Information Overload?

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I was reading an article on Twitter in the February issue of Writing Magazine (awful website btw) earlier today. The article was espousing the value of Twitter as a marketing tool for writers. Every writer who’s anyone has a Twitter account and shares their skills with the world in 140 character soundbites… apparently. Actually, I could write a whole entry about Twitter, but I’ll hold that thought, as I have other plans for today.

I dutifully went and investigated finding a whole host of writing related tweeters posting furiously. I added around eleven to follow and read a few tweets noting they almost all contained links. Most directing me to what seem to be really useful and informative sites. Great, this is just what I need, more info, more advice, more inspiration!

Thirty minutes later I’m late for starting dinner and I’d not even begun reading any of the content properly. Wow, I thought, this is going to be hard work. Looking into something that I’d like to do as a part-time source of income is turning into a full-time job! I already have trouble finding time to write a daily blog entry…as you may have noted. I am also trying to get to the end of Apartment 16, whilst keeping up with the daily news and digging deeper into some of the more pertinent issues. Then there’s my editing course and this months issue of the aforementioned Writing Magazine and now I have eleven tweeters to follow, all linking to multiple web sites a day…

Then it hit me. (horrible generalisations and stereotyping alert) In my Marketing Days I would stand at the fringe of a group of people obsessed with looking right, reading the right things, drinking the right drinks, eating the right food, in essence, marketing themselves. In the past I’ve associated with theatrical darlings, many of whom spend their time massaging one another’s fragile egos and acting their parts on and off stage. It should come as no surprise that writers…write.

“You want to be a writer? Great! You need to read all this!..and I just happen to have written this over here that you may find useful.”

Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I see the value. I’m signed up to it. I want to write, and I want to read… but how on earth am I supposed to find the time? And is reading more important than writing? How much is too much? It’s actually overwhelming and off-putting. Information overload.

I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson about ten years ago (great book) and the main character’s role was to find useful information for people. He was, I guess, a human search engine. The internet was filled with so much information that only a skilled few could navigate it successfully (or at least that’s how I remember it). The concept inspired me, and it’s times like this, when I feel we’re not so far from that reality.

So I will keep you informed of my experience in this and of course I will share any useful links. You might as well benefit from my efforts…

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2 responses »

    • Hi Haley ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, I’m pretty new to Twitter myself, so I can’t offer much advice just yet. The key points of interest in the article I read were, I think:

    • 1. The most followed people on twitter are business women and writers.
      2. The constraints of 140 characters provides an interesting media to explore one’s writing skills, Simon Sylvester (@simonasylvester) was mentioned for his 140 character stories…definitely an art form I think!
      3. Publishers like it (apparently) as it demonstrates there’s a market for your work/style.
      4. Twitter is an opportunity to get into a conversation with many like-minded people.
    • (Curtesy of “Build your Profile on Twitter” – Rebecca Woodhead (@rebeccawoodhead) in Writing Magazine Feb 2011 issue)

      As for the practical stuff, well, there’s lots of guides out there, but I read this one yesterday and it seems to be pretty straightforward, giving you enough to get started and links to, yep you guessed it, a whole host of other useful articles at the bottom! “Social Networking For Authors: Tips For Using Twitter Effectively” Happy reading ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Hope that helps! Let me know when you get set up.

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