Quit the twit? Keep the tweet?

I’ve tried tweeting the way people try exercising. Start with a bang, enjoy the initial rush, commit to a schedule, embrace the results, and …


Hide the weights under the bed and deflate the exercise ball. Order pizza. Play couch frisbee with Jillian Micheals’ workout DVD.

When I can’t remember my Twitter password, I’m at the order-pizza stage. Then it’s time to reboot and twit. (Who doesn’t prefer “twit” over “tweet?” At least there’s an implication of wit.)

Tweeting is the fastest way to keep people in touch with … with the stuff you do. I’m supposed to tweet. Tech-savvy writers tweet. Writers who care about their careers tweet. That’s what they tell us at writing conferences.

I want to appreciate the tweet, but the process seems like mass texting the first draft of a thought. Angry in mayor’s office people are. Or worse, the first draft of a non-thought. I like frosting and puppies. No arrogance intended. I once tweeted about grocery shopping. There’s no twit in my tweets. I’m the first to admit it.

So I’m researching best practices in the Twitter world. I decided to go back to the start and rethink the crucial first question: Why? Why read tweets? Why follow certain people and not others? Why should I tweet when I don’t even call my mom?

I turned to the nice people at Social Media Today. They have several articles that offer a deeper understand of the tweet. But I’m at the beginning, remember? Here’s their basic list of reasons for tweeting–and my commentary.


Tougas tweet angst. Yesterday. Caribou. “Men’s bathroom out of order. Wonder where they’re peeing.” hashtag, hashtag, hashtag.

Reason One: Interaction with your favorite brands.

Interaction is a fancy word for commercials. I get the point: interactive marketing is consumer-driven, two-way communication. In regular speak: Now we get to talk to the ads!

Oreo: Do you like regular me or double stuff me?

Me: Double stuff.

Oreo: Okay. I’ll tell the marketing department. Thanks.

 Reason Two: Networking.

 I resent this techno-development. Networking used to be fun. Networking used to mean going to bars and drinking with colleagues and getting your company to pay the tab. Now we have smart phones, water and hashtags. Nobody needs aspirin and coffee after a night of hashtags.

Reason Three: Staying abreast of the latest trends in your field.

Yup. It’s probably a great tool for people working in light-speed industries, like social media. But my field is publishing, which moves slightly faster than a snail crawling through corn syrup. Yes, I know technology is shaking up the book world. Perhaps someday entire novels will be tweeted line by line. I’ll adapt. Who knows? This new publishing strategy might improve the royalty structure.

Reason Four: Keeping up-to-date on your interests and hobbies.

I’m not expecting an explosive development in the world of cookbook collecting. Or my other hobby, bringing my camera to important events and forgetting to take pictures. But that’s me. Other people have interests aligned to instant information, like sports.

Reason Five: Following your favorite sports teams.

Like I just said.

Reason Six: Finding out about Twitter-only promotions (some companies give away free stuff).

Free stuff? Free? Stuff? Say something’s free and people freak out. They want it. Look! It’s another canvas tote! Only this one has the Keebler Elf on it! They take it. Translation: junk. And the life cycle of free junk? Company, you, basement, garage, landfill. Congratulations on your free stuff, Earth lover.

Following hashtags during events to follow the live “backchannel” chatter.

Live backchannel chatter?  Here’s where I need real research.

Thank you, Social Media Today. I will try to think of ways to apply Twitter to my writing career. You can follow me at shelleytougas@shelleytougas, and no worries. I won’t be the one filling up your Tweet Box.

So, if you can’t sell your treadmill on Craigslist, try Twitter. I hear hashtags chatter is today’s eBay.

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