Twitter and the Writer: A Well Conceived Rant


     SOCIAL MEDIA…it’s evolved into an ironic catch-all from the largely defunct MySpace to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. More accurately it’s all-about-me media. And yes, this is a bit of a rant, a logical one…hopefully.

Never mind the privacy infringements of Facebook (which were apparent way before the current storm), which I have to say as a platform is quite a good discussion forum on some topics, but it’s all just a bit…pointless. Friend counts? – nobody gives a, and if they do, well, they’re either teenagers or have the mind of insecure teenagers. Followers? – again totally irrelevant, like flat-earthers. Twitter is the prime example of that. I’ve seen countless people no one cares about with more followers, in the tens of thousands, than actual famous people and people with far more talent or recognition. There’s just something so tragically, desperately, lame about Random Twitter User having gone to all the effort of accumulating followers, the most glorious of achievements indicating prestige and notoriety… when in real life they’re lucky if they have a pal with a different last name.

When I was sniffing about getting published it came to my attention that Twitter followership is heavily considered when it comes to an unknown author along with other social media ‘influence’. I’d like to see the causal relationship study between followers and talent… I mean I get it, a well known face can attract book buyers and such, but how many people does anyone remember from Twitter that isn’t well known be it from TV/ Youtube the far more influential media outlets. The old catch-22 of famous sells, but how do you get fame? How do you get work experience, when everyone only wants experience?

What’s next is a good illustration I believe (though not a picture, alas I’m no artist). I’ll break down the importance of social media followers in terms of potential book purchases.

Let’s say 1 in 500 followers buys a book:

If AUTHOR A has 10,000 followers they sell 20 books

If AUTHOR B has 30,000 followers they shift 60 books

And if AUTHOR C has 500 followers they sell 1 book

As a general metric in sales they can expect a buyer for every 1000 leaflets through doors for example, or listeners on a radio and so forth, depending on product of course. Even having halved that the expected sales from a relatively unknown self-publisher not even backed by a publishing house is tiny. And there’s really not much difference between one sale and sixty despite the much larger follower numbers I frequently see – many of which are bought, making them utterly pointless anyway. Or they’ve turned into hardcore reciprocal ass kissers swapping follows for follows – again – pointless, there’s no customers there: the garish neon lit store is open but there’s no customers.

The point is, having 30,000 followers over 500 in terms of being a marker for a publisher taking on an author is plain stupid. Writing talent is frequently neglected, and there are many out there trying to get a book onto shelves, but social media will never dictate whether someone has written or writes well. And sales from said followers are not on a level of significance to translate to future sales.

Overall, people are turning off from social media anyway. Not in droves but there’s enough of an attrition rate that the relevance of social media is diminishing for many, at a guess those who’ve experienced them for over a decade and have come to the conclusion it’s generally a waste of time, a time we could be using to actually write, although don’t pin me as a total cynic, I’m as keen on the next cat meme as anyone else.

lion around 2

20 thoughts on “Twitter and the Writer: A Well Conceived Rant

  1. Yep – I’m with you on this one. I have the obligatory social media presence but it’s not something I waste too much time and effort on. From the blog point of view I’ve got less than 300 followers of which maybe 10% have ever actively engaged (which isn’t a bad return!!). I used to think the blog was keeping my writing sharp when time was short – I’m becoming more convinced that the reality is more along the lines of a vague excuse to trade graft for the instant(ish) dopamine hit of a like or comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol that dopamine hit is so good, and ultimately I’m certain if there was no like/comments we would all stop posting…it’s both good and bad. And of course the Likes could be just clicks without having read anything…which I suspect are quite high.

      I try not to get too caught up in the reciprocal nature as well, when a blog like yours is consistently readable/interesting it’s not an effort.
      I used to get caught up in that but can’t be bothered anymore, my stories/posts are either worth reading or they aren’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can probably count my “real” twitter followers on one hand. Back in the days when I looked at it I found that if I got a new follower and did not follow back within a few days that new acquired follower would leave. So sad to see the “follow me and I follow back”-mentality. Besides, I follow roughly 180 people which is way more than I can handle. How are someone supposed to be able to catch up on the tenths of thousands?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ultimately for some it’s a social validation tool…’look at me with 10k followers I’ve never met and rarely interact with.’
      My followers drops by ten every day then goes back up…wtf is with the follow unfollow?! Bots probably, fake accounts etc.


      1. It’s a strange world we live in.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sure is Frank.
        And seems to get stranger all the time.


  3. There’s so much in your ‘rant’ which I can relate to. However, I do think one has to try as many avenues as possible and that includes (for better or worse) digital – maybe even FB and Twitter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not saying don’t use them, but I think their use is often overvalued for their effect and time consumption.


      1. I agree 100%. A working writer does not have time to use social media to any advantage. The time when a blog could attract 100,000 book-buying readers is past. Book signings? Average books sold = 8.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Also notice how the whole book market is becoming saturated with celebrities and pseudo celebrities?
        Publishers are so risk averse now, it’s worrying.


  4. Yes to all of this. I couldn’t agree more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Social media is the greatest waste a time of an author. My blog steals too much time form me. Time that should be writing and editing my own manuscripts. Any agent that is going to make an informed decision based on how many followers one has, well, I don’t hold them i high regards.
    There are plenty of bloggers I have run across with 15,000 and even 30,000 followers. All that means is they collect followers. These people don’t even interact with any of them. So, I don’t even consider them a good blogger.

    There is no correlation between great writing and the amount of followers.

    I enjoyed reading your rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers.
      It’s definitely a time drain, with practically no upside.
      And collect is the right word, it’s about looking popular rather than being a sought after writer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. I have to prioritize my days to get my manuscript complete

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How far along are you?
        Currently editing myself…taking ages.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I would say about a quarter through. My blog is a time killer. That is why I only post twice a week. Best of luck with yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Cheers, likewise.
        As long as you enjoy doing it it’s all good, and there’s value in blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Totally agree – teenagers I teach love social media. The majority of adults I know loathe it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Much like anything I think people are getting a bit bored of it all.


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