Twitter: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Hello, SEers! It’s a Mae Day on Story Empire, and the topic is Twitter. We all have social media platforms we favor. For me (outside of blogging) it’s all about Tweeting. Strangely, when I first ventured into the realm of social media almost ten years ago, I was certain I would detest Twitter. Not so.

Which brings me to this quick overview of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  See if you agree.

Two Head Of Lama, Closeup Portrait, White

THE GOOD

Twitter delivers news as it happens, enabling a user to follow a thread as it unfolds in real time. I like that. And not all news is bad news. There’s a lot of silliness out there, too. A few years ago, I remember watching two escaped llamas lead police officers on a merry chase through a downtown city. Tell me THAT wasn’t fun to watch in real time!

There are a lot of connections to be made on Twitter. If you’re a writer, may I recommend #writingcommunity. Use that hashtag and you’re going to connect with a plethora of other writers. Happy tweeting!

It’s easy to follow any thread, topic, or person who interests you. I’m not going to reiterate how to do that, as I think anyone reading this post is likely already familiar with the basics. You can also group those people and/or topics into lists:

Click LISTS from the menu, select the page icon in the upper right of your stream, name your list, and start adding people.

Want to see who has YOU on a list? Click LISTS from the menu, select the THREE DOTS at the upper right of your stream, click LISTS YOU’RE ON, and discover who’s added you. That can be a lot of fun and an eye-opener!

THE BAD
Like any social media program, Twitter can be a time suck. Start following a thread, or hopping around on trending topics, and it’s easy to get sucked down a hole.

When people sit behind a computer screen, they tend to say anything, so there’s a lot of “noise” out there mixed in with interesting tweets.

Some people follow others to build their “following.” Once you follow back, they unfollow you. Fortunately, you can click “unfollow” just as easily.

THE UGLY
This is really where I was headed with this post. PUHLEEEZE, if I follow you DO NOT send me a DM telling me:

  1. Where I can buy your latest book
  2. Asking me to review your latest book
  3. Telling me you represent an author and would like me to purchase their latest book
  4. Send me links to your books

Let’s put this in perspective. Twitter is like a big party. Imagine yourself walking into a party, and going up to someone you don’t know. The first words out of your mouth are: “Hi. I just wrote a book called My Incredible Novel, and I want you to buy it and review it.”

No one in their right mind would do that, so why do so many insist on doing it on Twitter?

THE TAKAWAY
Twitter is wonderful for connections and can be a lot of fun when used properly. It’s also great for trending topics and following news stories as they unfold. As with any social media platform, there are downsides.

If you DM someone, be selective what you share. Personally, I rarely DM. When I do, it’s only with someone I already have an online connection with, and never to tell them where they can buy my books. Etiquette still applies on social media.

What are your thoughts on Twitter? Love it? Hate it? What are your favorite aspects of this social media platform, and your least favorite? Let’s get some discussion going below.

Ready, set, go!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair

125 thoughts on “Twitter: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. Pingback: #MKTG – Part 4 – Twitter Ads | Story Empire

  2. I must admit, Mae, that Twitter rather overwhelms me. There is so much shared and I only follow other writers, poets, and artists. It feels a bit like the dustbin of social media, where everything is chucked in and you have to look for anything worthwhile. This is just my experience. I do use twitter, but it certainly isn’t my favourite SM and I rarely DM. Sometimes if I need to reach someone like if they’ve won a prize or something, then I’ll DM the person. Occasionally, blogging friends DM me and that is fine. I always pick those up. I mainly use blogging because I love it and I find it very social and entertaining. Next is FB, Instagram and then Twitter. I use Pinterest for boards for my books as suggested by Clever Craig.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Twitter can definitely be that dustbin you mentioned, Robbie. Lists certainly help in streamlining the threads/tweeps you want to follow and interact with, and additional programs like Hootsuite help in organizing those even further. There is a lot of “noise” on Twitter, which makes me again think of a large party with everyone talking at once. You have to pick and choose the conversations you want to follow.
      I need to do more with Instragram. I was making a go of it for a while, but it’s so hard to stay on top of all the platforms. I think it comes down to finding the ones that work best for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A helpful post, Mae. I’m not active on twitter. I just don’t have the time, especially since Jan has convinced me to try Facebook again. Lol. I’m working up the courage for that. And great info on etiquette. I love the party analogy. I’m now going to tweet this post. Ha ha. Gotta start somewhere. Happy Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck with Facebook, Diana. I think it makes sense to find one or two social media platforms you’re really comfortable with then work those rather than spreading yourself out too thin. For me it’s blogging and Twitter, but that combination doesn’t work for everyone.
      Glad you enjoyed the party reference. It just makes a lot of sense to me, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Twitter: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly | Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

