I broke up with Facebook. We’ve agreed to take things slowly, see other networking sites, and I can happily say that Facebook and I have remained good friends. We can look back on the good times—wedding announcements, birth’s of babies, and reconnecting with people long since forgotten—but it’s those bad times (the 36 hour Farmtown marathon and constant pokes) that helped me to realize the relationship was no longer working.
Where Facebook was the aloof “boyfriend” of social networking, not quite giving back, Twitter has become the needy obsessive “boyfriend”, always giving, always wanting to know what I’m doing, what I’m up to, telling me it’s only 140 characters, so why haven’t I tweeted something, anything, yet?
And once I do tweet, trying to be a good partner in this relationship, Twitter wraps its arm around my waist and pulls me tight, not wanting to let me go. “Follow this link, baby.” Or “FF that person”. And before I know it, I’ve just had a two hour make-out session with Twitter I hadn’t intended upon.
I like Twitter, don’t get me wrong. I like it a lot. Twitter has connections, knows important people, and has the ability to take me places I’ve never been before. And Twitter sure has a super sense of humor too—so funny. In only a few short months since being introduced to Twitter, I’ve met over a thousand people, writers who aspire for publication, just like me.
Facebook couldn’t do that.
All Facebook introduced me to was The Mafia.
So I don’t want to break up with Twitter. It makes me so happy. It really does.
But I’m a writer who is easily distracted. It doesn’t take much to waste away valuable hours that should otherwise be spent writing. Twitter and I need to find balance in our relationship—an equal give and take. I’m slowly working on it, but Twitter doesn’t seem to understand my reluctance to make-out all the time (Twitter thinks it’s quite the catch—handsome and irresistible). I assure Twitter “it’s not you, it’s me” and we’re moving forward with a greater understanding of one another. Hopefully things will turn out well.
So is Twitter good for writers? Depends on who you ask.
Judd Apatow, writer and director of comedies like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Funny People, explained his active Twitter habit by saying, “I’m looking for any distraction not to write.”
Isn’t that what we’re all pretty much doing?
He went on to say (about the Internet as a whole), “I'm supposed to be writing a new screenplay. You know, it's hard to write, because the computer now isn't like a typewriter; [the computer] has everything fun on the world on it. So everything is a distraction from writing. I'm not looking at a screen; I'm looking at every episode of "South Park," every video ever made, every porno ever made. Every time I sit down to write I could just type in "kid vomits in dad's mouth" and not write for two hours.”
Isn’t that the truth. So yes, Twitter can negatively affect a writer’s ability to write. (Today I have written nothing except this blog about how Twitter affects a writer’s ability to write. Do you see a problem here?)
BUT, Twitter has an awesome side too:
-Networking with like-minded people who would otherwise be out of reach.
-Inspiration and encouragement from fellow writer. I can’t tell you how many times someone’s 140 characters has lifted my spirits—saying exactly what I needed to hear.
-All the up-to-date information in our writers market, the trends and advice every writer needs to be aware of right at our fingertips. Ask a question and a slew of answers will follow. Quick and fast. People are quick to help.
-Exposure and promotion. I know this is very big for a lot of writers who have something to promote. I’m still in the writing stages, so I don’t have anything to sell but my sparkling personality *flashes a grin and a wink*
I’m happy I met Twitter, but just like every new relationship, it needs to be taken slowly. A couple is only as good as each individual in the relationship. If I lose myself, allowing Twitter to take control, the relationship will quickly fail. I don’t want that.
I want this particular relationship to succeed.
So what do you think of Twitter? Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between? What other benefits have you found by using Twitter?
Oops! Droid left that last blank comment. :). The real comment is ... Great and timely post! Twitter and I are are continuing to go steady but I've had to set some rules. No more showing up unannounced. The alert tools are great but a distraction. I only check it twice a day now instead of whenever I get a little birdie pecking on my window. It is an amazing tool though and the benefits have outweighed the detriments so far. Happy Saturday!
4/23/2011 07:10:48 am
oh I do know what you mean... today I have sat with twitter open all day... and although I managed to proof read a chapter of my novel (and upload it to my blog http://kaysbook.blogspot.com/ cheecky advertising I know!) I have done no other form of writing that isn't actually on twitter today... It's brilliant, and that's what's so bad about it! Twitter is so good at doing what it was intended to do that it's become, for me, like one of those guys you date and after a short while start to realise he's so perfect it annoys you, just a bit, and then you realise you're not the settler in the relationship... =P great thought-provoking blog post as per usual!
