Many of you know about #MyWANA. I started this hashtag for a number of reasons. First, I felt that Twitter was far too full of spam. People needed a place where they could just talk to people and make new friends. Writing is a very lonely business and originally #MyWANA was a place that, when we took a break, we could always count on finding some friendly WANA to talk to. This was very useful for teaching Twitter noobs why Twitter was such a great tool. Some lone writer who had no friends could instantly become part of a community of love and support.
#MyWANA was the Love Revolution.
Lately? I believe Twitter is becoming less and less effective because of various applications like Social Oomph, Hoot Suite, and Triberr. Applications like these have even seriously hurt #MyWANA. These tools promise us this ease of automation, but I feel that people use them to be lazy (Hashtags & The Trouble with Twitter Tribbles). In fact, the link spam has gotten SO BAD on #MyWANA that people no longer go there to hang out, and that, to me, is tragic.
#MyWANA used to be a rare beacon of light on Twitter, and now it looks like every other spam-littered hashtag. Even people who claim to be WANAs have automated link after link after link. They have time to automate link spam on #MyWANA, but not enough time to come and talk to people, and today I am saying, “Enough.”
I’ve been kind and hinted and nudged but today I am reclaiming my hashtag. My hashtag, my rules. I tried being nice, but from this point on I will report and block any automation on #MyWANA. We set up the #WANAblogs hashtag for those who wanted to program using tools. This was to free up #MyWANA for community. Today I am enforcing that. So anyone who has programmed to tweet on #MyWANA, please change that because, as of Monday I will block and report any automation on #MyWANA.
No Love, No Community
Here is the thing, I am really trying to help. #MyWANA doesn’t work if people aren’t on there caring, sharing and connecting. If we all just automate the #, then every tweet becomes white noise, another blast of self-promotion in a sea of me, me, me, me, look at me!
We cannot expect from others what we, ourselves, are unwilling give.
I recall being at Thrillerfest and a fellow writer was trying to convince me why I was wrong about tools. The conversation went something like this.
WOMAN: Yes, but this tool lets me program my tweets throughout the day so that I can tweet while I’m away.
ME: So you’re a bot.
WOMAN: Oh, no. I’m not. I actually write all my tweets. I just program them to tweet throughout the day, like I said.
ME: Okay, but if you tweet and I respond, then no one is there, correct?
WOMAN: Uh, no. No one is there.
ME: And I assume you tweet links to your blog and buy your books?
WOMAN: Yes. Yes, I do.
ME: So you are automating links to read your blogs and buy your books, and the only way that works effectively is if I am actually present on Twitter so I can follow these links. Correct?
ME: So basically you want something from me that you are unwilling to give. You are too busy and important to be on Twitter, whereas I have nothing better to do than to follow your links.
WOMAN: Oh, I see what you mean.
Here is the thing, on social media, less is more. It is actually BETTER for us to only tweet one or two times a day and it be really US than it is to program tweets. Our society is SO inundated with spam that we aren’t helping ourselves with automation. If anything, we are hurting our brand every time we send out an automated tweet. Remember what brand is:
NAME + CONTENT + POSITIVE FEELINGS = BRAND
If every time people see our name float by they associate it with spam, automation and self-promotion, that is BAD. It is estimated that there are 250 billion messages generated every day on the Internet, and 80% of those messages are spam. We have been trained to ignore this stuff, so it doesn’t WORK.
What it Means to Be a WANA
WANAs are different. We believe in service and community. We give first. #MyWANA should reflect that. Originally, when it was a thriving community, people paid attention to the links. Now? We have too many bots in WANA clothing. We should not demand the benefits of WANA unless we act like a WANA.
The way #MyWANA originally worked, we didn’t have to automate because our team went looking for our links to RT. If we had a fellow WANA we knew worked during the day, we would scroll the feed and look to RT it in the morning and afternoon. We served. That is the point of WANA.
Either we are going to rely on our team or bots. We cannot have both.
Anyway, I apologize that it has come to this. I know that, on WANATribe (the social network I started for writers and creative professionals), I have heard many WANAs upset that the #MyWANA is infested with bots. Yes, I want as many people as possible to join WANATribe, but WANATribe has its own unique function. Twitter is a very useful tool, especially if approached the WANA Way so I am unwilling to just abandon #MyWANA and Twitter.
What is the WANA Way?
Service above self. Also, apply the Rule of Three: 1/3 Information (link to your blog), 1/3 Reciprocation (RT for someone else), 1/3 CONVERSATION. This is the one component that is most overlooked, and yet, especially in the Digital Age, when we are so programmed to ignore advertising, this component is the most important.
I am sorry it has come to this. I know there are probably people who have spammed #MyWANA unintentionally. No hard feelings. Just please change that in your automation. I have made clear how I feel about automation, and how I am really against any automation with hashtags, but that is my opinion. I have no say over other #s, but I do have a say over #MyWANA.
As of Monday I will block and report any automation on #MyWANA. I encourage those WANAs who have been grieving the loss of our beloved community to stand up and reclaim territory.
1. Feel free to block any automation on #MyWANA. Feel free to give warning. Maybe send a link to this post.
2. Talk! I have had a lot of WANAs talk to me on Twitter yet not use the #MyWANA. If we don’t use the # then people can’t see or join the interaction.
3. Talk more often. If we will get on there and connect, then we will crowd out the link spam. It doesn’t take that long to hop on and tweet three conversational tweets. “Wow, congratulations on the word count.” “Man, how can I always forget to eat lunch?” “I can’t wait until I can train my cat to fold laundry.”
I have no problems with tweeting a link on #MyWANA if the person tweeting is active and present. I often tweet my blog on #MyWANA but then I immediately start talking so people know I am not a bot. TweetDeck tattles on us, and I can see what tools people are using. If I see Triberr in the #MyWANA feed, I know the person is not present. As of Monday, I start blocking and reporting.
I refuse to follow or RT any automation. I encourage others who want Twitter to be authentic to do the same. Refuse to feed the beast.
Anyway, Happy Friday and I want you guys to feel encouraged. #MyWANA is a fun, enjoyable, supportive place to gather. The only way it will remain that way is if we step up and defend it. I look forward to hanging out again with you at #MyWANA. I genuinely DO care about your lives and want to know you as people.