    • Karen, your “want’ rather than “give” statement makes perfect sense, and I completely agree about avoiding political, social, and religious issues. I’m on Twitter to enjoy myself, discuss writing and books, not give opinions on hot button issues!

      Like

  5. Haha, to walking up to a complete stranger at a dinner party asking them to buy your book and review it. That sounds like the kind of dumb dare my buddies and me used to do in college for a few bucks.🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Outside of blogging, Twitter is my favorite social media platform as well. I love your characterization: “Twitter is like a big party.” I think the nicest thing you can do at a party is to introduce people to other people – that’s what I enjoy doing on Twitter, sharing things (like this post) with the people I know.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Twitter: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – World Era

  8. Twitter and blogs are about the only social media I really do. I like Twitter so much more than Facebook. For me, it’s a lot faster and interests me more. I haven’t tried Lists but should. And I mostly use Pinterest to store images and ideas for myself, not to connect with anyone else. I’m not even sure how that works:) Another great post!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I always heard that too, Liz. That’s why I had an author page. But the truth is with FB’s constantly changing algorithms, it only benefited me when I ran ads. And the ads brought good results—until FB changed the algorithms on those, too. When they locked me out of my ad manager for a supposed violation (on an ad I had run before without issue), I hit the delete button. I never worked Facebook the way I should. I think it depends on how you use it and I was never a fan from the start. I only had the page because my publisher expected it. I don’t miss it in the least.

        Like

    • Judi, you do exceptional with Twitter. You are ALWAYS engaging with your followers. I wish I had the time to do more of that. You do it so well!
      I’m not a Facebook fan at all. I got rid of my account several years back and have never regretted it. I don’t really use Pinterest any longer, but if I ever get back to it, it would be with the intention of using it for my own ideas. I think Pinterest is so much fun. I just wish I had more time to play!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kim, I’ve had those kind of comments popping up more and more on my blog, and here, too. I mean–seriously???
      I just don’t get the mentality of some people. Sigh.
      And yeah, the book DMs are annoying–and pathetic!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love Twitter for the reasons you mentioned, Mae. I wish everyone who bugs me with their book stuff would read your “do not” advice. I thought your example of the party was perfect. I have had those follow/unfollow situations too. I periodically check my follower list and immediately unfollow those who have decided to unfollow me. Thanks for an excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Reblogged this on Ben Lucas and commented:

    There’s a lot being said these days about the etiquette of social media. The ugly rules here are a basic list that should be observed as the golden rules for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I find Twitter to be a valuable took to build my platform. However, your Ugly list is also my pains with the platform. I’m active in other social media platforms and find the same things going on there too. Thank you for setting out some guidance and etiquette.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ben. It’s sad that the items on my Ugly list invade so many different social media platforms. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the etiquette I mentioned. I’m also happy to learn you’re a fan of Twitter. Despite the downsides, it’s a great branding platform!

