd prefer to openly discuss my biases rather than sneak around them and pretend to impartiality.

    On the other hand, Twitter doesn't exactly give a lot of room to explain the nuances of your positions.

    Maybe it's better to get a Blogger account or something. Or at least use Twitlonger when there's something you want to make sure folks don't misunderstand.
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I think that's true in many cases. But going back to Stross, I like his books. I'm not offended by his Twitter but he comes across as a bit of a dolt a lot of the times, particularly when he tries to opine on U.S. politics.
     
  13. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

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    If you like to ramble - and boy, do I like to ramble - then yes, get a blog. You can always tweet a link to your blog post. :)

    And when it comes to putting anything out into the internet, I tend to think: "Can I really express what I think clearly? Am I really thinking about this from all angles? Is there any way I might hurt someone who's vulnerable with this?" (I don't mind sharp jokes, as long as they're punching up, not down.) And I always err on the side of not posting if I'm concerned.

    Or, as Craig Ferguson brilliantly says: Does this need to be said? Does it need to be said by me? Does it need to be said by me now?

    But really, don't be an Adam-Baldwin-level douchecanoe, and you're probably going to fare ok. A lot of times, it's not about not making mistakes, it's about reacting well when you inevitably do make a mistake.
     
  14. I hang around twitter fairly frequently, and I can't say I have really been offended by anyone, but I have been kind of disappointed by it.

    I was hoping to use it to connect with other writers, but I've found there's not really that personal connection there, its very business-like. The majority of authors I find on twitter spend most of their time self-advertising and not much else (present company excepted of course, those of you who I follow I've found to be more diverse and engaging). Of course there's nothing wrong with that, writers need to earn a living and do need to put their name out there. But what I'm saying is if they only ever tweet their book sales or reviews I'm not going to get much creatively or inspiringly from that feed. Of course there are exceptions, I just wish there was more room for interaction between writers, or other creatives.
     
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