J. Robert King

Why I Tweet

Given that I am not a digital native, or even an early adopter, or even a non-NeoLuddite, some of my friends ask me why I tweet.

To answer that question, I first need to answer a few built-in objections:

Objection 1: Isn’t Twitter just a bunch of people telling other people about the baloney sandwich they are eating?

Answer 1: Twitter is sometimes a bunch of people telling other people about the baloney sandwich they are eating. At other times, Twitter is a South African writer phenom telling about the murder of her charr lady’s daughter and inspiring a global network of friends (including me) to help pay for the funeral.

Objection 2: You can’t say anything worthwhile in 140 characters.

Answer 2: Ever hear of haiku? Ever hear of veni, vidi, vici? Ever hear “that we here highly resolve . . . that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  Those all could have been tweets. In fact, the best writers can say what they want to in very few words. Consider Hemingway’s six-word novel: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Objection 3: Isn’t Twitter all about misspelling things and using crippled English?

Answer 3: No.

But enough of answering objections. Let me tell you why I tweet:

Reason 1: My boss made me. I work for a company that develops texts that teach writing and communication in schools and businesses. My boss, who is younger than I and more visionary, said, “This is the way people are writing and communicating now. You have to figure it out.” He was right, and I have.

Reason 2: My editors said I had to. The amazing Marc Gascoigne and Lee Harris and Phil Athans all basically said that if I didn’t begin engaging in social media, I couldn’t hope to stay relevant. They were, of course, right, and I have engaged.

Reason 3: It works. I am not an early adopter. I’m a person who insists that new technology be cheap, powerful, and intuitive before I will jump in. Twitter–filtered through Hootsuite–is all those things for me.

Reason 4: It’s the party I’ve always wanted to attend. Since I learned of the Algonquin Round Table–where luminaries such as Dorothy Parker and James Thurber and Alex Woolcott and Harpo Marx met and quipped and drank–I have longed to be invited to such a meeting of the minds. In fact, after reading about the Inklings–the author’s group formed by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and their Oxford croneys–I established my own group of writers–the Alliterates. Google us. There are dozens of Alliterates scattered across the U.S., meeting once a month to share a few beers and many stories about our lives with writing.

And Twitter is the next evolution of that model. I’m already connected to some of the coolest writers on the planet, from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, South Africa, and Australia. And every day, I follow new minds. and they follow me. And I am in conversation with some of the greatest new talents rising up the ranks as I did twenty years ago.

That’s why I tweet. It’s the Algonquin Round Table and the Inklings and the Alliterates all digitized. I can listen to other brilliant minds, can cheer their successes, can commiserate their challenges, can aid them in time of great need–and can show them pictures of me as Juliet on stage.

Yeah, Twitter is talking about baloney sandwiches. But it’s also talking about life, the universe, and everything. It’s about friendship with some of the coolest people on the planet.

And, follow me on Twitter @jrobertking.com.

Also follow my company @UpWritePress @cerickson @LesterSmith @Tims2cents

And follow the Alliterates @brucecordell @frabjousdave @jamie1km @jrobertking @LesterSmith @monkeyking @mforbeck @MonteJCook @sdsullivan @stannex @TSRThomas

And follow these Angry Robot authors and editors @MarcGascoigne @LeeAHarris @MauriceBroaddus @mforbeck @Shevdon @mforbeck @jrobertking @KaaronWarren @laurenbeukes @AndyRemic @ColinHarvey @AlietteDB @GuyAdams @lavietidhar

And follow other cool folks @DavesFandSFW @ghostfinder @HarryMarkov @NextRead @Steve_Ince @ScottvHarrison @CraigWFSmith @Paulskemp @BennyBoo @Hagelrat @ALRutter @LizUK @WombatSam @CharlieHuman @stevemosby @pauljessup @mightymur @crystaljigsaw @historyinanhour @e_cunningham @darylwriterguy @selfavowedgeek @stacylwhitman @JoanDeLaHaye @jimchines @DFReview @YetiStomper @pbdp @LilyOak

Aw, heck, there are too many great people to follow. Just start tweeting and join my party and throw a party of your own.

Image courtesy of BUBBLEARMY at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bubblefriends/3658969795/

June 9th, 2010
Topic: Uncategorized Tags: None

6 Responses to “Why I Tweet”

  1. kelly Says:

    darn you now you make me wanna twitter! =) good points though uncle rob

  2. People doing exciting things with books and stuff - Adam Christopher Says:

    […] Angel of Death (among many other titles) and all-round top bloke has posted an excellent blog about why he uses Twitter. This is an argument I’m sure most Twitter users have encountered, probably many, many times. […]

  3. DaneenMcD Says:

    hm… I have direct Facebook connection to more than 50% of the Alliterates, but as I rarely separate my Tweets from my FB updates, I haven’t delved deep into making extensive Twitter connections. Twitter with 300+ connections feels a little overwhelming to me.. Like a CNN ticker that never repeats. I know how to filter FB feed to sub-groups I feel particularly interested in at the time (family/authors/childhood friends). Am I missing some similar function of Twitter?

  4. admin Says:

    Hey, Daneen, it’s great to hear from you!

    I mentioned Hootsuite above–a free Twitter aggregator progam. It allows you to sort the Twitter feeds into categories–authors, science news, friends, family, and so forth. Using a program like this helps you sort through the hundreds of tweets and carry on conversations with others on Twitter. It also makes sure you notice any direct messages or mentions. And Hootsuite works with Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking software so that you can send and receive messages on all of them.

    Yes, without Hootsuite (or another free aggregator), I wouldn’t be able to keep up. But with them, I can carry on real-time conversations with amazing people–most of whom I have never met face to face!

  5. Harry Markov Says:

    Hah, how did I manage not to discover your blog for so long? *tud*

    And yeah Twitter can be most wondrous, when you use it with a battle plan. It’s the perfect tool to network and forge nefarious plans. 😀

    PS: Thanks for the follow mention. *bows down*

  6. admin Says:

    Hey, Harry!

    Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for being one of the cool people I hang out with on Twitter!


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