Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck - Those Damn Birds

Yesterday I read a post from a publishing blogger that I really admire. In her blog, she talked about how tired she was of reading a stream of spam, especially in a place she had created on Twitter for writers to meet and greet and help each other.

She really was upset about tweets sent via TweetDeck and Hootsuite. If you don't know these apps, these are services that let you schedule tweets in advance, for weeks at a time, to go out over the waves.

Writers, myself included, are guilty of sending out loads of prepackaged tweets, hoping to garner new readers with our perfects composed tweets.

Now, this blogger, who I completely admire, said that doing this is like stating, "I am going to send you content, but I don't care what your response is. Because I am not here at this time; a bot is sending out my tweets."

And she's right. If you hop on Twitter, there are tweets after tweets that are nothing by links to where to buy a book.

Does that mean, though, that Tweetdeck is completely useless?

For one thing, the service can help me read my tweets. I can sort incoming messages by subjects I'm interested in (books, publishing, parenthood, steampunk) so I can read what people have to say. 

But I also believe that there is a way to schedule tweets and do so without losing our personalities in the process.

Don't hate me just yet - read on.

First, I schedule tweets for readers who are in different time zones than I am. My tweet to someone in Australia might not get picked up if I send it now, but if I schedule it for 2AM there's a better chance they'll see it. 

Heck, I can contact regular people this way too. They say the best time to send stuff is from 10 pm - 11 pm. Guess what? I'm hormonal - I'm asleep by then. I need to schedule.

HOWEVER, my blogger mentor / muse is right. If I simply schedule spam for those times, then I am guilty of being a bot. 
Don't be that guy.

I think that as I schedule posts, I need to include humanity. Instead of a mere link to my book, I need to have a question or a quote - something that includes my Twitter followers and starts a conversation.

And guess what? If they answer my question, I NEED TO RESPOND.  I must do this to prove that I'm not a bot, to make a friend, to be human, for crying out loud.

As well, I must go and read the main stream on Twitter. I've had a lot of people tell me that they have too many Twitter followers to look at the stream. They only look at the interactions page (tweets specifically directed to them.)

I was doing this for a while too, and while I did so, my head jammed in my inbox, my spammy pigheaded bot self send out tweets to the general public with book links. (Confession is good for the soul.)

Well, if we all did this, no one would read our tweets. We'd all be sending out links and checking our own mail, not heeding what other people were saying to the Twitterverse.

So I decided to jump back into the main stream. Now, I read general tweets again. I laugh at some, retweet others, and guess what? There are some tweets out there from writers that make me buy books.

This said, there are those (such as my wonderful publishing mentor) who have specifically requested not to receive book links on their group hashtags. I must, as a human and not a bot, honor that request and only send out links to those who actually want to see them.

My tweets in the past have garnered me readers. I've had responses of, "Thanks so much for telling me about your book! I'm reading it now."

Still, as I said before, my muse has a great point. I must shed the bot and up my humanity game, if I want to hoot my deck, that is.


BeeCycling said...

I Tweetdeck and I'm known to schedule Tweets, but I do so sparingly and it's primarily for the sake of people in a different time zone. Say I'm doing a giveaway on my blog and it's lasting a week. I'll tweet about it once a day for that week, but at different times every day to catch different crowds and time zones. I can't stay up until 4am to tweet!

So I see nothing wrong with scheduling as long as people don't abuse it and become a flesh and blood bot. Can't imagine anything duller than going on Twitter at the start of the day, scheduling a bunch of Tweets then walking away. Boring!

KD Rose said...

This is a great post as I believe it echoes what a large number of us think but yet still fall prey to.

There are no easy answers. I think I am going to have to schedule time for "live" Twitter, just like I do other things. But that will only work if, like you, other authors do the same thing.

Alison DeLuca said...

Thanks, KD and Becky. You both have solidified my decision - that Tweetdeck is helpful as long as you don't let it take over.

I have scheduled posts in the morning just as you describe, and it is, indeed, very boring. My plan is to move far away from that and resurrect my humanity.

Thanks so much for the insightful comments!

Sean Wright said...

It really doesn't bother me unless all the tweets a person puts out are sell sell sell.

I schedule tweets of my reviews for different time zones but its only five spread out over 2 weeks.