Several months ago, I was asking, To tweet or not to tweet?, and until last weekend my answer was “maybe” and “not yet.” But now I’ve finally joined the Twitterverse and wanted to share the first week of my experiment:
- First of all, I was surprised to discover that my name was already taken! Some other aprilyamasaki already has a Twitter account, and I see that one of the members of my church is following her, presumably by mistaken identity and although it doesn’t look like my alter ego has been posting any tweets. I applied to Twitter to reclaim my name—filled out the “Impersonation” form and submitted a copy of my id to prove my identity—but to no avail. Twitter turned my application down, but at least responded quickly, within 3 days. Twitter Lesson: if you’d like to use your own name, sign up early!
- I could have tried adding an underscore or a number to my name, but those options seemed cumbersome and would have made my name even longer, making it harder to write and taking up more space which could be significant if people were to mention me or re-tweet one of my posts. Twitter Lesson: choose a name well within the Twitter limit of 15 characters, the shorter the better.
- After mulling this over, I finally chose @SacredPauses. It’s not much shorter than my name plus some random number not already taken, but it’s memorable and makes sense. I plan to share about the book, Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal, and also more generally—my first tweets have included my recent blog post, a happy birthday message, a thank you to another author, the Sacred Pauses giveaways on Twitter and Goodreads. Twitter Lesson: not every tweet needs to be closely related to the subject of the username, variety adds interest.
- I signed up, chose my username, wrote my profile, and learned how to tweet and re-tweet (RT) all on the first day. The next day I learned how to direct a tweet at someone specific. A few days later I learned how to use a hashtag (the # symbol is used to mark a key word and is very useful to find tweets on the same subject). I haven’t yet used direct message (DM, a way to send a private message on Twitter), and I’m sure there are many other things to learn, but these can wait for now. Twitter Lesson: instead of trying to be comprehensive, learning on-the-go is fast, easy, and fun.
- One of the reasons I’m experimenting with Twitter at this time is that my publisher is doing a book giveaway—for the first 100 followers who re-tweet the give-away, one will be randomly chosen to receive a free copy of Sacred Pauses. That sounds like a good offer, but so far, I only have 20 followers and only a handful of those have re-tweeted the offer. At this rate, I wonder if I’ll ever reach a hundred! Maybe it’s slow since everyone is as busy with Christmas as I am—at least I won’t be concentrating my attention on Twitter until after Christmas! Twitter Lesson: it takes time.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: Do you have a Twitter Lesson to share?
Merry Christmas, and Blessings for a Wonderful New Year!
For more on writing and other acts of faith,
sign up here for free email updates and receive
a copy of How to Pray When Prayer Seems Impossible
2 thoughts on “Twitter Lessons”
Thanks for the insights. It has me considering a venture into the world of tweeting, but first I’ll try to get better at blogging.
When I think of Twitter as a constant barrage of tweets coming from many different directions, then Twitter seems just the opposite of what I’m trying to do with Sacred Pauses. But when I think of Twitter as “micro-blogging”–i.e., as a short form of blogging that I can dip into or take a pause from at any time, then it seems to be a better fit for me. At this point, I’m enjoying the experiment!