Twitter. What's it for? I mean, really.
The word originally meant endless noisy birdbrained chatter, but that differs from Twitter because...er...
No, I can't see a difference.
OK, I know what you're going to say. Oh, it's a great way to build a platform and promote your books yada yada yada... That's what I thought too, except with Everybody and His Auntie up on the ethernet shouting about their books all the time who's going to notice? And what's worse, Twitter seems to be counterproductive in many ways. If all I know about someone is they want to sell me their book I'm not enthralled, or even interested. In fact I'm bored. Shouting Buy Buy Buy till you're blue in the face might work on prime time tv but trust me it don't work on Twitter.
Oh, but you can follow all sorts of famous people and find out what they're really like. I follow a few of the famous and not-so-famous-but-slightly-more-important-than-me and I admit it can be mildly diverting to find out where they buy their support hose or what they had for tea. But some of their peccadilloes are best kept hidden, frankly. If my favourite author is a Holocaust denier and thinks East Europeans should be repatriated it's not exactly enhancing his reputation. Just because someone excels in their work doesn't make them a wholesome or even decent individual.
Oh, but you have to network. What that means is sucking up big style to publishers, agents, authors or anybody who can use their influence in your favour. It's called assmosis and it's as old as time, not a Twitter invention at all. But there's something unsavoury about the way it is played out on Twitter for all to see, stripping all parties of their dignity. Typical exchange:
FamousAuthor: So glad to finish pesky edits. Time to get out of my support hose and uncork bubbly.
Asskisser: Congratulations! When will book be out? I can't wait!
FamousAuthor: Probably not till next year. Sorry.
Asskisser: Oh, please don't apologise. You've given me a treat in store. You're the greatest writer in the world...suck..suck..
This will have to do as it's triggering my gag reflex, but you get the picture. I've seen so much of it lately it's made me wonder when these creeps get time to do any writing with their tongues so firmly jammed into so many tight crevices.
Of course it's inevitable that these feted individuals become corrupted by the attention and drunk on their power can overstep the boundaries of professional ethics. I recently witnessed a Famous Agent post a photograph of a hand scrawled and unspell-checked letter from someone claiming to be an aspiring author. To my jaundiced eye it looked more like an elaborate piss take, but in any case it gave her hordes of Twitter followers the opportunity to cluck such grovelling responses as:
OMG I'm so sorry you have to put up with things like that!
With your great skill you could sell it anyway!
Can I apologise on behalf of all aspiring writers everywhere.
Not one of them questioned her motives for putting a private letter up for public scrutiny. Some of these people have fawners, not followers.