So what are your thoughts? Have you missed the #MyWANA mojo? Are you frustrated by bots? What are your suggestions?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
***Changing the contest.
It is a lot of work to pick the winners each week. Not that you guys aren’t totally worth it, but with the launch of WANA International and WANATribe I need to streamline. So I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners will now have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of August I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck! Also, I will announce July’s winner probably on Monday. I am just buried in work after being gone most of July.
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.
I’m really glad that you’re deciding to reclaim your hashtag. I think I joined #MyWANA after it had started to overflow with spam, because while I thought the idea was great, I wasn’t seeing so much of the promised community.
I’m looking forward to being able to participate more actively in this Twitter community 😀
Happy to hear this. I quit following #mywana because of all the spam.
I think anyone who has been on the #mywana tag in the past few weeks knows how I feel about all the automation and repetitive “buy me! read me! like me!” tweets. [KILL IT WITH FIRE!]
I’m glad to see that you are taking action – we’ve had a bit of a revival of conversation over there, but I am hoping that hearing it straight from the tags creator/master will compel more people to listen.
I’d go as far as to say that if we are going to tweet links to the #mywana tag – even if we are doing it in real time and conversing – that we should limit how often we do so. And well meaning supportive WANAs should look before they retweet something. If it’s already in the #mywana column, why not retweet it later OR change the tag? Drives me a little nuts when I see five tweets of the SAME link within ten minutes. It actually makes me NOT want to read the post.
Here’s hoping #mywana gets back to what it once was!
KILL IT WITH FIRE!
I miss you.
Awww…Hugs! Thanks for standing with me in the early stages. 🙂
I’m around. Just trying to keep up with my many obligations.
All good points, Kristen. I work hard to promote others and be engaged on Twitter, so when I promote my weekly blog post I’m not spamming. I agree it’s rare to find people on #mywana just to talk about writing or support each other. Looking forward to getting the community back, if it’s possible with the large number of us. We WANAMinions continue to network with each other through our YahooGroup though. 🙂
OK good clarification. I’ve never used tweet automation but I have linked my blog post maybe once a week and I will retweet a writing article or someone else’s blog with the My WANA tag. After awhile this probably seems like link spam though since it’s not real conversation, it’s just sharing links. So I can cut back on that.
There are times I’ve tried to engage in conversation on MYWANA with mixed results; some are great at responding back but others I think are probably those automated tweets.
@Jolyse or anyone else who sees this — is the yahoo group open to new members? I’d love to find a writer’s forum. Thanks!
I didn’t realize Twitter could be a friendly place until I found MyWANA. Genuine chit chat makes is uplifting and can make a bum day beautiful—unlike a slew of bulletin boards. 😉 Thanks for this post!
August has been my role model for this!
Thanks Kristen for keeping us all real. I am a friendly person and the most diffciult thing for me to do is unfollow someone when all i get is automated feeds from them…. so i know how difficult this tough love might have been for you. It is the only way to ensure we all get the point, though, so it is appreciated.
Sorry people are abusing the hashtag. I do use some automated posting for the blog entries, but never use the #MyWANA for that. As you said, it’s a hashtag for people to hold conversations not to promote. I always figured if the blog post was good enough, then someone might share it there, otherwise not from my tags. 😛
Very lovingly stated, Kristen. So glad you’re not going the way of most successful things — selling out. Proud to be with you. Thanks.
silly question: what’s automation– pre scheduled tweets? How will you know who to block (Tweetdeck or Hootsuite users or)? I’m like Amber, I came late to the party and the conversation had trickled– I would love to try again!
Courtney, I’m glad you asked this question. I also came late to the party and couldn’t figure out why Kristen was so enthusiastic about Twitter in her books. I’m glad she’s taking back #MyWANA, But I also want to know how to block bots. Kristen?
If you wish to block bots that spam you personally, there is a button you can click (it depends on what you are using – hootsuite? tweetdeck? etc) that says simply: Block and report spam.
If you need help finding it on whatever Twitter client you are using, feel free to tweet me: @amberwest
Me too… Just last month, 10 days or so, I joined. I don’t know how to do anything.
I stopped viewing #MyWANA — and rarely wrote anything, because of this — definately not feeling the love. I thought I just wasn’t “getting” it. In fact, I rarely go on Twitter because of all the “buy me, buy me, buy me!”
I look forward to actually seeing/talking to the community for the first time.
Thank you Kristen. Thank you, thank you, thank you
YES! Myself as well. I stopped viewing several others as well. Now I’m looking forward to interacting with writers on Twitter again. 🙂
Thank goodness! I used to be a diehard #MyWANA user until I started seeing people spamming it. I recently (very sadly) deleted it from the list of streams I follow on Hootsuite. Now I can add it back! YAY!!!! It especially annoyed me when people who weren’t even WANAs, and had their own agenda to push, used the stream to try and get me to come over to “their side.” Phew. I’ll be happy to report their spam as spam. Thanks, Kristen!! 😀
Way to go, Kristen! Good for you! 😀
I think it’s awesome that you’re reclaiming your #MyWANA hashtag. I picture you up on a horse, wearing Joan of Arc armor, charging into the fray. ;-} Personally, I thought the idea of MyWANA was impressive and inviting, and I think I joined up? Sigh. Keeping track of things is not what I’m best at. Or capable of at all, in fact. But I know I planned to join. Howzat? LOL And I clicked on the hashtag & included it in tweets at first, but as with all things concerning me, my mind wandered off somewhere and never found its way back. And considering how much I long for feedback on my writing, and to have more writers to hang out with, silly me. I shall use the hashtag from now on, and check out all of you cool word-hurlers on a regular basis.
As for some of the things you mentioned — the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 especially — that’s the same rules I have for following back. I check out a new follower’s page & I want to see that they at least occasionally talk with people. WITH, not just TO. And that they share something interesting or helpful. And if they have both, I follow & gladly check out their own links.
I’m not sure I understand the difference between MyWANA and WANATribe. But then, I’m not sure I understand tribes. But anyplace to hang out with fellow writers feels inviting to me. It gets lonely out here.
