A few years ago, I had a Twitter account. I had about 2,000 followers—maybe five of whom I actually communicated with in any meaningful way—and I tweeted about all sorts, from work and travel (they are connected in my case) to football and cricket. I’d rant from time to time, too, and crack the occasional bad joke.
Just as I had a haphazard approach to Twitter, my feed was also full of rubbish; people spamming their latest blog posts, fishing for retweets and follows with shallow compliments, and in many cases sharing very low-quality content. There was a lot of noise, but very little that stuck out. There were trolls, too. It was all a complete waste of time. And so, I deleted my account.
Since then, I’ve given presentations about being a writer where I’ve said it isn’t essential to have a Twitter or any other kind of social media presence. I still think that. Focused marketing—pitching a relevant idea or introducing yourself to an editor, joining professional organizations, keeping an easy-to-find website with portfolio, and so on—is far more effective for someone like me who writes for magazines and does books. For a self-publisher, I imagine things are different; it might well be beneficial to build a large social presence.
So, anyone who has yawned through my efforts at using PowerPoint might be wondering why I’m back on Twitter. First, it’s not about promotion. I still doubt Twitter is really that effective for most writers for that purpose compared to other means. I’m back because I want to see what other people are writing and reading about Japan, and what publications are after. I want to connect with more people who do the same job as me—other freelance writers—and people who (like me) like travel and Japan. I’ll share the odd work link, too, if it’s relevant. Whether Twitter will be any good for that or not, I don’t know. We shall see.