One Writer’s Foray Into Twitter

Before a year ago, I refused to make a Twitter account. My attitude was: I’m too busy to manage another social networking site. Facebook, LinkedIn & this website are plenty. I’d like to have a life, please!

A year ago, that changed. I landed a job as a communications associate at a national law firm. After a few days my new boss informed me that my job description included managing the firm’s Facebook Page & Twitter account. (Yikes!)

All law firms have pretty strict social media policies, if they even have a social media presence. I couldn’t afford to make beginner mistakes on the firm’s account. Hence, my personal twitter handle @sarahsnotebook was registered.

It’s a year later, and I can only say I wish I would have joined sooner.  I realize now that my reluctance to adopt Twitter wasn’t because I didn’t have time, but because I was scared. I’d always imagined that my first day on Twitter as a Tweep (someone who tweets) would be similar to that “first day of school” feeling. I’d walk into a virtual room of experienced Tweeps, and they’d all turn and stare at the newbie.

But it wasn’t like that. No one yelled or gave me funny looks – at least to my face. And, the best part was I found people who shared my interests. After awhile, I realized I just wasn’t that important, and because of that, if I messed up or tweeted something stupid, no one really cared. It was a huge relief.

Once I’d picked my background, I followed the advice of Kevin O’Keefe, a lawyer who founded the legal blog, LexBlog. His advice – observe, share and produce – also works well for writers.

Over the past year, the connections I’ve formed with writers, authors, agents and other zany people have proved invaluable. It’s encouraging to know that others like me are sitting at their computers and are posting about their writing with the hashtag #amwriting. Or to know the advice Elaine Viets gave during the #MoWritersGuild conference, or to follow along with the #spjtalk about the most recent journalism topic.

This Saturday, I will be giving more insight into Twitter and what I’ve learned over the past year about Social Media during a workshop, presented by St. Louis Writers’ Guild, called “Social Media: Mastering the Big Four: Facebook, Twitter, Websites, and Blogs.”

As a former reporter, I plan to provide aspiring authors, upcoming authors and other writers with advice on how to catch the attention of local editors and reporters when they’re trying to publicize their work. Two other St. Louis-area authors Cole Gibsen & Shawntelle Madison will also be speaking. If you’re new to social networking or would just like to know what other writers are doing regarding social media, then I hope you’ll stop by the Kirkwood Community Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

You can find all the details here. Or, if you can’t attend, then follow the discussion Saturday starting at 10 a.m. on Twitter with the hashtag #slwg.