If you’ve been following this series, then over the last 3 days you’ve discovered the evils of Auto-DMs, the tediousness of people who tweet their shopping lists, and the dark side of Auto-Tweets.
Today I’d like to take us one step further and talk about antisocial behavior and how it can <ahem> harm your efforts to build a writer’s platform.
This series was originally written over a 10-day period in 2013. I’ve included relevant updates throughout the series as Twitter changed policies and procedures. Please be aware that I may not have caught all of the changes. If you find such a change that isn’t captured in this series, please leave a comment with the new Twitter policy, and I’ll update the series accordingly. Cheers!
Being Antisocial on a Social Network
Sounds dumb, right? I mean, why participate in a social network if you’re going to be antisocial once you get there? Yet you’d be surprised how often it happens.
I’m not talking about antisocial Tweets. That’s a topic that would require a series unto itself…and writing it would make the baby Jesus cry. Well, it would definitely make me cry, so I probably won’t go there.
I’m talking about behavior that is antisocial within the context of building a writer’s platform. Let’s look at the two biggest offenders.
You came to Twitter to build a social network that could lead to potential book sales, right? Sounds good.
Your profile is the mechanism by which people follow you.
People following you is the mechanism by which you market yourself.
Marketing yourself is the way you drive people to your blog/website.
Driving people to your blog/website is the way you drive people to your book sales page(s).
Driving people to your book sales page(s) is how you sell books.
So tell me again why your profile is private?
True Twit Validation
Think back to what I wrote about building an organic following through the use of a limited amount of automation. Specifically, recall what I wrote about using a tool like JustUnfollow
and mining followers of your followers to find people with similar interests. As your base grows you’re going to follow hundreds of people per week.
What if 25% of that number requires True Twit validation to follow you back? Do you really want to take the time to read through dozens, maybe hundreds of auto-generated DMs, click the True Twit link, find the “Captcha” box, solve the puzzle, enter the solution, and click submit? If you do, you have more free time than I do.
So if you don’t, then why are you making other people do it?
As far as I can tell, there’s pretty much only one reason to use this tool: reduce the amount of spam in your inbox. But does it work?
Wait. Can I really be that confident?
Yes. I’m a software engineer. And while not all software engineers do exactly the same thing, I actually write automation tools for a living. I can write an algorithm that would solve the captcha given enough time and motivation (both of which are in short supply for that sort of thing). Sure, you’ll weed out casual spammers, but not professional ones. Professional spam houses hire software engineers. And their salaries give them all the motivation they need.
All you’re really accomplishing is stunting the organic growth of your social network. I no longer respond to True Twit requests. I just don’t have the time to go through the process of deciding whether or not it’s worth it to respond. If you don’t use True Twit, I have no decision to make.
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Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening.
Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing/gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun.
Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do.
He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.