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Ask Annie: Meeting People on Twitter, Hanging Out, and Getting Found

Ask Annie Neugebauer Writer Unboxed logo [1]


@AnnieNeugebauer WU Twitter question. Writers “meet” each other on Twitter. How? How do people “hang out” with Tweets? I’m a noob. :)

Abigail Welborn@AbigailFair [2]

This is a great question! The answer is simpler than it might seem: they tweet to each other. If you don’t include a handle (a person’s username following the @ symbol) in the beginning of a tweet, that tweet goes “public,” meaning it will appear in all of your followers’ timelines. (Do keep in mind that all tweets are technically public, and that if someone wants to find them they can.) If you open a tweet with someone’s handle as the very first thing, that tweet goes to that person specifically, and only people following both of you will see it in their timelines. (There’s a brush-up of @ mentions here [3].)

So how do people meet and hang out? They have conversations by tweeting back and forth! That’s really it. To “meet” someone on Twitter, you usually follow someone who looks interesting and tweet to them to say hi, introduce yourself, or comment on something they’ve tweeted. If they’re interested in socializing, they’ll usually follow you back [4] and answer your tweet(s) with their own. A conversation can be slow and ongoing, where each person responds every few hours or days as they happen to get on Twitter, or it can be concentrated and brief if both people happen to be online at the same time.

It might sound overly simple, but that’s really all there is to Twitter. You find people, connect with them, and maintain that connection by occasionally having conversations. Thanks for the question, Abigail, and welcome to Twitter!



What is a good way to get discovered on Twitter?

Barbara McDowell Whitt [5], @BarbaraMcDWhitt [6]

[pullquote]The most reliable way to get discovered on Twitter is to do the discovering.[/pullquote]Hi Barbara! Thanks for this question. I’m going to assume you mean “get discovered by people who want to follow you” and not “get discovered as a writer (by agents and/or editors, etc.).” If you mean the latter, my answer is: I have no idea. (If I did I’d be famous already, jeeze!) But if you mean the former, here are my thoughts.

The best and most reliable way to get discovered by other people on Twitter is to find them first. Seems backwards, doesn’t it? But it’s true; most people find other people by following them back. This is especially true of people who’ve been on Twitter for some time. So if you’re newer and/or interested in broadening your following, the most sure-fire way to get discovered is to find others and engage with them. If you follow someone and open an interesting and friendly conversation, like I mentioned in the question above, they’ll notice you. They’ll check out your profile and see if they think you could be compatible. Then, hopefully, at least some of them will follow you back and engage in a conversation. Voilà: discovered.

Of course, there are other ways to get discovered. One of the most important is by having a thoughtful bio description in your profile. What kind of people do you want to draw? Make your description match that, and choose key words that they might search for to find someone like you. For example, I made sure I have “horror,” “poetry,” and “@WriterUnboxed” in mine. I would like to note that a word does NOT have to be a hashtag [7] to be searchable in your profile description. I don’t recommend cluttering your profile with hashtags.

Speaking of hashtags… they can also be a great way to increase your discoverability. Want to be found by people who like the same things you do? Include a relevant hashtag when you talk about that thing, and they might find you in that hashtag’s timeline. For example, I want to meet other people who are going to the conference I’m attending this weekend, so I’ll be using #WHC2015 a lot over the next few days to help them find me. I’ll also be watching this hashtag timeline to find other people, which circles back to my first point; the most reliable way to get discovered is to do the discovering.



Which brings us to the end and a final note: I’ll be at a writing conference this weekend! (If you’ll be at World Horror Con in Atlanta, please come say hi! I always love meeting fellow Unboxeders!) I’m going to be busy stuffing my brain to capacity with writerly goodness, so I’ll be later than usual responding to your comments here. But please do leave any questions or thoughts you have below, and I’ll read them and respond just as soon as I’m back home and recuperated enough to be coherent. :)

Do you have a question about Twitter that you’d like answered here on Writer Unboxed? You can leave your question in the comments below, fill out this quick, easy online form [8] – there’s an anonymous option if you’re shy – or simply tweet your question with the hashtag #AskAnnieWU [9]. (You can send them to me directly @AnnieNeugebauer [10] as well.) I look forward to getting more of your questions!

How do you meet people on Twitter? What’s the craziest way you’ve been “found”? Extra tips, funny stories, and random ponderings are welcome in the comments below.

About Annie Neugebauer [11]

Annie Neugebauer is a two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author with work appearing and forthcoming in more than a hundred publications, including magazines such as Cemetery Dance, Apex, and Black Static, as well as anthologies such as Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volumes 3 & 4 and #1 Amazon bestsellers Killing It Softly & Fire. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association and a columnist for Writer Unboxed and LitReactor. She's represented by Alec Shane of Writers House. She lives in Texas with two crazy cute cats and a husband who’s exceptionally well-prepared for the zombie apocalypse. You can visit her at www.AnnieNeugebauer.com for news, poems, organizational tools for writers, and more.