by LuAnn Schindler
OK, I'll admit it. I'm a social networking junkie. Especially Twitter. And OK, I'll admit that sometimes it get carried away and check out too many links that my friends post. But I can also say that I believe I've grown as a writer, a journalist, and a digital citizen. And yes, I'll thank my Twitter friends for shaping me and for keeping me on task when I really need to be.
As a journalist, I see the value of tweeting. I've watched a regional newspaper use Twitter to increase its circulation. Sure, this publication has a strong web presence, thanks to a fantastic Web Editor who isn't afraid to take a chance. I've witnessed breaking news story coverage. I've discovered new ideas. For me, the Twitterverse is an infinite inkwell. I'm always coming up with new ideas or twists to old notions.
As a Twitter member, I can follow anyone I choose to follow. I've made it a point to follow industry professionals who offer a birds-eye view of the publishing nest. Agents, fellow writers, print journalists, broadcast journalists, and publishers share their thoughts and opinions, and I'm soaking up their knowledge and insight and putting it to good use.
As a digital citizen, I'm learning what should and should not be posted in a worldwide forum. Yes, I would like for millions of citizens to read my work and discuss it. But I also realize that I need to be careful about what I say because, let's face it, sometimes those 140 characters can be misconstrued. Tone can't always be developed in a handful of words. Or people read how they want to hear it and form a judgement. It's a tricky tightrope to walk, but the lesson should be learned by everyone. Be careful what you write and wish for.
And finally, I appreciate that I can type 'Hey, I can't get motivated today' and I can count on my friends, especially Jennifer, to tell me to get to work! Twitter can be an excellent motivator, especially when following other writers and seeing how much they accomplish in a day.
I've heard a lot of people say they don't have time for a social network, but isn't it time to put that network to good use? Isn't it time to network, meet other writers, and promote your work? We're in the midst of an economic downturn, and let's face it, we have to work hard to make those hard-earned dollars. Promoting our work and developing a strong network is one avenue writers must be willing to pursue. Otherwise, what's the point?
Want to follow writers on Twitter? Check out the Hot 100+ Writers on Twitter .