Tag Archive 'social media'

The Online Presence That’s a Natural Extension of Who You Are and What You Do. (Is It Just Fantasy?)

I’ve been reading with interest (and sympathy) the comments on Porter Anderson’s Unboxed post last week, where we see the familiar Sturm und Drang of writers grappling with the demands of online marketing—or how to be publicly communicative and chummy when it’s against our nature, perhaps even against our work.

This has remained a problem for a long time now, hasn’t it?

One of my favorite thinkers is Alan Watts, who once said, “Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be […]

The Great Twitter Debate: Should You Follow Back?

photo by Gerry Balding

Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment, because if there’s one topic that could be considered controversial about the usage of Twitter, it’s this one. When someone new follows you, should you follow them back?

Some say yes, of course; it’s rude not to. Some say no, why should I? Twitter isn’t meant to be reciprocal. Others (like me) land somewhere in the middle. And still others are baffled, overwhelmed, or totally undecided.

Today I’m going to break down […]

Everything You Need to Know About the @Reply

photo by Steve Snodgrass

Okay, tweeps and future tweeps! So far in my column we’ve covered getting started on Twitter, the retweet, the #hashtag, and basic Twitter etiquette. Today I’m going to go over the ins and outs of another Twitter staple: the @reply, also known as a mention. (Still not sure if this whole Twitter thing is even for you? This post might help you decide.)


First and foremost, what’s that at symbol for? The at symbol (@: read as […]

Twitter Etiquette 101

photo by Ron Mead

It might (or might not) come as a surprise to you that many writers hate Twitter. I confess that I’ve had my own “die, Twitter, die” moments over the years, and it’s usually due to discourtesy. The character limit, the flood of information, the time drain: those I can stomach. But people being rude or obnoxious? Well, I think we’ve all had moments where we wanted to jump ship.

Unfortunately, we can’t make everyone else use Twitter […]

Getting Started on Twitter

photo by RuffLife

After weighing the pros and cons of Twitter last time, maybe you’ve decided to take the leap. But you’re understandably overwhelmed, because Twitter is a strange and mysterious land to the uninitiated. Never fear! I’m here with the basics of what you need to do to start off your Twitter life with a bang. And even if this Twitter thing is old hat to you, I hope you’ll give it a quick glance, because there are tips […]

Pram in the Hall

Flickr Creative Commons: Peter Barwick

You know that question everyone always asks writers? The one about what we do all day? In my experience most writers spend their days doing a lot of nothing — interspersed with trying in vain to organize vast teetering piles of books and papers, totally forgetting the thing we swore blind we’d be doing this afternoon, along with wasting endless hours on the internet. If you add, say, half an hour of writing to that […]

Should You Be On Twitter?

photo by Rosaura Ochoa

In my last post here at Writer Unboxed, I mentioned that – despite what the “build a platform” drones might chant outside your bedroom window at night – writers don’t have to be on Twitter. It is not required. Believe it or not, we are all grown-up people here (or let’s pretend we are), and we have the right to pick and choose which things we participate in. Shocking, right?

I resisted the siren call of Twitter […]

Everything You Really Need to Know About Twitter

photo by Ian Muttoo

This post probably isn’t what you’re expecting. If you’re looking for guidelines and tips on how to use and get the most out of Twitter, you can view a list of my past posts here. But before you get overwhelmed, don’t worry. This is not a crash-course on everything you could possible learn about the art of Twitter. This post is about what you really need to know about Twitter, and that boils down to five […]

Pay Proper Attention to Your Bio

Photo by wecand / Flickr

Lately I’ve noticed that some freelance and author bios are very short—sometimes not more than one line—and say little more than “John Doe is a writer.”

I made this observation on Twitter a couple weeks ago, and Atlantic editor Alexis Madrigal responded that it was a response to the “super long bio.” The Magazine editor Glenn Fleishman said he fights with some writers to give him more than “So and so writes articles,” and chalked it […]

Twitter: Are You Taking the Lazy Way Out?

Photo by Krawlings95.

Every once in a while, I’ll be on Twitter and start feeling glum. No one is talking to me, I think. No one new is following me. No one’s replying to my tweets. There’s a problem here, and that problem is me.

It never fails that if I notice a Twitter slump, it’s my own fault. Whenever I start feeling left out, I know it’s because I’ve gotten lazy. Twitter is not always the priority, so there’s nothing […]

Everything You Need to Know About the #Hashtag

Photo by Shovelling Son

If you spend any amount of time on the internet, you’ve probably seen people using words or phrases with pound signs in front of them, #like #this. On Twitter, this is called a hashtag.

Putting that symbol in front of a word turns it into a searchable link. In other words, you can then click on that #hashtag and see the tweets of everyone else also using it. It’s a way to find people talking about the […]

Twitter: A Dangerous Sense of Entitlement

photo by jesse.millan

Today I want to talk about a problem I see in the community of writers on Twitter: a growing sense of entitlement.

We writers work hard to build our platform. We’re told how important it is, so we put our time, energy, and hearts into the effort of building our potential audience. And there are certain unspoken rules, as most of us know. Tenuous things such as, If I retweet your blog post you’ll retweet one of mine […]