Oh, and you want talking? As you can see, I never shut up. ;-D
OH DEAR GOD THANK YOU. I’m afraid I kind of gave up on #MyWANA months ago because I just couldn’t see people on there any more. Look forward to chatting on there again!!
Brava, Kristen! I may always have difficulty with Twitter not because you haven’t shown me how to use it because thanks to you I do know but my brain is no longer quick enough, yet there are so many upsides to slowing brain, and I enjoy every one of them, I assure you.
Of late, I have been telling myself to get on Twitter anyway and engage in some actual conversation. This morning, I awakened to tweet love from awesome August McLaughin, and my day took off! Now, your blog post reminding me why I am a WANA! Can this Friday be any better?!?
Thanks so much, Kristen.
I do schedule tweets that I write (they are not all the same) for links to my blog. From my perspective, I am glad that others do that as well so that if they are on at 11 p.m. and I won’t be on until 8 a.m. but they scheduled a tweet then, I can see something that might be useful to me.
BUT I DO NOT use the #MyWANA hashtag for blog posts anymore! I thought someone established a #wanablogs tag for those. And there was one person in particular whom I blocked because there was a tweet going out on #MyWANA almost every hour pushing the author’s book. Seriously, dude? That does NOT make people want to buy your book.
I’m on #MyWANA to connect with people…real, live people. I appreciate the hashtag for that very reason. I do want to see posts from many of them, but if I’m interested, I can click their name, then head to their blog. I’m glad you’re reclaiming your baby. Good for you, Kristen!
There are #s where people expect links and information. They don’t expect community. Want to automate #WANAblogs, go for it! But the link spam has made me hate Twitter, and today I am standing up. #MyWANA was a real joy in my life. Yes, WANATribe is the new child, but I love it differently. I am not willing to give up the first child because people won’t listen to instruction. The #MyWANA mission statement is COMMUNITY.
I don’t know why people feel the need to tweet at a certain time. If I like the information on a #, I scroll DOWN. I would rather have real people tweeting. I ignore anything automated and refuse to promote or RT any of it. But that’s me *shrugs*
I’m a bit torn here…I use hoot suite to post tweets from my fan page because it saves me time. I also go on hoot suite and use it to chat with people, however, the larger my fan base becomes the less time I seem to have to chat with everyone. I don’t post “buy me” crap because it gets you nowhere and it’s really annoying. When I’m offering my book in a promo, I just inform the fans.
Am I missing the point here? You mentioned the conversation with another writer at Thrillerfest, and obviously it seems they are tweeting just to tweet. But what about those that use it as a helper because they just can’t be everywhere all the time and actually complete their next novel?
Oh right…*blushes* thanks for using my pic on your blog post! My nephew found it on the beach and gave it to me, the little sweetie that he is. 🙂
The thing is, the tools themselves are not bad/evil. The problem is that people are using it as a substitute for interaction. My honest opinion? I think anything automated is invisible so it really isn’t helping you. Your posts would have MUCH more impact and resonance if you posted yourself. We actually don’t have to be on social media THAT much to be effective. Mega-Author James Rollins is a WANA. He tweets only a handful of times a week, but when he does, WE SEE HIM.
Wow. I’d basically deleted #MyWana from my TweetDeck follow/column. I do use Triberr (when I can get it to work!) but without hashtags. Like any tool, it’s only as good as the user’s ability and can be abused.
Kristen, I thought that I was the only one who had “winners” never claim prizes. That makes me wonder about how helpful making such offers might be. I suppose it does make me/you look good and altruistic, but I would love to hear from folks how often they actually enter contests and look forward to receiving the award? Hmnnn, perhaps a topic for another blog.
Several years ago, when I was writing erotica under another name, many of us would give away free books or swag when it was our turn on the publisher blog, or if we had a group blog or guest blog going. But it wasn’t mandatory, nor did every author participate. What ended up happening was that either the same people would keep showing up and winning (entered by commenting under multiple accounts, which wasn’t against the rules, but not in the spirit, either), people would only comment on posts with a giveaway, and eventually, we pinged the radar of the contest junkie people–groups of people whose actual day jobs were to enter contests of all sorts.
As a result, those of us who pow-wowed about it got to thinking that the contests were neither rewarding readers who’d gifted us with a chance to entertain them, nor were they attracting new readers who needed an incentive to take a chance on new authors. My experience has been that there’s definitely a diminishing return over time.
Most of my posts are “hey, I found something interesting myWANA peeps, check it out” or “I wrote something interesting on my blog, myWANA peeps might want to check it out” unless they’re RTs of something I think is worth spreading the word about (and I rarely RT with hashtags). I can’t follow long conversations on Twitter, even with hashtags. Even short ones take several hours as I’m frequently on for five minutes, then off for hours, then on again while I’m waiting in line at the grocery or something.
I end up using “regular twitter” on my phone bc Tweetdeck always crashes, so I can only speak for that, but you can now “expand” a conversation and it will show you who replied to a specific tweet. IF it’s a more ofa chat where everyone is just chiming in it doesn’t work but if I tweet a question and you reply back to me, I can hit expand and see your reponse and my question together. This might help you follow along better.
Judging by the comments, a lot of us stopped following the hashtag around the same time. I love your twitter formula. Ironically, I’m very good at the conversation part (likely 90% of what I send out is that), and I am less good at the RT and the Info stuff. Sigh.
We probably both need new iPhones. Or something.
I need to start watching #MyWANA more closely.
I’m guilty of sharing a couple of posts with the hashtag #MyWANA, I’m not sure if that counts as automation (as I’m refraining from doing a lot of blog promotion in one day) but I probably shouldn’t be using it like that, even if I think the article might be of some help.
Hmm, I’ve never used a feed delivery system for my tweets. I like conversations and if someone comes up with a good idea like #writersbutt or #1kwaday then I follow the conversations in a column on tweetdeck. Twitter does my head in with the amount of spam on there and it’s only recently I’ve started engaging with new peeps again but I’m careful. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been stung by a ‘since you’re now my friend read my book’ and it drives me nuts. I only re-tweet if something’s caught my eye and I think it might be useful.
Okay, I’m back in too and will check out the new look #mywana.
