What do thousands of Twitter Followers mean?

Er, not that I'm there. I have about 50 now. But there seems to be a community of writers who all follow each other. I've followed back every writer who has followed me. Some have 28K+ followers. But does it mean anything? My Twitter feed is now so full I can't possibly read even a portion of it (and have a life). It's hard to imagine that my little once-every-other-day tweets are actually being read by anybody.


Does anybody feel like they're successfully using Twitter to build readership? Or engage in meaningful dialog? (And s-girl, again, apologies for missing your chat. Sounds like we'd have been chatting about just exactly this.) Appreciate any thoughts.


It's an interesting question. My question back to you is what's the main purpose of your twitter feed?


My main purpose is to inform fans of the most recent LoN episode. I also interact with friends, serial writers, and follow a few websites' updates. That means I keep the number of people I actually follow down because I only want to see stuff I care about, and I don't automatically follow anyone back--especially if they're writers spamming me about their books.


I do a limited amount of Twitter networking (trying to get to know people I'd otherwise never meet), but not a lot. I might do things differently if that were the main point of the feed. Not too differently though--I still wouldn't follow everybody. I'd just include a higher proportion of people I want to meet in my feed.


In theory I may be missing out on meeting wonderful people that way, but my experience argues that I'm actually missing out on posts I have no interest in. Thus, I'm choosy about who I follow.


To actually answer your question though, I don't think it means much--at least if they're collecting numbers without a real purpose behind it.


I have had useful and interesting conversations with people on Twitter, but it's more for chatting and networking than building readership for me. It does however make it easier for some people to follow the serial, and thus I've set it up so that my updates automatically go into my Twitter feed.


Occasionally people retweet my updates, and that has the potential to bring readers in, but that's not why I'm doing the feed. It's a nice side effect though.


I don't have a ton of followers, not quite 1400, but it's enough to increase traffic when I updated Rema. I got a lot of boosts with retweets from my friends and my husband, most of whom have cult followings of 6K-10K.


The biggest source of traffic for my site is my old art site, honestly, because of people googling about the old webcomic version. After that it's twitter.


If you are going to use twitter for networking, I suggest one for the work, and one for you. I personally only follow writers who's work I read regularly, or have something interesting to say regularly. (also, a lot of people who use twitter professionally use third party programs so they can filter and only read the posts of people they actually DO care about)


"Thousands of twitter followers" primarily means "it's not my twitter account." ;-)


I find a lot of writers seem to do this follow/follow thing simply because everyone else does it. There is sort of a silly meme out there that says that writers need to build up their social network years before they launch their book so that their social network somehow magically converts into book sales. This leads to goofy behavior like writers adding everyone who Twitter suggeststo them to their follow list to the point they end up following tens of thousands of accounts.


The problem with this strategy is that writers aren't good at selling books and particularly other author's books. The ones who can drive sales usually do so because they have some other relevant influence or reputation to make people listen.


...


The reality of twitter and most networks is that the order of magnitude of people you can follow/read/and meaningfully interact with is in the hundreds. (http://techland.time.com/2011/06/01/its-science-you-can-only-really-follow-150-people-on-twitter/ ... also Facebook has a similar stat out there IIRC.)


This makes you wonder about these authors who have stats orders of magnitudes higher. Clearly they don't have time or the ability to watch anyone they add save the people they probably feel most invested in.


...


Twitter has driven random people to my serial fic, but I find twitter is much stronger of a driver for blog posts/other content I produce. (It all just depends on how smexy my topic header is I think.) The problem with twitter is that shouting at an uninitiated audience is just shouting. Webfic isn't like webcomics -- we don't have a good platform/base on twitter to launch from.


But twitter has helped me chat more easily with other authors and other people who are interested in the format. To that end, I don't think it's a bad use of my time to be active on twitter.


That said, I don't want people who just want my updates to be driven insane by my spouting about other things that interest me. As such, the official twitter account for my webfic is not the same account that I use for said spouting.


To be honest, I don't get twitter (just in terms of how to follow conversations or whatever). I get pretty good numbers without it, without facebook or any of that - I prefer to focus on writing rather than on using up my time with social media.


Just my two cents.


Twitter is for hangin' out and bein' a smartass. :D


Hm, I didn't have any desire to get a twitter for my serial, but I do like hanging out, and I absolutely love being a smartass, so maybe I'll have to reconsider.


Thanks for the various thoughts. Jim, you ask an interesting question: what is the purpose of my Twitter feed?


I guess my main purpose in having it is to attract readers, if possible, and I'm sure I'm not doing that at the moment. I don't naturally express myself in 140 characters or less. I like having deeper conversations with just a few people and usually feel like the 140 char limit means I have to oversimplify my thoughts. (Although I absolutely do enjoy being a smartass on occasion <smile>)


If I had a following -- er, I mean, once I GET a following of people who really want to hear my odd quirky thoughts, I'd probably enjoy posting a daily tweet to them but as it is, I feel like I'm in a roomful of -- well, birds all tweeting as loudly as we can.


Meantime, I can try to filter out the writers who do nothing but post about their latest book or episode and scan incoming tweets for topics which catch my eye. For instance, I saw a tweet about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and jumped right in. I could talk about Joss Whedon for hours. (Though usually in more than 140 characters).


ubersoft, that's most of my twitter interactions with you!


Also, thousands of followers, GOOD. Following thousands of people? BAD!