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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Twitter the Seductress, and Other Things

Twitter must be the great seductress of our time. (I think female.)  She lures us in, so that she can take from us our time, and then our money as she persuades us to buy books, cheesecake, tools, jewellery, and anything else in tweets in our timeline.

I can't be alone in not wanting to 'miss something important'. This means I return time and time again to Twitter to keep up with the timeline and make sure I scan everything there. Then there are links - who can resist the pictures of pet cats and dogs (I can't) or the clamped car with graffiti on it: "F***ing Keep It"? On the positive side, I have found the odd writing opportunity and have won a few prizes, too, as a reward for monitoring.

The last four books I have bought have been written or edited by writers whom I follow on Twitter. It's a great marketing tool;  friendly tweets modestly mention their latest book, give quotes from it, and make it really easy to buy, interspersed with some fun and maybe interesting personal revelations. Then other authors praise the book. In the end, I may decide to order - though impressions must be accurate, since I seem always to enjoy the books and can then write a good review. Interestingly, though, authors whose tweets are never conversational or amusing, but almost always just impersonally promote their book, can have the opposite effect.

Twitter sucks us in to respond to other people's questions and comments, and to show appreciation. Then we return to see if we have a reply, or we investigate those followed by our favourites, and add them to our ever-growing list. And oh, the guilt at unfollowing (except for irrelevant businesses such as tarpaulin loans). Thus Twitter feeds on us, which makes it grow continually. A winning formula indeed.

And "in other news", I have now received the set of posh pans as the prize for my star letter in June Sainsbury's Magazine, and have entered another writing comp. My commissioned article on sleep is researched and ready to write, and other pitches are planned. And the set lunch at Rasraj restaurant, Oxford Street, Southampton is organic, very nice, and only £5.95. My first foodie note for ages.

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