      Like

  12. I worked Twitter hard for years. Retweeting whatever my friends had to share, and being supportive when I could. I posted some original content there from time to time. I found the hours I put in didn’t seem to produce a lot of results. I still share things from blogs and a few other sources, but haven’t spent any time there in a year now. I know others who love it, but I prefer getting my news elsewhere and less interactive sites like Pinterest for entertainment.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am terrible with social media. I do select who I follow, and despise the DM. I agree with your comments entirely about “buy my book”, and I especially hate to be spammed. Scheduling tweets, devoting time early in the morning, and checking one last time after dinner helps to keep me focused on the more important things. Without being focused, I get dragged down some rabbit holes and notice the big time suck. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Despite feeling that you’re terrible with social media, Michele, it sounds like you have a good plan you follow.
      I do agree it’s easy to get sucked down those rabbit holes if we’re not careful. I’ve ended up exploring those a time or two myself, LOL.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Twitter is probably my favorite social media platform for all things bookish. But I learned something here today, Mae, and that is about the Lists. I have never clicked on that or explored it, but thanks to you, I just created a Story Empire List! 🙂 Oh, the things we learn. I totally agree about DMs. To me, a direct message is like a text and should not ever be an attempt to sell your book. I do love the unfollow button too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely time suck, Yvette. Or it can be, if you’re not careful.
      I admit to being lack with people who tag me, because the notifications are endless. I wish there were an easier way with those!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You’ve always got some people who abuse social media, and I immediately unfollow anyone who DMs me about their books, links, etc. I’ve also “met” some wonderful people on Twitter and learn about author events, agent/writing advice, and new releases. Thanks for the info, Mae!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sound like me, Teri. Although I don’t always unfollow from a DM, I just ignore it.
      It makes me wonder if anyone actually RESPONDS to those DMS about buying/reviewing a book.
      I do love the writing advice and support that can be found on Twitter. And then, occasionally you also get something weird and unexpected…like llamas, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Another great post, Mae. Twitter is my main social media platform, and I like it. Quick, easy, fun. I was unaware of lists, but now I’ll check. As for DMs, I don’t respond – at all. And I don’t follow anyone or anything vaguely political. I like your analogy of a party, a huge party. At such an event, a glance may spark interest – just a quick glance. Many times, I’ve watched a Twitter image roll past and then opened it – because it looked interesting – the book cover, the topic, the writer. Who knows? Just a fleeting glance at a party. 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gwen, if you haven’t used lists before I think you’ll really love them. I have lists for various people and topics I follow (SE Authors, Writing Related, Cats, Folklore, Mothman, Photos, Celebs, etc.). It’s also cool to see who has you on a list and what lists you appear on.
      I avoid all the political stuff too. That’s not why I’m on social media–ugh!
      Glad you liked the party comparison. I like your mention of a glimpse, because I’ve done the same thing on Twitter, drawn by an image that intrigues me. A fleeting glimpse that makes me pause and look further.

      Like

  17. I enjoyed reading your post, Mae. I feel the same about Twitter. I hear a lot of complaints, but I think it’s the political Tweeters who say they despise Twitter, yet they stay on the platform. I block anyone who makes political statements. I’m there to relax and have fun. Like Instagram, I enjoy Twitter. Great post! Have a great weekend, Mae!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jill. The political tweets…ugh! I avoid those streams at all costs. Like you, I’m there to enjoy myself, and interact on writing. If something major happens in the world, I will follow news updates but I don’t engage in conversation on those tweets. What I really like about it is that I can find unusual subjects that interest me and follow those streams. Things like folklore, the Mothman, and cats are topics I follow in addition to anything writing related. I also love the beautiful photo streams.
      Hope you have a wonderful weekend too, Jill!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I enjoy Twitter. I see a wide variety of stuff, good and bad, and can get notifications if I want from anyone I follow (good for updates on shows, etc.) I haven’t seen too much of the bad side you mentioned, luckily. I really enjoy being part of the writing community, discussing aspects of writing and seeing others success. I find seeing that encouraging and motivating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jeanne. I’m so glad you haven’t seen too much of the bad side of Twitter. DMs have really been the only downside for me. Well, that, and the follow/unfollow, which is just rude. I agree that the writing community is awesome on Twitter. Lots of great content, inspiration, support, and fun memes. Just one of the reasons I enjoy the platform so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Good morning, Mae! Enjoyed this post. I use Twitter more than any other platform, but not very artfully, I fear. I didn’t know about checking the lists, so thanks for that. All in all, I am terrible at social media, rarely blog and just struggle with that aspect of the writing life. I agree, though, Twitter can be fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Maura Beth. I think the more you use something, the more adept you become at it. I don’t know that I use Twitter artfully or that I even generate many sales from it, but I enjoy following streams and interacting when I have time. In our world social media is a necessary evil for writers. I think as long as you’re keeping your name out there, you’re doing something right! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: Twitter: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by Mae Clair, on StoryEmpire – DEEZ – News about Art, Books & more

