Twitter Tuesday #4


Welcome to the fourth installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. This blog will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–The Zombie Tweeter

The Zombie Tweeter is a close cousin of the Self-Centered Twit. This is the Tweeter whose account rises from the dead every couple months, and generally coincides with when this person decides to blog. Feeling badly about neglecting his blog to keyboard dust-bunnies and spam bots…

I so lick your blog. Is beste infermentation ever. Come you see me at

Feeling badly, this Tweeter decides to blog after four months away. He rises from the dead only long enough to announce that he has posted some, “Ramblings about musings” on his blog.

I know things happen. Life can get in the way. But if we only log in once a week or once a month, we cannot expect to get much out of Twitter. Why? We haven’t spent enough time among the living to create relationship. Relationship is the fuel that drives the Twitter engine. The more relationships, the more power.


Twitter Tip–Use the Rule of Three to Create Relationships

Now that we have talked about the Zombie Tweeter who rises every few months from the dead, we have to address the core question, “How much time do I need to spend on Twitter?”

We don’t have to spend all day on Twitter to build a meaningful platform. Even if you only tweet 3-10 times a day, you will be shocked how fast your platform will grow.

It’s all about what you are doing when you’re on Twitter. Are your actions meaningful?

Think of it like going to the gym. We can arrive wearing headband and legwarmers and linger near the juice bar, wander to the treadmill, maybe use some weights, chat with the trainers…and it takes two hours to get a “workout.” Or, we can jump on the Stair Master and crank that baby up until we sweat and have a real workout in 30 minutes. The trick is to focus and intensity. My trainer reminds me of this principle every Monday and Thursday.

On the flip side, we don’t have to work out four hours a day to be fit and healthy. We don’t have to tweet 100 times a day to create a meaningful presence.

For Twitter, I recommend my Rule of 3. Twitter can be broken into three parts–Conversation, Information and Reciprocation. When I get on Twitter, I often will post the link to my blog–Information. Then, I actively look for some piece of information I can RT (retweet)–a fellow writer’s blog, an article, or information about another writer’s book release. RT this kind of content takes care of Information and Reciprocation simultaneously.

Once finished with those, I actively look for someone who might need a cheering up, a word of encouragement, etc. For instance, I scan the #writegoal for a new person I can cheer on or congratulate for making her goal. This is Conversation. Conversation is important. It distinguishes us from the “bots” who are just churning out link after link. Yes, it is okay to talk about the weather or what we are having for breakfast. It helps others have an easy way to start a dialogue. If that is all we talk about? Then we have a problem.

A proper balance of Information, Reciprocation, and Conversation will help you make meaningful connections and give your platform deep roots that will withstand the test of time.


Thanks to K.B. Owen, we have a site with the Top 40 # Hashtags for Writers. K.B. is a loyal reader and commenter, and she went out of her way to find and provide this information. Yay!

Tweet ya later!


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  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Kristen! Happy to help. After all, you’ve taught me all I know about Twitter ;D

    • KerryMeacham on February 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm
    • Reply

    Great socIal network info. I’m not surprised, because it always is.

  2. I just absolutely adore your blog, Kristen. I STILL think about your session at last year’s DFWCon whenever I social network, and every time I read your blog, I want to give you cookies. However, this might negate all that effort with your trainer. Therefore, simply THANK YOU for continually sharing such great information with us. 🙂

  3. The only people I unfollow are those who haven’t tweeted in like six months. Doesn’t seem any point to stay connected with them. I find twitter to be an excellent source of information with at least five or six links clicked on a day for more information.

  4. Love the breakdown of Information, Reciprocation, and Information. That is also going in my notebook of “Great things I learned about Social Media” from your blog! 🙂

    1. Get her book – there’s even more, and then you don’t have to write it down, LOL.

      1. Oh I definitely plan on it!!!

    2. I mean to put Conversation instead of the double Information! LOL. That’s what happens when I try to type and write down things at the same time!

  5. Ok, I admitted in your last post that I can be the horse and buggy person with technology. It just doesn’t come easy to me, so I’m scared to learn it. I am someone who is getting back in the writing habit and have been posting to my blog three times a week. When would you suggest is a good time to log on to twitter? Part of me wants to do it and build this platform, and a part of me is like “I’m not ready!!! I don’t have enough worthwhile to say!” Is it more important to build up your blog first, or do you recommend doing both simultaneously? And this could be too many questions, but do you recommend having separate facebook accounts (personal/professional)? Any advice would be appreciated. Consider me your Twister puppet, right hand blue? Left leg green?

    1. Twitter isn’t nearly as scary as you think is is. Just jump in and splash around a bit. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, then keep quiet until you do. I think you’ll find little things come to mind far more often than you realize.

    2. If you are intimidated by Twitter, feel free to lurk for awhile. I recommend linking up with a chatty friend who can introduce you to other kids on the playground so it isn’t as scary. That’s why in WANA, I tell readers to befriend me…and I MEAN it! @PiperBayard is another writer who is just the Twitter Hostess with the Mostess.

