This week I'm sharing with you five important lessons I've learned in my first three months or so as a Twitter user promoting my crime fiction novel, Blood Passage. I began with Lesson #5, where I learned that Twitter has a lot of marketing potential, and followed with Lesson #4, in which I suggested that Twitter also has a lot of research potential.
Now it's time for Lesson #3: Twitter is a lot more easy to use than Facebook.
My mother always told me that if I don't have anything nice to say I should just keep my mouth shut, and I've tried to follow that rule not only in my everyday life but also in my online presence. It's been a strain sometimes not to publish that negative post about zombie legacy publishers or snooty agents or disinterested publicists. But I've resisted the temptation.
As Popeye used to say, "That's all I can stand, I can't stands it no more." I struggle with Facebook. I don't like it. Oh, I understand its value as a social medium and a marketing tool. Many of the indie authors I researched before making the decision to go independent myself have successfully used Facebook to publicize their books and engage their audiences. I understand that very well.
Perhaps it's an individual thing. Some of us get Facebook and some of us don't. To me, it's a very user-unfriendly application. I have absolutely no idea how to navigate around in it. Whenever I try to do something new, it doesn’t work and I end up in a window I didn’t expect. I have a personal site when I only wanted a fan page. I created a fan page and have no idea how to make certain that people come to the fan page rather than the personal thing. I get notifications that someone has posted a message for me and I have no idea where to find the message within Facebook. Don't get me wrong; I'm computer literate. At one point in my career with Canada Customs I designed computer-based training using scripting programs no one else in the department at the time knew how to use. It's just that Facebook is an unfriendly environment for a casual user such as myself. Perhaps if I lived on it, as my son does, it would be a different matter. But I don't, and it isn't.
Twitter, on the other hand, is a snap. Sure, it occasionally gets a hairball and I have to close it and reopen it. It has a few other flaws that are well-known to everyone, but it was simple to learn, simple to use, simple to understand, simple simple simple. I like simple. Simple works for me. I log on, do my thing, and move on to something else. Love it.
Plus there are a whole whack of apps that can further simplify my Twitter experience. Want to know who's not following me back? I can use "Friend or Follow." Want to shorten those lengthy links to accommodate my full message within the 140-character limit? I can use bit.ly or a similar app. I suppose there are also a lot of Facebook apps I could use, but frankly, do I care? I'd probably get lost in the Facebook jungle trying to find and use them. Bit.ly? It took me about two minutes to find it in a Google search, register and start using it. Simple.
The bottom line? If we take this lesson as a glass half-full thing (Twitter) instead of a glass half-empty thing (@#$%^ Facebook), I've learned that Twitter is a very user-friendly application for me that can do what I need it to do with little effort. Hoorah for Twitter.
Tomorrow: Lesson #2: It's Better to Spend the Time on Twitter Than to Auto-Tweet