Janet Sumner Johnson
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Twitterpated, Part 4


04, 2013 |

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So I know you’ve all been dying for more about my mistakes on Twitter. I’m realizing I may have to do this one mistake at a time, because apparently I’m a bit long winded. But hopefully this will help any newbies to Twitter have a smoother time of it. Maybe it won’t take you A YEAR (!!!) to figure it out.

My Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistake #1:  When I set up my account, I followed only a select few tweeps. My reasoning was that I didn’t want to hear a bunch of random comments from people I didn’t know.

. . . so that’s pretty much what Twitter is. But there are the good
kind of stranger-tweeters and the bad kind. I think you will learn
pretty quickly which is which.

So here are my suggestions about who to follow (speaking as one writer to another)

1. Agents: Summer Heacock (aka @fizzygrrl) has made this easy for you. I present Agents-to-Follow Cheatsheet 1 and Cheatsheet 2. You might even want to create a list of just agents so you can see what they are tweeting at a glance.

2. Editors: A couple of my favorites include: @the_SDB, @StacyAbramsEdit, @CarolineAbbey, @MKCastellani, @EgmontUSA, and I could go on. My focus is MG, but find the editors that work on the stuff you write. GalleyCat gives a long list of tweeting editors here.

Industry Groups
: This would include publishing companies, writing
magazines, and any group that might give information you’re interested
in. Twitter can help find the bulk of these.

4. Blog Friends: Gosh, I hope you know who this is for you. 😉

5. People who interest you: Heck, if you think Ryan Gosling is the bomb, follow him. Maybe Honest Toddler is your thing. Go for it!

6. People who follow you: This is the trickiest group. I know that most people who follow me do it to get a follow back. But that doesn’t mean I have to give it. Usually, I glance through their tweets and see if they are a real person or just a tweeter of spam, then make the call. I know some people who only follow people they know. But I have met some cool people by taking a chance

: So no one in my family tweets, and very few of my real
life friends do. And I’m okay with that. I use twitter as a tool in my
writing life, and reserve Facebook for my family and friends. But if you
do, you might want them on your feed. Your call. Just remember who follows you when you tweet. If you wouldn’t want your mom to read a tweet, better not tweet it.

(And actually, that might be a good rule to live by whether your mother is on Twitter or not.)

So there it is. In a nutshell. My suggestion is that you take some risks. Try following some new people. The thing to remember? YOU CAN ALWAYS UNFOLLOW SOMEONE. If you don’t like someone’s tweets, unfollow them. And if they unfollow you back, so be it.

Twitter is a tool, and you should play around with it until it works for you. And for all you experts, how do you decide who to follow?

Next Twitterpated installment? What to tweet . . . and what not to.

Speak up:



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Twitterpated, Part 3


18, 2013 |

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Apparently, my knowledge of Twitter is a secret weapon of some sort, and the evil Twitter gods don’t want me to share, because THIS weekend, my computer took a hit. Like, we had to go get a new computer type of hit.

But I WILL NOT BE THWARTED! (Though I may be brief in my revolt).
So first, I just want to say, I hope my learning will help new Twitter users, or anyone contemplating taking the leap into twitterpation. Old Twitter pros: just go leave a comment giving us your best Twitter advice. 🙂
After a year of using Twitter, I discovered that I went into it with completely wrong expectations. I expected instant insider tips. I expected SECRET knowledge. I expected to FINALLY GET GILLIGAN OFF THAT ISLAND! . . . Oh, wait. Wrong blog post . . .
What I now know is that Twitter is not so much about getting information (though you can), rather, it’s about making connections to people. Through Twitter, you have access to people in a way that simply isn’t possible with blogs. Instead of well-thought out posts, you get the-thought-of-the-moment. You get a 140-character insight into taste and personality. You get improv instead of a script.

The thing is, when Twitter is one-sided (i.e. you lurk instead of participate), it’s kind of lame. The BEST way to make Twitter a useful tool is to respond to people.

And the beauty of Twitter is that it won’t take you long because you CAN’T send a hefty reply. 140 characters. It’s BRILLIANT, I tell you!!

But even then, if you aren’t up to words, you can still interact quite easily: If you like what someone tweets, Favorite it! If something makes you laugh, send a quick “LOL” in reply. Find a quote that inspires you? Retweet it!

Yes, it’s limited, and it’s hard to imagine much coming from such a response, but do you know how cool it is when someone Favorites your tweet?!?

Really cool.

And do you know how much my esteem goes up for someone who responds to me (in any way)?

Yeah, like a lot.

(True, I just admitted my need for outside affirmation, but no judging. We all have it to some degree.) 😉

Okay, not as brief as I planned. So for now, my advice is “Interact.” It makes everything better. In the next series of “Twitterpated” posts, I plan to talk about my mistakes and how to avoid them.

In the meantime, how do you interact on Twitter?

Speak up:



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Lost: A Writer’s Tale


11, 2013 |

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So eep. I spent a bunch of time this week writing my planned blog post: Twitterpated, Part 3. For once I actually sat down before Sunday night and organized my thoughts and had the thing all ready to post for you. And my post was actually going to be useful (or so I told myself in my massively narcissistic mind).

I just wanted to add a picture.

Just a picture!

And then, oh yeah, I needed to add this other link to Twitterpated, Part 4, because yes, I was just that organized this week.

Happy, no?


No, it was not happy at all.

Because when I closed Part 3 (after SAVING it!), Blogger ate the post and then spit out a second, identical copy of “Twitterpated, Part 4.”

The thing is, I don’t really need 2 copies of the same post. And I betting you don’t either.

So I flailed in woe for a minute. Made my husband put his book down to come make sure I wasn’t going crazy. Then stubbornly refused to try to rewrite the thing.

And in the end, I thanked my lucky stars I only lost a blog post instead of a chapter (or worse, a whole book!).

Still. Blogger and I? Not on good terms right now.

Have you ever lost a piece of your writing? Tell me about it to console my frustrated little heart.

And maybe by next week I’ll be over my Blogger tantrum and try to reconstruct my Twitterpated post. *sigh*

Speak up:



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Twitterpated, Part 2


04, 2013 |

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Phyllis the Groundhog in Twitterland

A little over a year ago, I took the plunge into Twitter, and talked about it in THIS post. I always meant to do a follow-up when I got a hang of the thing.

Yep, so here we are, 1 year later and I finally feel like I have something to say on the subject.

The thing about Twitter is that it’s kind of like going to a ginormous party during a blackout where you can only hear snippets of conversation, and all the conversations mingle together into a vat of confusion.

 I spent many months tweeting a random comment here or there, and feeling like I was shouting into the emptiness of the Grand Canyon. And then, whoah . . . someone replied to one of my tweets, and it was like, “That was cool.”

And then I connected with an actual friend and we had silly conversations in 140-character-spurts or less. And I started with the head bobbing. “Maybe Twitter isn’t so bad.”

And THEN, I finally got up the courage to respond to something with a tweeter I didn’t know. . . .

And HOLY COW! They replied! And suddenly I started actually enjoying Twitter. Looking at it more than once a month. 🙂

The point of all this is that I finally have concrete thoughts on how to make twitter a useful (and FUN) tool. And I plan to share those thoughts, but just not this week, because I revel in brevity and this post is getting too long.

So while you wait for the exciting 3rd installment of “Twitterpated,” feel free to share your thoughts about Twitter. And if you’re on Twitter and I’m not following you, please leave your handle so I can! Because seeing what friends are posting is my favorite part. 🙂

And P.S. My handle is @MsVerbose.

Speak up:



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