4/23/2011 08:29:51 am
I love that I learn things from Twitter that I wouldn't otherwise. Where else am I going to find all those handy industry links and articles? How else would I know that X agent is looking for X type of submissions? Where else would I meet other writers and be able to chat with them at scheduled weekday meetups from the comfort of my own home office? And yet, I hate Twitter. I hate the feeling of having to be there or I'd have no "platform." But then, I've always rebelled against things I feel like I "have" to do. In the end, I still do it because the positives outweigh the negative aspects. As for Facebook? I might be breaking up with "him" too.
4/23/2011 08:58:47 am
I like Twitter and I woudn't say I've broken up with Facebook, but we're "taking a break".
4/23/2011 08:59:02 am
I like Twitter and I woudn't say I've broken up with Facebook, but we're "taking a break".
4/23/2011 09:00:42 am
I gotta stop drinking and posting. I keep hitting submit twice. : )
4/23/2011 02:26:43 pm
Great post! I just found Twitter this year, and I like it so much more than Facebook. The more I use Twitter, the less I use Facebook. Twitter feels more relevant to writing, like it's easier to connect to the writing world. In fact, I just came here from Twitter! Definitely more distracting than Facebook ever was though. Facebook's more like the date I finally went on so everyone would quit nagging, while Twitter is the one I was looking for all along!
Haha! You are hilarious! :)
4/23/2011 08:47:37 pm
I only hung out with Facebook for about an hour. It was like the worst high school reunion in history. I knew within minutes that word would get around. And I didn't want that.
4/24/2011 12:39:32 am
I'm not as enthralled as the rest of you, it would seem. I like The Twitter for its humor and for connecting with writers, but I prefer Facebook, where I can have an actual conversation and not feel like it's just a bunch of people shouting into the void back and forth at each other. (Of course, if I'd gotten sucked into MafiaVille, I might feel differently.)
I'm happy to say I have a pretty healthy relationship with these 2 social networks, I check on them for a minute and then leave before I get sucked into a void. The one I seem to have the most trouble with is Tumblr. Stay away from Tumblr! I think it might even surpass Facebook in the future.
Ha! I love this! It's so true. I broke up with fb too, and we're still friends, but I just can't feel the same about it anymore. Twitter is easy to jump in and out, and while sometimes I don't have energy for it, I force myself to dive in for a few minutes to see if I can't RT for someone or find something helpful. It's great for writers since we are all mostly helpful to each other.
4/25/2011 03:45:31 am
I've not met Facebook or Twitter. I think I'd like Twitter better, but blogging is taking up all my free time. I can't afford another time sucker!
4/25/2011 10:45:29 am
Great blog, and so true. I do prefer Twitter, although I still have fb. But it takes a lot of discipline not to get sucked into the vortex. And for me there was (and still is) a big learning curve with Twitter(didn't know what a hashtag was until recently). I use Tweet Deck to manage my followers, and I use True Twit to handle spam. Eventually I'll get more comfortable (I hope!)
4/26/2011 03:22:58 pm
I've been trying to decide whether to open up a Twitter account. When I asked about it on my blog I got a lot of glowing reviews. As it is, Facebook and blogging take up so much time! Yet I see the benefits of networking, and I was told it was a great tool for writers. We shall see!
YES. Twitter has hijacked my already frail ability to concentrate on writing by telling me the who/what/when/where of everything that's happening NOW that I seem to need to know about. That's how I found this blog post, after all. (SEE it has its benefits!) Twitter also kills my concentration on most days, so it's mostly an evil monkey that won't let me release my writerly superpowers upon the page. (More of a monkey than Kryptonite, wouldn't you say, as it tends to cling and hoot and holler and jump up and down?)
8/30/2011 03:38:40 am
I like twitter, don't do facebook.
8/30/2011 03:13:07 pm
I love how you describe Twitter as the needy boyfriend! Been on twitter for only a couple of weeks and I was feeling like Id fallen off the codependent recovery wagon!
Can't be all bad, just helped me find this great blog. ;)
Great article. I am completely and ashamedly (is that a word?) addicted to Twitter. I don't like that I am but, at the same time, I have found it to be my only real way of connecting with people and getting them to my blog. Don't get me wrong, I have 'met' some really cool people on Twitter, but I do wonder sometimes if the benefit outweighs the 'cost' of my time and attention. I also wonder if my expectations are too high in what (I think) Twitter can do for me. I wonder if I'm being duped into thinking that all that time spent (wasted) Tweeting and reading Tweets is really doing anything for me (my blog) at all. Maybe it's all just a sick joke! :)
This post describes where I am at exactly. I use FB for your typical mommy stuff, arranging playdates, sharing pictures--so it's a good separation from my writing world. But Twitter...I feel like I have to get in there all the time to stay revelant, and when I am really writing, it is so distracting. Sometimes I feel like it wastes so much time, and the more "followers" you have, the harder it is (it seems) to connect with the friends you have made on there. *sigh* Still learning, I guess!
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