I didn’t know about the Twitter Hashtag. I’m going to have to check that out. I just started reading your blog. I love all the awesome information. Thank you
So glad you brought up this issue and are tackling it like a linebacker. Although the mojo isn’t totally gone, it’s definitely not at full mojoness and I miss it!
Great post, as usual..
Just gotta say brava, brava, brava. I’m not a huge twitterer, but I’ve kept a presence there. I haven’t #MyWANAed very frequently, because I am such a casual user. Twitter is a drop by place for me, not a hang out place. But I really do appreciate what you are doing for the blogging community and I think you are taking the right step in this situation. The good thing is, I’m not digitally sophisticated enough to be a bot, so when I do drop by, it’s just me.
Hip hip hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You go! After all. What is social media without the social aspect? It’s just spam.
I vow to post something to #mywana at least once per day and respond to at least 5 posts per day. I will also only post links to blogs that I have read and enjoyed and want to share with all my lovely wana friends!!
I checked #mywana today and it was so full of RT’s I couldn’t find anyone to respond to- can’t wait for the fun to begin!
First off, thank you for this. Back when you “asked nicely” I stopped sending tweets to MyWANA except when I was present. Even tried to start conversations at times, but when only the spam answers you, well, you stop trying. Sadly, I removed the MyWANA column from all my versions of Tweetdeck a couple of months ago, it just wasn’t worth watching. With the exception of Triberr (and I’m trying to find a way around that one as well) I’ve stopped automating tweets. No, I’m not always on Tweetdeck when I RT posts, but I am always at my system with Twitter open and my cell close by (which has TD on it and always active) so if anyone tweets me I’ll see it.
I think now it will be possible to shift that once again and I’m looking forward to hanging out on MyWANA and getting to talk to actual people again. Man have I missed that.
So, Kristen, from me to you – I’ll help put this back together and I’ll commit that from today forward, no more automated tweets in any form. Thanks so much for always being a firm and progressively minded person that we count on to lead the way. I hope that we all aspire to the same.
For the first time, I am being rewarded for being a techno idiot! I could never figure out Triberr. Or even how to time posts on TweetDeck! If it’s a tweet from me, it’s because I love the piece. And I don’t automatically tweet everything. Just the most awesome sauce stuff.
So glad you are getting rid of the bots. It has made it harder to connect with real people!
I never knew I was supposed to use the WANA hashtag if I’m just chatting with someone. That seems weird. I don’t know why. I know anyone can bop in at anytime, but somehow thatI feels like I’d be abusing the tag. Hmmmm. Will think on that.
Anyway, excited to get back to real people behind real tweets!
It allows us to jump into the conversation. If it is something where you don’t mind joiners, then use the #MyWANA. Otherwise it becomes all links :X.
#Duh! Of course. I didn’t want to overuse the hashtag. So glad you are doing this! Brilliant.
I must admit, I gave up on #MyWANA and twitter in general, for this very reason. So much self-promotion…it felt like standing in a crowded room while every person there was shouting his or her name, not in conversation but competition. I hope this works. I’d like to give it another try.
I did not know you could schedule tweets with tweet deck. LOL so didn’t make that mistake. I use Triberr, but do NOT use hashtags and edit any posts that do! Excited to see #mywana come back. I’ve commented to people and sometimes got a response. And sometimes not. It kind of makes you hesitate to chat when you don’t get a response. I only ever send links to #mywana that I think people might find interesting and I don’t even send my blog to wanablogs. I guess I’ve still got new girl-itis. I have “met” some awesome people through WANA though and am so grateful for all I’m learning and yes, the community.
I’ve actually cut way back on my use of hashtags at all. I was trying to follow so many, it got a bit overwhelming, but I still look for interesting stuff and funny conversations. I don’t always join in, because some seem private. I get a kick out of Will Wheaton’s tweets, for instance, but wouldn’t dare jump in there. But if I find neat stuff, I do try to share it. Maybe you need to add another hashtag? #wanacoolstuff? Cause I’m never sure if the stuff I find should go to the blog hashtag because it is a blog, even though its not mine. I have found so much great information in the WANA community, both here and inside the hashtag. Thank you so very much!
I hope this works, Kristen! You know my thoughts on Triberr (I don’t want to have to change my online behavior just to get Bones, thank you very much), so I never did that. But tons of other people have, and it pisses me off to be honest–especially when these same people say they don’t actually read the links they send out.
Let me make one thing clear. I tweet a lot of links. I use the #MyWANA hashtag. However, 99% of those tweets are live, and I read every single link I tweet. I tweet links because I’m trying to be helpful to others. How can I know if a link is helpful if I haven’t read it??? (Yes, this gets me *grr*. 🙂 )
Those who tweets links they don’t read, don’t care about, and don’t support are making EVERYONE who tweets a lot of links look bad. But there’s a real difference between tweeting links to be supportive to a friend (which I do occasionally, usually in a congratulations context) and tweeting links I found to be helpful to my followers or those on the hashtags (which applies to the majority of my tweeted links).
I do two scheduled tweets a week when my blog posts first go live (just because I’m in the Pacific Time Zone and I *know* people want to hear when my posts go up early in the Eastern Time Zone). Two tweets a week, and I’m really not organized enough to do more than that. 🙂 And I’d be fine if you want me to change the hashtag on those to #WANAblogs too–just let me know. 🙂
Now I will say that I’m bad about remembering the #MyWANA hashtag for general conversation. Bad me. I’ll try to work on that. 😀
I’m so glad you’re taking a stand against bots. I post all my tweets individually in real time and encourage readers to do the same. It’s time consuming, but that’s how to get conversations going. I try to only tweet stuff that will be useful. I hope I haven’t tweeted to the WANAs more often than I should.
It’s getting bad just about everywhere. Thanks for the stance. I use Tweetdeck, but I don’t automate tweets from there. I only use it to follow a bunch of conversations in one location. Keep up the great work, please don’t get too frustrated, you’re helping lots of people.
Thanks for addressing this issue. I’ve dropped off planet Twitter because of this. Life is busy and difficult, why should I spend time trying to interact with bots or slush through all the spam? I don’t know if I will return to Twitter land, but I’m glad you’re taking a strong stand against it. And I love your philosophy, so maybe I’ll try again.
