Every time I scroll through the Twitterverse, I notice patterns. Certain types of tweets repeat themselves over and over. Collected here are the categories of tweets and their pros and cons. Use them with caution.
1 Status Updates
You got a flat tire. You’re brewing coffee. It’s raining. Basically, you tweet what’s going on in your life. These are fascinating if you’re fascinating (or a celebrity). Otherwise they can border on dull. However, if you never tweet about your normal life, people might think you’re a robot or a spammer.
Recommendation: A sprinkling here and there. Don’t bombard us with trivialities.
2 Writer Updates
This is the literary variation of status updates. Here you can tweet about how many words or pages you wrote. Frustrations with the process. Anything to do with your day to day writing routine. Many writers engage in this and it’s quite comforting. Say you’re excited about a new development (having an agent ask for a full manuscript) there’s bound to be at least one other writer online who will send you a quick congrats. It makes you feel good.
Recommendation: Go for it. If you’re truly writing, you shouldn’t be tweeting all that much, so these sort shouldn’t bunch up.
3 Witty Observations
I follow a number of people who craft beautifully witty insights about daily life (@damnitstrue). If you can achieve this sort of tweet on a regular basis, you’ll soon have thousands of followers. I can only manage it every once in a while.
Recommendation: If you’ve got the talent, let everyone know it.
A variant of the witty observation is the quote. Basically you dig up a nifty sounding quote by someone famous and tweet it. I like one now and again. Though some people feel like this is all they can tweet. There are websites full of quotes. I don’t need that many in my timeline.
Recommendation: A few of these go a long way.
5 Snake Oil Pitch
This is where writers do the hard sell on their books. “Pick up my latest novel for kindle.” This never appeals to me, though I understand why writer’s do this. They’re trying to market and sell. It’s okay if I get a few now and again.
Recommendation: Get us to like you a person rather than sell us your product.
Here tweeps will recommend books they’ve read or advertize a blog post with an interesting hook. Often these have links attached to them. These are the types I often click on. The blog post might sound interesting and I want to check it out.
Recommendation: I prefer these over the snake oil pitch.
Sometimes writers will post a few lines from their mauscript. I’m not sure if this is meant to sell the book (sometimes they’ll have a link) or just as a writer status update. I don’t care for these much, but they don’t bug me.
I’ve seen this for books you’re reading as well. I have this feature on my Nook. I can highlight a line or two and tweet it.
Recommendation: Pick awesome lines.
Modern technology has allowed us to tweet anything and everything. Here people find a nifty article or blog post and want everyone to see it. There are some tweeps who only seem to post these. I was told that too many will mark you as a spammer, so beware.
Recommendation: Fine in moderation.
Twitter’s not really geared toward pictures (Thus the advent of Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook). However you Twitpic lets you link to pictures you took.
Recommendation: Easy for iPad users (it’s built in) harder for other folks.
A majority of the tweets I see are these. When I follow both the sender and recipient I can eavesdrop on the conversation. If it’s interesting, I’ll throw in my two cents.
Recommendation: This is the purpose of Twitter, chatting and socializing. One caveat. When I see someone’s timeline completely filled with mentions, it feels like the person belongs to a clique I could never enter. I like to have some variety in the tweets.