I’ve been a Twitterati for a few months now. It is an enthralling, engrossing and enriching place to make contact with other writers – new and established – particularly at this time of social isolation when I don’t have access to my usual writing groups and supports.
I’ve learnt most writers on Twitter are generous with their time, feedback and ideas. Even in Twitter-speak (240 characters, including spaces) they manage to convey a sense of welcome and belonging to others.
What I don’t understand is the constant push by some writers on Twitter to increase the followers for all writers. Does having more followers equate to increased book sales? And if you are a new, as yet unpublished, writer, does having more followers equate to increased interest from agents and publishers?
Does having more followers even equate with increased popularity?
I’m not sure any of this rings true. This could be an indication of my ignorance for all things Twitter related, and the importance of Twitter popularity for publishers. Maybe someone will put me in my place about it, and that’s ok.
I don’t have that many followers (95 at present) and I’m sure I am not that interesting that they all pay close attention to every post I make. I follow 146 Twitter accounts (most are writers, but some are publishers or magazines) and I know I don’t pay close attention to every one of their feeds. I just don’t have the time.
Perhaps the push for followers is a reflection of the need for external validation, a societal addiction to quantity over quality. It’s been ‘going around’ for a while now, the need to be publicly recognised. Perhaps all these writers pushing for more followers are literary influencers. Perhaps they believe if they have a thousand more followers they will influence which books are sold, which publishers are honoured, and which authors are followed. Perhaps by writing this, and questioning their motives, I have cut myself off from a well-spring of advertising and promotion.
Personally, I like to know who I’m following. I read their profile, read a selection of their tweets, and look at who they follow, before I follow them. There have been a couple of people who have followed me whom I have not followed back, because I did not think their interests aligned with mine, or I found something offensive in their posts. To me this is quality control, and I am mostly about the quality.
That said, once I publish my book, there’s a possibility I will become a popularity whore and pimp myself out on Twitter too! We all have a price, right?