Kristen, I am thrilled that you are doing this. It was the #myWANA tag that provided me with an amazing community of writers and friends a year ago, and it’s been really distressing to see how it’s just been overrun with links and spam. I miss seeing the active conversations on Tweetdeck, getting the chance to meet new people and to learn something new. So this move gets a big “yay” from me!
I’m so glad you’re taking it back! It’s sad that so many people just send out automated link tweets with the MyWANA hashtag rather than trying to connect with other writers, readers, and just people in general! I hope you succeed in this, and I’m sure many of us will lend you our assistance!
Kristen, this is good of you to do. I just joined Twitter about a week ago so I don’t understand it all, but you’re on my fee (i follow you) and I can understand how frustrating it would to have the automation get in the way. Good on you for taking back your turf. I experienced some bot craziness myself this week when I wrote a humorous list about the spam comments and embedded them in the post. The WordPress spam filter caught the content and automatically suspended my blog. HORRORS! I was totally bummed out, but I contacted them and they had a human perform a review of my site and saw that I wasn’t selling E.D. meds or dry dog food. I learned a lot about myself though… Most notably that vanity is bad, but believing it is worse. I am grateful. Stay humble. 🙂
I wish I had a rubber stamp that says, “THIS!” You hit the nail right on the head. 🙂 Thank you!
Kristen, I blush to admit I didn’t know about the WANAblogs hashtag *hangs head in shame*. I did add the MyWANA hashtag on two or three blog posts, but I won’t do that anymore.
I have been frustrated by trying to start a conversation and hearing nothing back. Brava to you for reclaiming your hashtag!
I see I’m not the only one that didn’t know about the #wanablogs hashtag or that #mywana was just for conversation. I also use it to share helpful resources for writers. Good stuff that I enjoy and I think others will find useful. Not to spam or simply self-promote, although I have used sometimes it for my writing link round ups as well.
I agree with you, Kristin, that the hashtag is yours and you can deem how it’s used. While I understand your perspective on automated services, I do use Buffer. It saves me time and helps me share writing links at any time. I’m not a full-time writer. I also have a a child and am finishing up school so it saves me a lot of time.
Not to mention the fact that I hate it when someone’s tweets floods my stream so I don’t want to do that to someone else. Also, I happily click on interesting automated links so that’s why I don’t see a problem with it. That said, I also spend time on Twitter myself interacting and conversing.
However, I hope no one feels badly as I did for a bit for using Buffer to help manage social media and make more time for the conversing.
I still think it’s awesome that the #mywana tag will now be for connecting way more easily with my fellow writers. While I don’t feel I was abusing it, I guess others were.
Some people were using the tools like Triberr, but still being mindful to get on and converse. But even those people were getting crowded out by the link spam. I know people are busy. I run a business with 40 instructors, blog 3 times a week and have a 2 and a half year old at home full-time. I get being busy. But busy as I am I have never found it useful to lean on automation. Automation with #s is just a BAD idea and it can go crazy too easily. Thanks for the comment. All of us can end up abusing a social site and no harm no foul. People just now need to change habits or they will be reported *shrugs*.
Great post, Kristen. Good for you for protecting your baby. Forgive me for not knowing all there is to know about Twitter, but please tell me, if I include MyWANA in my bio (following a hashtag) to demonstrate my pride in the community, does this interfere with the whole “bot” thing you’re trying to prevent? I’m happy to remove it if it does, but if it’s merely akin to wearing school colors, then I’ll leave it. Please drop me a line and let me know your preference on this matter.
That should be fine. I really even didn’t mind people using the tools IF they ALSO took time to go talk on #MyWANA. It would have balanced it out and, if done correctly, no one would have known the blogs were automated. But, sigh, the link spam just got to be TOO MUCH.
Kristen, whatever you do, don’t lose hope. It’s really important. We, your followers, take great cheer from your spirit.
One of the reasons I believe in your example and accept your guidance is because I can feel it comes from the right place.
I published my website yesterday (long time coming!), and I am really happy about the fact that as an unpublished author, I don’t have a single exhortation to buy on my site. For now it is just purely sharing my writing joy with the world. On my website, I include links to you, and WANAtribe. Writing peeps have been asking, I like this, can I borrow it? I say, this is what we’re all here for, as an online community, just as we would be if we were face to face; to support, help, and to share with one another!
YES. I’ve been slowly losing interest in Twitter, overall, because of the endless spam. It was so much fun when I first signed on and I made great friends, but it seems like that ship has sailed. I’m glad you’re stopping the madness on MyWANA. It’ll be nice to have ONE column in Tweetdeck with real people in it.
Kudos to you Kristen for sticking to your values and setting things straight on #MyWana. I don’t use any automated tweets and never did develop a friendship with Triberr so just packed that one in altogether. Is it all right for us to use #MyWana when we tweet a blog post or something we want to share with the WANA group or would you rather we didn’t?
I am thrilled and proud to be a WANA!! Even more so after this post. I support you one hundred percent, Kristen!!!
Down with bots, spammers, and the “LOOK AT ME’s, READ ME’s & BUY ME’s,”out there.
They are only hurting themselves. I block them ruthlessly!
Thank you for fighting to make #MyWANA a supportive, fun and informative place to gather.
I agree with the KUDOS, Kristen. I include #myWANA and #WANA112 in tweets that promo blogs I think are worthwhile and might be of interest.
Here’s where I get hung up. It’s the ongoing chats. There have been several (many? most?) times I’ve promoted other blogs (yours included) with a personal comment on something that popped my kettle corn–wording or the message in the post. When I get a response from the blog owner, I look at it and then *poof* drop the chat.
I came. I complimented. I shared. Kristen noticed and replied. I do little with Twitter chat threads and now assume I’m missing a lot by not being part of the true #myWANA community.
At least, when you see a post from me, it’s real. I’m on the other end of the tweet. The problem? I hang up.
