I’ve been hanging out on Twitter for two months now. Not terribly long, but long enough for me to have got some hang of it. Well, of the basics anyway. I haven’t figured out all the hashtags yet, nor do I employ those that I know very often, but I have come to understand one thing about the nature of Twitter. This may be self-evident to you; my husband revealed it to me before I even opened the account, but I didn’t quite believe him. Tweeting is not about communicating; it’s not a dialogue, it’s a monologue. A cluster of monologues that all happen at the same time. Everyone speaks and no one listens.
Once I figured that out, tweeting has been fun. I don’t have to care about what people think of my tweets. They won’t read them anyway. I can talk about myself, or mention something that has taken my fancy that day, be it a cute kitten or a piece of information for writers. Once it’s out there, those who follow me have a half an hour at most to see it and then it’s gone. And since most of those who follow me live on the other side of the world from me, the chances are they never read anything I tweet; it will be lost in the influx of other people’s monologues in their feed long before they wake up in the morning.
I think most of those who tweet have realised the one-sided nature of Twitter. At least if you look at their tweets. Most of the content isn’t meant to be reacted to, unless the tweet asks you to buy something. Of six hundred accounts that I currently follow, only fifty have content that I actually read regularly. Apart from institutions, like newspapers that produce quantities of genuinely interesting tweets, the tweets that I read are usually something personal that make me take interest in the tweeter, or something funny. Considering the number of people who tweet because they want people to buy something from them – me included – it’s surprising that so few of them make an effort to ensure their tweets actually get read.
So, it’s a challenge, making my tweets interesting enough for people to read them regularly so that the couple of times I mention my books won’t get lost. I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but I’m trying. It’s time consuming though so I can understand why some would want to maintain a Twitter presence with automatic tweets that repeat their books’ links many times a day with the hopes that one of the tweets catch. But since I don’t read the automatic tweets, I have to assume mine wouldn’t get read either if I resorted to those. So they’re counter-productive, really.
In the long run, the monologue might become disheartening. But then, occasionally, someone reacts to my tweet, retweets it or answers to me. For a brief moment, there is a dialogue and then we go to our separate ways. Those encounters are wonderful, they make everything worthwhile. I can imagine that I’m not shouting into a void after all. I’m not alone.
Now that I have the tweeting figured out – to a degree – it’s onto the next challenge. I opened a Google+ account as Susanna Shore, one of my pen names. I have no idea how it operates, or how to get people to follow me there. So if you have an account there, look me up. Perhaps you can share a few pointers with me about it to; create a dialogue.