how NOT to use Twitter

Dear authors, I'm not sure how to say this nicely, so I probably won't. As a matter of fact, I'm so angry, I may dip into the Chuck Wendig bag of vulgarity (so yes, Virginia, there will be profanity). I'm going to tell you how I really feel, which won't make me terribly popular in some circles.

That's okay. I'm not known for my sweet temper.

We're going to talk about ... Twitter.

Twitter is nice, Twitter is fun, Twitter can be used a number of ways. I like to use it to talk to other writers and keep up with their blogs. Like everyone else, I also use Twitter to promote my novels and good news, no problem there.

However [and you knew that was coming, right? Am I right?]

HOWEVER ...

I have received two tweets over the last two days that, for lack of better, annoyed the piss out of me. Both were "Mentions" known as the @ reply.

The first said something to the tune of: "I unfollowed you because you unfollowed me. If this is a mistake, I'm sorry."

What kind of childish bullshit is that? Passive-aggressive much?

To make matters worse, I clicked on the guy's name and had no idea who he was. I suppose the "If this is a mistake, I'm sorry" part is supposed to take care of that.

But I remember him now. And not in a happy way.

Frankly, if I did unfollow him, it was because he was one of those independent/self-published/indie authors who did nothing but spam me with SEE THIS AMAZING QUOTE BY SUZY LIPSHIT AND READ MY BOOK [link] Tweets. Don't get me wrong. I love seeing amazing quotes and reading good news about my fellow authors, those who are self-published and those who are traditionally published, but come on, people, there are other things going on out there!

Talk about sports, about your pets, endear yourself to us with personal, humorous stories, show us your inner beauty and we will want to be a part of your life. That's how you build a following on Twitter, by being relevant to other people's lives, NOT by bombarding us with your sales strategy.

There ARE self-published authors who are using Twitter responsibly (I'm looking at you Lindsay Buroker @GoblinWriter and Moses Siregar @MosesSiregar). I haven't read their novels, but I know them because they are out there with well-written blogs that discuss their genre, publishing, their families, and their likes and dislikes. They've made themselves relevant to me through their tweets and their interactions with other authors.

The other new Twitter phenomenon is obviously meant to replace the equally annoying DM by sending @ mentions. These invariably redirect to an independent/self-published/indie author's web site. Seriously, people, that is no better than a redirect to a porn site. Both are self-aggrandizing, narcissistic memes. Also known as spam.

Twitter is as much about conversation as it is about posting news and blog links. Get out there and play, interact, converse!

I know it's tough if you're an independent/self-published/indie author trying to build a following. HELL, it's tough being a traditionally published author, who is trying to build a following, but I can tell you right now, nobody is going to follow an asshole.

They stink.