Thank you Kristen!!!! I am jumping up and down in the Bounce house out front of Jenny’s house! (They left it out there. Pretty nice, huh?) LOL! I hate, hate, hate spam bots. Can you tell how much I really hate spam bots? Let’s all help take back #mywana! 🙂
I’m so glad you are doing this. I used to tweet on #myWANA a long long time ago but everytime I check in on the hashtag it is just spam so I never bother with it anymore. I look forward to getting back to #myWANA. Reading this blog has taught me a lot. A year ago or more when I started on twitter, I used to spam links to my book although I never used an automation program (I still only go on twitter on the web or my phone app). I didn’t know what to do on twitter except share my links in an attempt to market as a new author. Now things have changed and I am just me on twitter. Socializing, RTing stuff and occasionally linking to my stuff. Thanks for everything you’ve taught us.
A fantastic reminder of what it’s all about. I don’t automate, but I have been guilty of just sending links to #MyWANA, mainly because that’s all I seem to see in there…But when I think about it, the tweets I automatically respond to and engage with are more conversational – and that connection then leads to clicking on people’s links. So, apologies for contributing to the spam botish behaviour. I will reform my ways along the lines of do unto others…
I’ve seem #myWana in your tweet stream and never really understood what was going on. Then this.
I still haven’t read the original (where WANA came from), but maybe I’ll go looking. Will school starting this month I’ve been thinking about connection and trying to discern if I’ve got enough oomph to try and find my place in another community…
Good for you to reclaim the hashtag. Haven’t been on Twitter much this summer at all, but am still confused by the hashtag/conversation thing. I don’t seem to be able to keep up. If you bring MyWANA back, I feel it would be a safe place to try to figure it all out. I still haven’t made it back to the WANATribe since signing up. So hoping for a little more “free” time when the kids are in school. Thanks Kristen for always being so honest. Love your book BTW!
I’m so glad you’re claiming it back Kristen! It’s very disheartening to see the conversations getting drowned out by bots. As you say it’s your hashtag, therefore your rules. Thanks for also mentioning the rules of three – not being on #MyWANA that often (until now), it’s a great reminder.
I can now take comfort in the fact that I wouldn’t know how to use automation even if I tried. So in this case, ignorance can be bliss! 😉
I would say that I agree with you about 75%.
I totally agree that your hashtag is yours and you should absolutely run it as you see fit.
What I don’t totally agree with is that all automated tweets (NOT with your group/ hashtag) are bad. I do this because I have friends all over the world. I would hate to exclude certain timezones of people just because I’m not a robot, and therefore need to do things like eat and sleep. I personally have found that it works out, because if someone RTs or replies to those posts (generally quotes, jokes, quips, or whatever randomness I find), I make every attempt to get back to them. No, it isn’t an instant conversation- and on that point I do agree with you. However, I spent my youth as someone with 30 to 60 penpals at any given time. We didn’t have instant conversations. We hand-wrote letters back and forth, generally only hearing from one another four to seven times a year. Here’s the thing- I am still close with several of them! My Australian friend (who has since vacationed at my home in her travels) and I will leave each other messages on Facebook, knowing fully well the other person isn’t there right now, but will reply once they see it.
There can be an upside to Twitter being used like an instant message program, but I also have enjoyed using it as a message board. I would like to have more conversations with people, but I know that I rarely keep the same hours as my friends. I’m part of another group of authors that schedules tweets for each other. We may not talk as often as those with your hashtag, yet I still feel a bond to them. I feel I could write a message with an @name to any one of them, and they would reply in time.
That’s just my point of view. I don’t refuse to RT an automated joke/writing-tip/quote/etc if I find it interesting. Instead, I celebrate that I saw something that held my interest for the precious seconds it took to view the tweet. I also have no objections to scheduled shoutouts- I’m just grateful that someone thought of me for half a second. I don’t feel like a bot when I try to entertain people who have a different schedule than I do. Really that’s just me though.
I had noticed on #MyWana that plenty of the users seemed not to have got your point. Well done for reclaiming it; use the sawzall. I have met people who are now friends on #MyWana, and I also have a creepy follower who constantly tweets my name with exhortations to follow me (I now realise it is a bot). It has the opposite effect, I’m sure.
As someone who is VERY new to Twitter, not yet a week, I have no idea what most of this is about. I didn’t know you could automate tweets. I do see some which pop up regularly and seem to have the same info in them: are they automated?
But I have found the WANA website as a result of reading your blog, and I have even found time to read some of it, though not yet registered.
And I really do understand the importance of Tribe. I have lots of friends and don’t get me wrong, I long them all dearly, but none of them understand a thing about why I write, why I am so absorbed in what I write and if I need somewhere to bounce a thought, or idea, or just to vent, they are not the best place to go. At least, not if I want to keep them!
Tribe is the single best reason I have for deciding to blog, to investigate other blogs, for commenting and even for joining Twitter.
Why would anyone even consider automated tweets?
It’ good you’re taking it back. Good for you.
A note on the automation side of things. I use Buffer for most of my Tweets so they spread out over the day. I share quite a lot of links (around 15-20 per day), but this usually comes in two main losts. Using Buffer allows me to spread these ‘shares’ out. Rather than throwing 20 Tweets on my wall within 10 minutes or so.
I also auto a couple of my Posts each day using Hootsuite. This is just so I can spread them out a little. I get Twitter on my phone, though, so I can engage with people live.
I aggree that people abuse automation software, but it can be used to good effect. For me, a service like Buffer helps my Twitter activity because it allows me to spread things out. I sometimes go on my Twitter feed and see 20 tweets from one person and it annoys me a little.
Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)
A word of caution, Kristen… seeing “sent from Hootsuite” in someone’s tweet does not necessarily mean they are not tweeting live.
I use Hootsuite to view hashtags I like in separate columns across the browser window, so I can have separate columns for #myWANA, #amwriting, #selfpublishing etc etc and see what’s going on in those conversations and if there’s anything I want to interact with or RT. Therefore, if I tweet, LIVE, in response to a hashtag conversation, it will almost always say “sent from Hootsuite”. I can assure you I am not a robot (although there is a little bit of metal in my teeth… 😉 )
I also often use the “hootlet” app in my browser to tweet a useful/interesting article I find, when the site doesn’t have a “tweet this” button. This saves me cutting and pasting the link, typing up a title, and hunting for the person’s Twitter handle (the hootlet usually sucks that out of the site for me somehow — and I like to give credit where it’s due). These tweets will also say “sent from Hootsuite”.
