Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twitter Fail

Okay, so maybe the failure is actually mine, but the truth of the matter is, I loathe Twitter. Trust me, I know that many people—Violets included!—find it a useful tool but I have to say, I am simply overwhelmed and unimpressed. Perhaps it’s because I suck at small talk. Or maybe it’s because between SVP, Facebook, and my own blog, I simply don’t have time for one more social platform without sucking too much time and energy away from my writing.

I’ve been feeling pretty wormish about this, as if the letter with the Twitter Loser stamped across it will show up on my doorstep any moment. And then two things happened.

One, I remembered to practice what we preach here at Shrinking Violets. As introverts, we have to conserve our energy. Especially our outbound energy. We also have to pick our strengths and play to those. The truth is, I really do suck at small talk. Hell’s bells, I haven’t even managed the art of short and punchy blog entries, neither here nor on my author blog. I can wax on for 1500 words on plotting or voice or the needs of an introvert, but chit chat? Not so much. Not even cyber chit chat.

The second thing that’s helped me is this post from marketing guru Seth Godin; two of his blog posts in particular.

The first one, Scalejacking, perfectly explains how I feel about Twitter. My favorite quote from the piece:

"The internet is about who, not how many. The internet lets you take really good care of 100 people instead of harassing 2,000."

And that pretty much sums it up for me. I'd rather write at length for people on craft and being an introvert, than pepper them with short, small tweetful attempts at pithy. Mary does pithy well. I do not.

Seth's second post that really resonated with me is called, How Big Is Your Farm? Take away quote?

"If you own a lot of acres but just have a few bags of seed, you might be tempted to spread out what you've got and cover as much territory as you can. Farmers tell me that this is wasteful and time consuming. You end up with less yield and more work.

Marketers face the same dilemma."

I'm an introvert, which means I have even fewer seeds than other people. So I want to think of each seed as a magic bean that I can grow into a great, big beanstalk. (How's that for mixing metaphors!). I can choose to focus on what I do best, writing books, and in depth blog entries, workshops etc. or I can spread myself too thin.

So my hat’s off to you, all you Tweeters out there. Especially you introverted ones. I am in awe of how you make twitter work for you and congratulate you on your tweeting success. However, it is not for me. Not now anyway. It may be in two years, when the technology is old and gray, it will sound interesting to me. But for now, it’s a time suck. Even worse than that, it depletes my energy and resources. And the truth is, as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, those are finite.

And so I share this with you all, not because I enjoy being negative: I don’t. (Trust me, I’m squirming even as I write this. (And notice how I brought in the Big Guns to make myself feel better about my decision.) But sometimes certain approaches or avenues just aren’t our cup of tea. And I need to remind myself that that’s okay. And I thought I’d say it out loud in case any of you needed to hear it too.


I also want to take a moment to give a shout out to all the great new Shrinking Violet books featured in our sidebar this month! You guys are aMaZingLy talented!!


PJ Hoover said...

I am so happy to see you post this. I keep putting off the Twitter thing. I can't spend the entire day small talking. And now I feel like at least I have company!

Yat-Yee said...

Sorry you had to go through all that but thanks for posting your honest reaction. I don't know enough about Twitter to truly fear it but my gut tells me I'd probably be overwhelmed by it.

Even though I haven't experienced the things you wrote, I think I'd feel exactly the same way.

Thanks for the quotes.

Recover well, my cyber friend.

jama said...

Appreciate your honest thoughts, Robin. Thanks for reminding us that we shouldn't cave in to pressure to do everything everyone else does, but to do what's right for ourselves.

tanita✿davis said...

I'm sorry you were overwhelmed. I am, too. For some, Tweeting is useful -- Mitali Perkins started a twitter thing for new authors where everyone is to tweet and retweet the news of someone's launch day Of course, she started it yesterday -- when my book came out on the 9th -- *sigh!* But the thing is, I couldn't join in the fun anyway -- Twitter really just... goes too fast for me. OR, goes too often, or something, for it to be truly useful. Thanks for taking the bullet for us -- it was scary to watch, but you honestly gave it your best, and I appreciate it.

xo said...

Yes, your fellow introverts thank you for taking the bullet for us. I've been thinking about Twittering and just couldn't generate enthusiasm - Facebook status updates are enough!

Maybe next year.

Anonymous said...

Robin, it’s not for me either.


Anonymous said...

"new Shrinking Violet books featured in our sidebar" -- Maggie's a S.V.? I had no idea. Yay Maggie! :)

Sorry the twitter thing didn't work for you, Robin. But yay you for saying no to something that wasn't right for you.

Anonymous said...

Twitter is probably the technology with the most pressure to join right now. But as the others have said, not everything works for everyone at every time. And that's okay!

Cheryl Reif said...

I've been dreading my Great Twitter Experiment for all the reasons you list. Thanks for giving me the courage to "just say no"!

R.L. LaFevers said...

Thanks for all the support and commiseration, fellow Violets! I figured you'd understand. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness! I agree that Twitter is another big time sucker, and was worried when I saw the two "Queen Violets" starting to Twitter. I thought, "No, it's got them too!" I see your dislike of twitter as another thing an introvert can strongly say No Thank You to.

Mary Hershey said...

Robin, I feel your pain. Thanks for telling it like it is for you and encouraging others to consider their seeds before sowing. I'll have to check out Seth Goodwin. Sounds like my kind of chap!

LOVE all the new and gorgeous book covers that are just up. Yay, Maggie, Danielle, Kristy and Cheryl!

Mary Hershey

Anonymous said...

Yes there is that word, social, in social networking. And I'm certain you've tried what you can to make Twitter a go, for whatever your reason was. I'm an INTJ. I've found the best way for me to manage just 3 primary online networking websites is with a structure and some tools that make a good deal automatic. For me it IS about energy, as it is with most introverts. Do keep on blogging! I enjoy your insights.

Patricia Weber
Blogging Business Sales Ideas for Introverts, Shy and Reluctant

Edith said...

I'm super happy you posted this! I just blogged about Teens and Twitter ( and I don't think Twitter's where it's at for direct marketing.

Barbara Shoup said...

Brilliant! It IS small talk, which I loathe. (Plus, I'm horrible at it.)

Thaddeus Glapp said...

You're making way too much out of twitter. All you need to do is set it up so that updating twitter automatically updates facebook. Then you just do all your facebook updates from twitter and you've killed both birds with one stone.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I am SO in agreement with you on Twitter. It's fun for chatting, but it's not helping my writing in any way so it just becomes another distraction. Thanks for saying it out loud :)