  21. I use Twitter to share posts (such as these on Story Empire). I rarely go to the site, but I’m terrible with social media in general. I agree about the DMs. I get a lot on Instagram from people I don’t know. Depending on the nature of the message, I’ll block the user.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Twitter is my number one social media platform. I was shocked to find myself on the lists of so many other Twitter users. Imagine how I felt when I found myself on lists such as ‘WordPress Experts’, ‘Great writers’ and ‘Fantastic LGBT writers.’ What an honour to be on those lists.

    As for those that unfollow you as soon as you follow them, of course, you need to know how to find out who they are. I use the free version of who.unfollow.me for this. I find myself playing ‘Twitter bingo’ where they unfollow me, so I unfollow them, they follow me again, I follow them again, they unfollow me… I think you’ll get the picture, Mae.

    The main ugly things about Twitter for me are the Trolls and the ladies who DM me telling me they want to be friends with me and have photos of themselves that they’d like to send me. Obviously, they’ve never read my profile.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hugh, you have me laughing about the ladies and the photos. Yeah, it pays to read someone’s profile, LOL.
      I forgot to mention those kind of followers (and trolls) so thanks for pointing them out. Fortunately, I haven’t encountered many trolls on Twitter (I’m knocking on wood).

      Thanks for the mention of who.unfollow.me. That’s fantastic advice. I used to use ManageFlitter for that purpose, but they removed that option. Now I usually scroll through my followers list. I’m glad to know there is another platform out there that will make managing followers easier. Hopefully, I won’t be playing a lot of bingo!

      And those are awesome lists you’re on!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I use who.unfollow.me every morning, Mae. The free version is all you need. Yes, it means I see adverts while who.unfollow.me prepares a list of the Twitter users who have unfollowed me, but I don’t notice them. I usually get the results in less than 10 seconds, and there’s an ‘unfollow’ button next to each of the profiles that have unfollowed me. It’s a great little platform for weeding out the unfollowers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hugh, I tried plugging that URL in (even using http:://) but it doesn’t seem to land anywhere for me. Would you happen to have a direct link you can copy and paste? I’d really like to check it out as I miss MangeFlitter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Here are the Twitter account details for who.Unfollowed.me, Mae

        @whounfollowedme

        There is a link to their site on their account. It’s worth following them on Twitter too. Hope that helps.

        Like

    • Strangely, Hugh, I was receiving emails from ‘ladies’ telling me how they had some explicit photos and did I want to see them. I deleted and blocked one, then another, almost identical, but different nane and picture, arrived. I blocked that, then another… You get the idea.
      I don’t think my picture looks male, and my name isn’t male, either, so why was I getting these?
      Fortunately they appear to have stopped now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get at least one a week (sometimes more). I block them all. The DM usually starts with something like ‘Hello Handsome.’ Me? Handsome? What I find sad is that some of these ladies of the night get responses back from men, whom I’m sure will have passed over some of their hard-earned cash.