Yes, I do sometimes schedule tweets, because I’m on the other side of the world from the majority of my followers. Yes, I often tweet links, either scheduled or live, but only if I’ve actually read the article and think it’s something that will help or inspire my followers. But many of my live interactions will also say “sent from Hootsuite”.
You have a lot of influence, Kristen. Please don’t create a situation whereby people equate “sent from Hootsuite” with “spammer”.
I went to the #mywanna hashtag a couple times recently and it was “buy my book me me me” and I know that’s not what you intended and wanted. I had to wade through to find what I was looking for – something to share in my twitter feed that I found interesting and thought others would.
Wading through tweety updates takes time, and time is what I’m covetous of a lot more lately. I find I’m bored with twitter more often than not, or frustrated with it, because I have to wade wade wade.
I’m one of those who doesn’t tweet often – usually I go by maybe twice a day — I try to post an update in the morning and though I’m an author, I rarely post about my books unless I have some news – and frankly, now I’m almost afraid to post anything about my books or about me! I’m become so sensitive to it, so afraid someone will think me a Spamming Author, that I shy away from it more times than not. I posted a link to a youtube vid I did because I thought myself so clever *laughing* and as soon as I did it, my stomach quivered “will people think I’m a Spauther–spamming author?” I try to retweet interesting updates I see to share them. I have eclectic interests and followers so it could be just about anything.
I’m so off the Twitter radar….it overwhelms me. to the point where I don’t even go on anymore, and I know I should. It’s just that you have to pick and choose where your time is going to be of any use. I suppose I’m going to have to figure all this out!
I don’t use bots. I don’t think they give the personal touch enough. But I do think they can be useful if you live the other side of the world and want to say hello to people on the other side and on your side. That way you get to reach everyone. When I Tweet, it’s usually about what I have just done on my writing, and I RT someone else’s if I find it interesting, and now and then I might get into conversation with someone I know, usually another writer.
Someone earlier mentioned warrior writers yahoo group — is this open to new members? I’m a bit of a forum junkie and I’ve yet to connect with a writing forum.
Kristen. Amen! I have pretty much given up on Twitter because of all the spam. To quote another newbie, “I spent fifteen minutes scrolling for a conversation to join.” That is what I was looking to Twitter for, a chance to connect to others with similar interests, writing, and have a chance to socialize. I would love to join MyWanna. ( I don’t even know how to automate tweets and have no desire to, promise!) How do I join? I have no idea how to use hashtags, and had no idea what they were used for.
Just whenever you tweet, add #MyWANA to the end and you will pop up in the feed. I recommend downloading tweet deck and then when you tweet with #MyWANA, just click on the #MyWANA and a new column will appear and you will see everyone appear…then start talking and making friends :D.
I have to admit that I wonder if Twitter really cares about spam. Several of the worst offenders have been reported and I’ve blocked them, but they keep showing up. It honestly makes me want to not deal with Twitter completely and just use the Ning.
I did suggest that maybe the discussion hashtag could change regularly, so spammers would lose their platform of readers. Most of them don’t pay any attention to WANATribe, I’m pretty sure. Some of them probably don’t even know it exists.
I keep deleting Luis Vuitton 813. I think we just need to be diligent. If we work together and block them they will go away. Too many people don’t report them and I imaging that Twitter waits until it has a number of complaints before suspending a member.
So sorry! I’ve never used an automated tweet (I don’t even know how to do it), but I often include the WANA hastag when I tweet links to blog posts I’ve really liked or blog posts I’ve written. I’m totally guilty of not investing in the community via conversation. Totally my bad, Kristen!
Awesome news! Look forward to joining more conversations on #MyWana.
Good onya, Kristen! I don’t have bunches of time to converse on Twitter, but when I do, I always pop over to #myWANA. It’s been harder to sift through the bots in recent months, tho. Hopefully it will clear up.
I was a big fan of Triberr at first, but a couple weeks ago I was looking at my Twitter profile…and it looks like a bot’s. Since I’m not able to spend a whole lot of time on Twitter, but it’s easy as pie to click ‘approve’ on Triberr, the real Myndi got lost in the shuffle of all those blogs. It’s a tough balance, ’cause I want to promote and love on my fellow WANA-ites, but by doing it through Triberr I think I’m losing my relevancy to anybody who may have followed me on Twitter. I don’t come across as a person any more. Which is really disturbing, because robots scare the shiza out of me. Have I become what I fear?? *goofy grin* Time for a change, perhaps.
Anyway, this post was great. Love ya, sweet girl. <3 Myn
All good with me Kristen. Twitter is great, no doubt about it, but the automation is killing it. Perhaps Twitter itself could take a leaf out of your book. It would save them a lot of traffic overhead I would think.
ONE thing, small though it be … I’m assuming it’s random, but funny in a way … The Google Ad at the end of this blog is “Automation anywhere – web or applications”!! I had to do a ‘double take’ on that one. I was looking for a bit of ‘Kristen sarcasm’ somewhere, but no, it’s a genuine ad.
Search Engine Optimisation at its ‘best’?
Where is that? I’d kill it for sure.
I tried Triberr for a while. The tribe was supposed to be urban fantasy, but had a mishmash of interests. I was having to tweet links that had nothing to do with what I do or what interests me. Sometimes I found the links actively distasteful. So I started a Facebook group with friends of mutual interests (speculative fiction), where we talk to each other and share ideas and, by the way, tweet each other’s links. I tried to get my group interested in tweeting each other in real time, too, but no one could stand the spam on Twitter.
Oops, I meant to put the above under the previous comment.
I just stopped using the tag. It wasn’t fun anymore. 🙂
I just found #MyWana and am glad you’re getting rid of bots. I like chatting with other writers! My only problem is forgetting to add the hashtag. I keep getting on myself about that though, promise.
I also just figured out how to put the hashtag search up in my tweetdeck. I just started Twitter btw.
I very new to twitter and I’ve been trying to not get overwhelmed. I love the idea of have a real conversation. I don’t tweet much because I don’t think I have much that’s of great interest to report. Following some of the conversations I’m learned so much and am very willing to help other writers but at this point I’m not sure how I can help.
Apparently I’m new to grammar. That should have read, I’m very new to twitter and I’ve been trying to not get overwhelmed. I love the idea of having a real conversation. Spelling was never my strong suit and obviously neither is proofreading.
