The Social Media Grind

Learning the “do’s” and “don’t” in the world of nothing and everything!

I have been on social media for years, but I am only now beginning to understand it’s importance as a medium for for finding readers. Twitter is something that I underestimated and was at one point quite flippant about. I mean, Twitter? Come on, give me a break, I’m a writer, and you want me to express myself and get my point across in 280 words? Wait a minute! What’s that? Did you say 280 characters? Are you insane?

But that’s where its at and in all honesty could you think of a stupider concept. It’s 2021, and modern telecommunication has allowed us to talk to anyone we want in the world, and we choose to text. Text communication has been eroding the English language and I suppose, all languages worldwide since its conception. We’ve traded, “How are you for, “SUP?” Then some illiterate comes up with “AFAIR,” and instantly draws my scorn until I realize that AFAIR is not a poorly spelled descriptive of a love triangle but “AS FAR AS I RECALL.” And it doesn’t stop there. There’s all sorts of slangs being used to denegrate our language. Being a writer of crime-thrillers I perked up when I saw someone post BTK, and realized it was not the infamous serial killer, but some mope who made it “BACK TO THE KEYBOARD” likely after grabbing a Pop tart out of moms fridge.

It’s a hate relationship when you get right down to it. I don’t want to be on Twitter. It’s not that I don’t like people, I do, but I struggle with trying to look mildly amusing in 280 characters which amounts to roughly 55 words. And yes, I did google that, because in all honesty I didn’t know how many words I could slap together from the 280 characters some Pixel Nazi was rationing out per post.

Grudgingly I have embraced Twitter, and admittedly I’m still not the best at getting my message out. I’m trying to learn how to be less long-winded. But here’s the thing. If there is a “writer’s hell,” Twitter is is the special kind where you are forced to write synopsis after synopsis limited to 55 words. God forbid your sausage fingers misspell a word because then everyone will know you’re an illiterate twit and definitely buy your books. There’s no way to edit a tweet once you’ve sent it out and again folks, I’m a writer, I edit all my stuff. But it’s that first draft you see when the predictive text changes the word “tweet” to “twat” and I instinctively press post thinking I’ll get in the next draft.

I learned very quickly the only way to edit a tweet is to delete it, but in the twitter world, as many a sausage slinging politician, celebrity or athlete knows, that a tweet is never deleted if you have followers. Or worse, haters.

Twitter “do’s and don’t’s,” Trolls, Letterkenney, and Linwood Barclay

What I’ve learned is that for me, when it comes to Twitter, using it doesn’t come easy, either for pleasure or self promotion. Working through my 55 word synopsis, I am trying to tell people who I am, but I’m also looking to hang out and chew the rag like we’re at a bar in Letterkenney, Ontario having a conversation. Stormy, my significant other, hates the show, but I like it so expect some quotes, like this one:

“Tim’s, McDonald’s, and the beer store are all closed on Christmas Day. And that’s your whole world right there.” –Letterkenney

Linwood Barclay, Author of Expect the Worst

Twitter has it’s benefits because you can converse with folks you might never meet. Linwood Barclay and I once had a deep intellectual twitter chat about that chocolate nut shit you put on bread. You know, Nutello? Yeah, well, Barclay was talking about how he liked the stuff and I said, “I can’t wrap my head around why anyone would put that stuff on bread.”

His retort was, “What’s the bread for?”

Just so there’s no illusions, Linwood Barclay probably still has no idea who I am other than the little man who dissed Nutello for no good reason and didn’t get the joke. In my defense, there’s bread in the commercial, man.

Ah, forget it!

“You wish there was a pied piper for possums. But there isn’t, so you’re just gonna have to keep picking ‘em off with a .22,” Letterkenney

What have I learned so far about Twitter is never say the following, even in a quote, unless you want to have an interesting chat with possum advocates:

Okay, enough on Letterkenney, and onto the loss of my online virginity to my first real twitter troll. Part of the twitter gig is promotion of my work and subsequently I fire off tweets to advertise that work because more than anything else, I want people to read my stuff. My publisher, WildBlue Press, has THE EQUINOX eBook on sale for $1.99 on all eBook platforms from Apple to Kindle and Kobo.

This was my debut horror novel, it was also the book that established me as a writer, having made to the Amazon Breakthrough Awards semi finals in 2012, it garnered underground success in the indie community, finding audiences in the USA, UK, and even . WildBlue picked up The Equinox and Acadia Event, after penning a contract for my crime-thriller Highwayman series, Highwayman Book 1 and FOUR Book 2.

While sitting in my truck, at my day job waiting to train a driver in a specific task, I had a few minutes so I made a quick 45 second video telling folks about the ebook sale. Twitter is very limiting on time for videos, so I come off like crazy car salesman. Video below.

Now I cringe every time I watch myself on video and this was no exception, except it drew the attention of someone while I was offline. I later came back to find a whole bunch of retweets and likes, and much to my chagrin someone who posted: Book Sucks not even worth 1.99. I’m not posting this garner your sympathy, after my initial “WTF,” I thought about it and responded the only way I could. I told the poster that I was sorry, and that I love reader feedback and would be very interested in what they had to say. I’ve been around long enough not to get upset. I can’t control if someone doesn’t like my work, whether they read it or not. What I can control is my response.

To add insult to injury, after pressing post my tweet actually read: I’m very sorry you feel that way. I live reader feedback, could you specify what you didn’t like? LOVE I MEANT LOVE! The hell with it.

See you next time.