        Liked by 3 people

  23. I agree with everything you’ve said here, Mae. I limit my Twitter use to first thing in my work day and a quick catch-up late afternoon/early evening. I love Twitter but those DMs annoy the heck out of me. And anyone who hijacks someone’s tweet to promote their own stuff gets a block from me, as that is just beyond rudeness. Great post, and thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Harmony, I follow the same pattern you do for checking Twitter—early morning, and (sometimes) evening. If there’s something major I know that’s happening it the world, I’ll check it outside of those hours too, but other than that those regular check-ins are enough for me.
      I hear you about the DMs and people who hijack tweets from others for their own promotion. Just because it’s social media doesn’t mean that courtesy should be tossed out the window!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Cathy. I generally check Twitter once weekday mornings and (sometimes) weekday evenings. If I know there is something major happening in the world, I’ll hop on at other times to check out what’s being shared and discussed. I do think that most everyone has social media platforms of preference, and I know a lot of people who don’t like or don’t use Twitter, so you’re not alone! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I hate those automatic DM’s once I follow someone. It makes him really cautious about people. I get it on Instagram a lot, but it’s for people wanting to review or publish my books. It always comes so quickly that I know it was automatic too. There’s no subtlety there. As far as the time sink with Twitter, that is a big thing for me. I try to keep up with the speed of the feed to retweet, but I’ve been run down after trying to hard for years. I think I got burnt out on Twitter when I realized that I was only going in circles with sharing stuff from other authors, but no sales or interactions came. Once I started working, it became difficult to put up my own tweets too. So, I guess I’m just there out of habit these days.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can always tell the auto DMs too. I haven’t been on Instagram for a while, but I did receive them there as well, though not nearly as many. I found with Twitter that when I do a lot of sharing from other Tweeps I attract new followers. I use Triberr to do that, which takes less than five minutes each morning for me to have a constant feed throughout the day. Interacting manually is harder, but I try to do that at least once a week—I don’t always meet that goal—and that brings even more interaction and new followers. I really like the #writingcommunity and #amwriting hashtags for that. During the pandemic shutdown I really fell out of practice with Twitter (I fell out of practice with just about everything) and had to apply myself to get back in the habit.

      Like

      • That’s the problem I ran into once the divorce started. I’m barely able to maintain my own blog and write my books these days. Time and energy are severely lacking in my life. I either have one or the other. So, social media like Twitter falls by the wayside. I did try 2 years ago to be more interactive with Twitter by posting more than promos. The attempts only got retweets and maybe 1-2 comments, which left me even more frustrated. I’m genuinely just burnt out on the social media high input and low output equation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • High input, low output. You nailed it, Charles. I know many of us feel the same way.
        It’s really rough trying to find the time to balance everything. I’m usually right with you on the time and energy thing. Hang in there and do what you can. That’s all any of us can do, especially when so much of our effort doesn’t bring results. This writing gig is a rough one. I hope things settle down for you soon.

        Like

    • DMs are the worst. I’ve even seen some Twitter profiles where someone will say “no DMs” or “I don’t respond to DMs.” That tells me that too many Tweeps are abusing how DM should be used.
      Glad you enjoyed the post, Staci. I always have fun with Good/Bad/Ugly posts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I feel used each time someone follows and unfollows me. I search my following list often to fish them out and unfollow.
    I ignore DMs targeted at selling a product or adding me to e-mailing list. I can’t stand that. Let’s be normal for once. As you said, you need to have a certain level of rapport with someone to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Great post, Mae 🙂 My daughter kept trying to get me on Twitter years ago. I kept asking why? Now it’s one of my go-to medias. You covered the good, bad, and ugly well. I won’t respond to a DM if I don’t already know the author. We are all authors and want to sell books. I’d rather get to know the person and fun ways some of those threads. But they can also clog your notifications too.

    It is a fun place to see what’s trending too, and I like the ones that make me smile!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I had a friend who, like your daughter with you, kept trying to get me to try Twitter years ago. I just didn’t get it. But once I sat down and actually started using it—wow! I’ve made some good connections and several friendships through Twitter. Like you, I won’t DM unless I already have a relationship with the author, and never to sell my books. Those kind of tweets are reserved for my stream. I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Denise.
      I still remember watching those llamas run around. That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on Twitter!

      Liked by 1 person

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