It doesn’t matter HOW many times you proof read something, the grammar gremlin will eventually get you.
A few years ago I worked on a year book for a prestigious girls school. Every teacher was tasked with checking their students’ input, and their other areas of responsibility. The whole thing was then corrected and re-read (more than once btw), all by quite gifted teachers and staff … and ultimately approved.
My bosses daughter, happened to be in at work when the job was finally being packed for distribution. She strolled over to have a look at the new book, picked it up, and without even opening the thing said ‘woah, nice typo’! The type around the school logo, on the cover of all places, was incorrect!
It was in Latin, which I cannot read (unfortunately), so I grabbed that excuse and ran with it.
I am so with you Kristen – we need to build community not destroy it with automation. To meet & share with new people is one of my mandates. Stick to your guns the WANA will be stronger for it.
Great conversation, I hope the lady changed her attitude to automated tweets, I like the randomness of tweeting, seeing who is online when I happen to be, tweets without the person are like statues in the room trying to convince you they are real. And just like a visit to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, they can fool us once, but after a while its very clear the difference between an interaction between a warm friendly human and a lifeless automated message.
I’ve only just come across #MyWana through this post. I mostly follow writers, but was getting very very tired of all the sales tweets. I started my own list – writers-no promos, but that takes a long time to build. So, please, go ahead and get rids of the bots and automation on #MyWana and I’ll definitely be there, reading and tweeting.
You’re reporting people who respond using HOOTSUITE? That’s insane. Most of us use Hootsuite to read and post LIVE.
Guess I’ll be staying away.
No. I never said that. I said I would report Triberr because there is no way to tweet and respond live on Triberr. I also said I would report spammers. I use Tweet Deck which is a similar tool. But we have people who tweet the same link over and over and over and I have a right to boot that off my hashtag.
Love this post Kristen and the way you tell it like it is. I often retweet spirit poet as I love his stuff as it is so inspirational. One day I sent him a direct message and said ‘Are you a spam bot’ guess what no reply. I like the personal connection the silly comments that brigten my day.
Reblogged this on A Common Sea.
I’m just finding your blog through another one and I’m very intrigued. I like the philosophy of this, and I’m not on twitter for the very reasons you talk about here. It seems so self-absorbed. I have a blog and fb page, I just joined pinterest b/c I’m always looking for new ideas, but within the three things, I think that’s enough “look at me.” I would like to “join” WANA, if that’s the word, but I’m not real clear on what that does. do I need a new “page” on which to write, or can I just link my blog here? I appreciate the service component here. I want my writing to serve a purpose, not just give a forum to my rambling. I hope to hear from you through my email. You have a lot of comment here and it would be hard to sift through to find a reply here. Thank you!
WANA is just a frame of mind. We are a community of creative people who talk, share, network and support. Join us on WANATribe (basically FB for writers) or when you tweet just add #MyWANA to the end and we will see your tweet. Then follow the #MyWANA. Click the link on this post and there is a walk-through of how to do that.
I’m a fairly recent member of WANA, who is still trying to figure it all out. For some reason I’ve found it all very confusing, though admittedly real life hasn’t left me much time to explore the website and meet people. My years of joining Internet-based communities is that it’s difficult and time consuming to know and become known to other people. I’ve rarely been successful at it.
And I’m not on Twitter, so all of that in your post is gobbledygook to me. I’ve resisted it since it is blocked at work, and my evenings are taken up with writing and publishing tasks, leaving little time for one more social media.
I will figure out a way to work this into a blog post, including links to this blog and book.
You don’t need to join everything. The reason I encourage you to plug into WANA is then you don’t have to do everything alone. Having a community and a team to rely on really helps. If you aren’t already on Twitter, don’t feel pressured to add it. I like Twitter because it is our best method of reaching out to NEW people and also helps direct traffic to our blogs, books, etc. Thing is, if we don’t spend any time talking to people and creating relationships, we get very limited benefit.
Great post. Thinks its a v. good idea.
I live in the Uk so time zones can be an issue – esp. The west coast , but if it’s not meaningful interaction why bother.
There is another group, trying to emulate you (it seems) that constantly “bots” the #mywana forum… Irritates me FOR you.
I can see the difference already — reported one person who has been a consistent spammer. Nice lady, but honestly, she needs to stop selling her business on the list. Too many book-related hashtags are overwhelmed with Twitter zombies — people mindlessly sending out links to be present. I’ve been unfollowing people via Twit Cleaner who send out too many links and RTs.
I also looked at my tweets and made some changes — and the results surprised me. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades — I can have lots of interests. As a result, when I looked at my timeline, the tweets look unfocused (but then I write like that, too). I had been sending about 7 timed tweets through the day of links, quotes, and RTs, plus the replies. Most often, if it was a blog, I just used the title and added a comment sometimes. Instead, I cut it to 4 tweets, with a focus on two things: 1) Simplifying and staying on message. 2) Crafting a comment to go with the tweet, rather than using the title. The rest of the tweets have been comments back and forth with people. For the last six months, I’ve hovered at the same follower numbers, and in the week I changed my tweets, I’ve probably added 50 people.
Go for it! Stand your ground! I tend to avoid Twitter because it just seems like people promoting themselves, which…sorry I don’t have time to read every blog post advertised on my feed. I don’t go to Twitter to click over to something else. Otherwise, why Twitter at all… I’m glad you are reclaiming your hashtag and you’ve inspired me to give Twitter a second chance. Hope ot see you there.
Spam and bots are the reasons I avoid Twitter. But you are right, it could be such an amazing place if not for them. I am looking forward to interacting more with #MyWANA on Twitter!! Yay!!
Plus I’m so super excited about posting some photos to the wana commons on Flickr!
You are one fantastic lady, Kristen!
It’s such a shame when people get lazy over their tweets, which is essentially what the automation posts. That’s one of the reasons why my auto-posts from wordpress don’t contain hashtags; I don’t think it’s fair.
I haven’t used the #MyWANA tag very much because I haven’t really had the time to use it as I should. I hope, as time goes on for me that i’ll be able to use it again and that the tag returns to the community you are trying so hard to create.