True confession time. I didn’t create my Twitter account for the purpose of social interaction. There, I said it...or um...wrote it. No, I opened the account for the purpose of selling books. I know. That isn’t something I’m supposed to admit. My presence on social media is supposed to be all about developing relationships, isn’t it? But the honest to God truth is that most authors were on Twitter for the purpose of selling books, and so was I.
When I published my first short story through a now-defunct, small Canadian publisher, one of the first things I did was create a Twitter account for my author profile. Back then, an author was expected to establish a social media presence. That’s what authors did, especially new ones. I still see authors and publishers pushing book promos through social media, so I guess it’s still a thing to do, but I started questioning the effectiveness of marketing books through free social media a long time ago.
Sure, when I first signed on, I met some interesting people through Twitter. That was back when being on Twitter was new and authors actually hung out on their Twitter feed. There was some real-time social interaction. I still maintain some of those early connections I made on Twitter through Facebook.
As the number of people I followed grew, so did the speed of the tweets flying through my feed. There were too many to keep up with, and I couldn’t hang onto one of them long enough to start a conversation.
The people I met were other authors. I never once made a connection with a reader or book blogger through Twitter. Never. I followed authors, and authors followed me. So when I pushed my books over Twitter, I was peddling them to people who were doing the same thing I was doing. Were we even paying attention to each other’s tweets any longer? I don’t think so.
Then, the inevitable happened. I discovered there was a way to automate my Twitter feed. Twitter automation killed real-time interaction amongst authors. I wasn’t there. Just the tweets I had scheduled at the beginning of the week. When I signed on, there was no else there either. Just their tweets. One time, I tweeted, “Is there anybody out there?” I got no answer.
This exercise in futility didn’t sell books. It didn’t gain me any new readers. It didn’t foster new relationships. It was a waste of time. I stopped automating. I stopped popping into Twitter to see what was going on. My feed died from neglect. I almost forgot Twitter existed.
Now, I know there is social interaction on Twitter. I read about it in the news. Every day someone tweets something that someone else disagrees with or finds offensive, and the tweet receives a flurry of angry tweets in reply.
I don’t want anything to do with what spews forth from angry, hateful people on Twitter. For me, use of the medium has lost its intended purpose, and I don’t want to wander into the swamp of dissension that hangs out in other places on Twitter outside of author-land.
So bye-bye, Twitter. I wish I could say it’s been nice knowing you, but for the most part, you’ve been a pain in the butt.