• Twitter is For Real

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments 7 comments

    In 2009 I heard that during the State of the Union speech, several Senators were twittering to each other.  I found that pretty astonishing – distinguished old guys tweeting.  I took a look at Twitter, and initially found it the most time wasting thing I’d ever seen.  I just didn’t see any point.

    Then I looked more closely and began to study Twitter.  I’ll admit freely, I learned a lot from a San Diego State student named Nate who had a social media website (no longer there).  The first thing he emphasized was “social” – never forget that word in looking at Twitter.  If you introduced yourself by trying to sell people something, they would quickly discount you.  It was best to connect and network with people on a social level, and build relationships just like you would in other social settings.

    A very nice lady in Florida showed me how to build a following.  She would find like-minded people and follow them, hoping they would follow her back.  I followed writers (some of the worst for following you back) and other people who I would like to connect with.  Then one day I noticed one of my followers had “CNN” on the front of their user name.  Hm!  I checked, and it was the morning news anchor for CNN.  I think that’s when the possibilities of Twitter really began to sink in.

    Nate also helped me understand Retweets.  I send out a message to my 1,000 followers.  Then Daniel (a real guy) with 40,000 followers RTs my message.  Now my tweet has been sent to 41,000 people.  One time I had a tweet RTed to over 100,000 people in about 5 minutes. My marketing background kicked in and I realized that this was something very new.  I could reach a lot of people in a very short time.  Did they all read my tweet? Of course not. But if a portion did, that was substantial connection potential – for free.

    Typically I connect with people through Twitter, and then the 140 character limitation quickly becomes insufficient, and I go to Facebook, email or even telephone to develop relationships.  But I have friends in Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Australia and all over the US. I’ve developed an extensive author network, several of whom have reviewed my memoir.  It’s been astonishing.

    Sometimes it’s better to be in the right place at the right time.  I met a woman through Twitter who was a psychotherapist in Los Angeles.  We had many similarities and began to chat.  She read my memoir, Freedom’s Just Another Word, and really enjoyed it.  Did I notice that she was also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books?  Of course I did. Did I think that would do me any good? Not likely, because that organization didn’t review self published books.  Then one day the NYJB editor sent out a message to his reviewers. Since October was “Child Abuse Awareness Month,” they were looking for good books to review in connection with that event.

    My friend wrote the editor and said she did know of such a book, but it was self published and she knew the author, something they discouraged with their reviewers.  The editor made an exception, and told her to go ahead.  They published her review.

    Can Twitter be beneficial for an author?  You know how I vote!


    Lost creativity and the effects of family alcoholism are just two of the elements of the story Dan L. Hays explores in his first published book, Freedom’s Just Another Word, which chronicles events around the time of his father’s death. It is the first of a cycle of seven books about healing old wounds with his father. That cycle will culminate with Nothing Left to Lose, written in 1993, about a critical turning point in his father’s life, depicted from a perspective of forgiveness and admiration.

    Dan has been pursuing his craft for more than 25 years. His passion has always been writing, but he had a writing block that he could not understand for many years. He wrote two books that publishers were interested in, but he backed away and the books were never published.

    Read more of Dan’s work on his blog and at Life as a Human, or follow his various radio features.  You can also catch him on Twitter and Facebook.

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    Michelle D Keyes

    Love this! Great use of real world success to back up your points! Great job! I’ve had a lot of success professionally with Twitter but have only started to use it as a writer. Already I can see the benefits and it’s made me wonder why I wasn’t doing it sooner (Oh yeah, I wasn’t really published in fiction until last year – duh). I’ll definitely be sharing this!

    David Duhr

    Dan’s a great guy to follow on Twitter, if you don’t already. He’s always happy to RT anything he thinks his 18k followers would be interested in.

    I’ll probably do a post soon about good writers/editors to follow on Twitter, so stay tuned.

    Dan Hays

    Thanks for the kind words, Dave! Great thought about spreading the words about writers and editors to follow on Twitter!

    Dan Hays

    Hi Michelle – thanks for stopping by to leave a comment! I do appreciate the kind words! This was a fun post to write – as I reflected about my experiences with Twitter, I realized I’d had a great time with it! Good luck to you in using social media! :)

    […] follow up on Dan’s post about the importance to writers of creating a Twitter account, I’d like to lay out just a few […]

    […] post was sort of a follow-up to a post from the day before from writer Dan L. Hays, who laid down his ideas on the importance of Twitter. But it is an […]

    […] post was sort of a follow-up to a post from the day before from writer Dan L. Hays, who laid down his ideas on the importance of Twitter. But it is an […]

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