By C. Jai Ferry
Social media was built on the idea of being social, but many writers using the various social media tools think this means being social with readers. Charli and her literary community have demonstrated that connecting with other writers can be an important part of our regular online activities. So this week, think about how you are connecting and engaging with other writers through your social media.
Of course, the easiest way to connect with writers is to follow them on Twitter and other social media accounts, but this is also the least engaging connection. Reading other writers’ posts can help you get ideas for what you should (and should not) be sharing on your accounts with your own followers, and you can see the kinds of interactions that other writers are generating on their posts. If you are following a lot of writers but not engaging with them, you might be missing out on some wonderful insights. This month, try to make a point of interacting with at least one new writer by commenting on their posts or posing questions to them.
A second way is to follow others in the literary field, such as journals, publishers, editors, agents, and anyone who promotes writing. These professionals can help you identify trends in the field as well as opportunities for new writing outlets. They can spark ideas for writing and help you stretch your writing chops in new challenges. But again, simply following without engaging can mean you are missing out. Look for ways to engage with these professionals in meaningful ways. Try asking their opinion about a new development in the field.
Finally, you might want to try having public conversations on social media with other writers and professionals in the literary field. It can be daunting, but public conversations are visible to more than just your followers. If the thought of going public terrifies you (as it did me, initially), try finding a fellow writer you trust to create conversations. I have done this with a writing friend; we talk privately on a daily basis and have the same approach to social media. Once we realized this, we took some of our conversations about writing or scenes that weren’t working to Twitter. The conversations generated more engagement than simply posting updates or sharing information online.
As storytellers, we should be able to mold social media to meet our unique needs, but sometimes this means stepping outside of our comfort zone—not the easiest task for introverted writerly types. So this month, try to find ways to focus on creating conversations and stories in public with other writerly types. This approach may be less intimidating when exploring social media.
For this month’s #Twitterflash, your goal is to create connections and conversations by building on someone else’s story. You can do this in different ways:
Options (in no particular order)
- Search for #Twitterflash on Twitter and find a story from a previous challenge. You can expand on/continue the story, write it from another character’s perspective, or use it as inspiration to create an entirely new story. Tweet the outcome, tagging the original story’s author.
- Join the “Small-town Diner” #Twitterflash started by the Head Buckaroo and fellow Carrot Ranchers (for details, check out the March share post).
- Collaborate with fellow writers to create your own multi-author #Twitterflash (a la “Small-town Diner”), then use Twitter Moments to summarize your story in a visual form.
Play around, have fun, and come back at the end of the month and let us know what you learned. Remember to use #Twitterflash when you tweet your stories and then check out what your fellow writers are doing on Twitter.
C. Jai Ferry is a flash fiction freak, human trafficking warrior, and Master Ninja at novellaninjas.com, an online space promoting published short stories and novellas to readers. Her titles include Unraveled, a collection of microfiction and flash fiction stories, and “Skeleton Dance,” 2014 winner of the Vermillion Literary Project Short Story Contest, which was turned into a film and included in the 2016 Nebraska Noir collection. She tweets from @CJaiFerry
Carrot Ranch’s Twitterflash 2018 is a monthly challenge focused on expanding writers’ use of Twitter as a tool for writing. Throughout the year, writers will experiment with storytelling via tweets using the following areas of focus:
- Visual Aids
- Multiple tweets
Have an area you’d like included in this year’s Twitterflash project? Drop me a line.