      1. I can attest to that! Piper and Kristen let this cuckoo bird into their nest, for which I am ever grateful!

      2. I just read Piper’s blog and was asking her similar questions. Thanks for the advice! I appreciate the input. I’ll definitely befriend you both when I work up the nerve to log on.

  6. The information you share is so helpful for writers. I think there is a big fear among writers new to Twitter that they’ll make a big “mistake” or come across as weird. Your tips are easy to follow, and I agree, they don’t take much time to implement.

  7. I’m a newbie to Twitter, so it’s comforting to realize that I had pretty much hit on your “Rule of Three” already, by watching what others do. If a person’s Twitter stream is only links, I’m usually not that interested, but if it’s a mix of RTs, links (whether to their own blog or something else), and chatty posts to others and about themselves, I’m happy to follow them.

    One other thing I try to do is something I think you’ve mentioned before: make a point of talking to non-writers. So I have #knitting up as a column in Tweetdeck, and I’ll often check in on a couple of other non-writing-related hashtags. I’ll regularly tweet about that topic or reply to or RT someone else, so that my tweets are balanced between writing-related and other. As a result, while most of my Twitter followers are writers, a fair number of them are knitters (with, I suppose, some overlap).

    Still working on how to present a consistent identity while tweeting on different topics (I don’t have a blog yet, which would help) but I’m glad to hear that I’m on the right track!

  8. What happens when you get no reciprocity? I mean, I’m not going to stop promoting for others just because they don’t for me. In fact, half of the people I “promote” don’t even follow me, because I’m just sharing what I like. So, then, how do I find followers who *want* to help me as much as I want to help them? Hashtag searches only?

    1. Reciprocity generally grows out of conversation. If you take a real interest in the people who follow you, they’ll be more likely to repost your stuff. Not that that’s the only reason you should be friendly but it’s definitely one of the benefits.

    2. I need to move you into a column where I SEE you. Haven’t been on Twitter as much due to book schedule. Just RT and chat with others and eventually others will RT. @PiperBayard is a great supporter of other writers. I know sometimes people will send me a DM as a “tap on the shoulder” to repost for them. I don’t mind if I see this is someone who is actively vested in others (and the blog is quality stuff, too).

  9. Zombie Tweeter, love it! Great info once again. Thanks. (Yeah, that’s all I got, woke up late and my brain has decided to slack off.)

  10. I heart all your posts, Kristin. I learn from every single one. I usually read them in my email box, so I don’t come over and comment, but thanks so much. The hashtag list is especially useful.

  11. Thank you for the hashtag list K.B. Owen!

    i was trying to Tweet every day, but this past week got me with being sick & the blizzard. I need to get back up to speed this week with Twitter & my blog.

  12. Workout example helps a lot. 🙂 However, we have to balance between spending too much time on Twitter and actually getting some work done.

  13. Love all your tips! Haven’t failed me yet! Keeping up with your suggestions is like a part-time job, but the results are the proof. Now I just need to spend some time word-smithing after all this social interaction.

  14. These are very helpful tips! I am currently taking a class called Broadcasting and News Reporting. We had to get Twitter accounts and these are great! I will show my class! Thanks so much!

    Twitter: kfreshbuchholz
    Follow me I will follow you! 🙂

  15. I’ve been religiously reading your blog for some time now and honestly am guilty of all the problems you outline with Twitter. I just don’t get it. This post made the light come through the clouds. My “Aha” moment. Thanks!

    • Tamara LeBlanc on February 9, 2011 at 12:40 am
    • Reply

    Fantastic info Kristin! Loved the gym reference. Examples like those really help put things in perspective.
    Twitter Tuesday ROCKS!

  16. I finally plunged into the world of Twitter (@hbur3234), and I was just wondering today if it was okay to mix personal (it’s freaking freezing outside) with professional (hey, check out this or that blog). Thanks for answering before I even asked the question. 🙂

  17. You. Are. Tweetastic.

    See what I did there? I used periods to separate the words of a sentence. Made it more dramatic. Then I made a random word using a variation of Twitter or Tweet. And it wasn’t even hard.

    That’s how easy Twitter is. And people will talk to me just because of that effort. I think that’s Tweetastic.

    • Katrina Latham on February 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm
    • Reply

    Kristen, I so lick your blog. I lick it a lot.

    I first thought this post would be about discussions of zombies on Twitter, which actually gave me a nightmare one night that I was stuck in the zombie apoloclypse. My husband shuns social media and genre fiction, so when I woke up sobbing, “I dreamt a zombie was eating your chest, and it’s all Twitter’s fault!” he was a little confused.

    Thanks for the hashtags link. Very useful. Thanks for rocking hardcore!

  18. Great article! Thanks for sharing this info.

  19. Concise and to the point, Kristen.

    Your book WANA explains this in much more detail. I would HIGHLY recommend it to any beginning (or seemingly experienced) social media-ite.

  20. I’m sending this to all my I-dont-get-Twitter friends.

    1. LOL… I LOOOOOVE Twitter. You have to get TweetDeck or you won’t get it. Twitter is AWESOME. Thanks for forwarding on the posts :D.

  1. […] Kristen calls her suggestion the Rule of 3′s: […]

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