Friday, August 26, 2011

The Power of the Tweet ...

by Aidana WillowRaven

Have you ever had one of those 'Crissy Snow' moments? If you don't know who Crissy Snow is, then I'm about to REALLY age myself ... lol. Crissy Snow was the dingy blond on a late seventies, early eighties TV show called Three's Company. Crissy was infamous for not being the brightest crayon in the box, but once in a while, she floored us with a profoundly insightful statement. 

I had one such moment the other day on Twitter. I have no idea how I ran a business without Twitter or Facebook, because I know for a fact that 90% of my clients come from the social networking that I do. I had TweetDeck up, like I try to do every day, with my standard columns feeding me the latest Tweets on key topics:

Suddenly, a newbie artist pops up with a somewhat disheartening Tweet: 

@???: looking at the stunning work from all the illustrators I've added recently and thinking I should quit right now #inferior

Isn't that sad? The #inferior broke my heart. I responded immediately. I had to tell her "Noooo. It should inspire you to work harder." Then the conversation starts going back and forth a bit. I can tell she knows I'm right, but she is still a bit daunted as she gazes at works that she feels she'll never be able to achieve. Then I tell her why it's good to look at artists that are more practiced and skilled than ourselves, and why I do it all the time:

@WillowRaven: I look at my favorite artists not to feel bad, but to remind myself of where I want to go.

She thanked me for my '#wisewords', and promised she'd try to see it differently from now on, as a challenge rather than a barrier. I felt I had done a good deed and was pleasantly surprised when she decided to follow me on Twitter, and I followed her back.

At that time of the day, I had 3952 followers, which I rarely notice or pay attention to since I don't actively seek out new followers, only now I started getting these RT's (re-Tweets) of my Tweet. Authors and artists and just everyday people, who were not following me, felt something when they read what I 'said,' and felt the need to spread and share that one innocent statement.

I had to laugh. I even told the first person who RT'd it, "Thanks for the RT. Although seeing it spit back at me sounds like I was being all 'deep' or something ... lol ... but I was just trying to pick her spirits up, a bit." Then the 'new followers' stared rolling in. Now, two days later, I have 4049 followers. 

That's just a hint of the effectiveness of Twitter. But notice, I didn't get those new followers just repeatedly posting the link to my site or my work or repeatedly broadcasting my services (which I do both a bit, too--there is a time for that as well). My interaction with another person, on a personal level in a situation where I was trying to help someone rather than sell to them, is what I must give credit. It wasn't intentional, but you see the result. Now, 100 or so more people will see my Tweets about my work, or promos, or about books I've most recently worked on, and even this blog post. Their followers will eventually see me, too, and possibly follow.

What must be remembered, however, is that the internet, especially Twitter, is forever. Mind your manners and try not to Tweet anything that may go viral and haunt you or your book/art later ('I got drunk Friday and don't know the man I'm now married to,' type thing). Most importantly, get to know your fans and readers/art lovers. Your craft depends on their support.

Art Director & VP of Operation


  1. I find Twitter frustrating most of the time, so I use it seldom.

    However, those that have mastered the program do well.

  2. The first six months I had the account, I barely did a thing on it. Then it just clicked and I knew what I could use it for. TweetDeck is a huge help. It's a free software that allows me to see anything on Twitter I want to follow.

    But I do see how it can be disastrous, too.

  3. I'm finally on twitter now, but still learning how it works. Love this story Aidana. You may have changed the course of that young lady's life. ";o)

  4. Aidana, Twitter is remarkable. I honestly try to get on once a day. Now, I don't have a lot of time so I might stay 10-15 minutes on Twitter and I'm posting links to what I'm doing today on my blogs, writing news, HG Wells quotes & steampunk, weight watcher accomplishment, stuff on my favorites: Bangles, Coldplay, writing reviews, as well as retweeting and favoring some posts. Surprisingly, my followers are going up which is nice, but it does take some time and there is a learning curve. I didn't get much of a response when I first started out because of the learning curve but once you get past it, it's a great networking, social media tool. Off to tweet this post...


  5. What a great story! Of course, I'll have to tweet the link :D

    Thanks for sharing, Aidana

  6. Beth, I really recommend getting TweetDeck, or something similar. It can stay open in the background, while you do other stuff (hopefully writing), and a little pop up temporarily comes to the front, in a corner of the screen, of any tweet to you, or of interest. You have a few seconds to ignore it or respond. But it makes Twitter a much stronger tool.

  7. It's a great and quick way to connect. I've really been enjoying the group chats with writers lately. #MGLitChat and #YALitChat are two that I frequent.

  8. I think I mixed my responses to Beth and Steph up ... lol. But it won't hurt you either, Beth ... lol. And I may not have changed her life (so dramatic ... lol), but I think I made her da go a bit better. Today, she tells me that she has cleanned off the drawing table and sharpened her pencils and ready to attack ... lol. I told her about her inspiring this post, too. Her response was 'Awwwe' ... lol.

  9. Thanks, Kia. You yourself are being seen inspiring people every day on Facebook. I didn't want you to think your kind words to people go un-noticed ;P.

  10. Kris, I am familiar with #YALitChat, but I'll check out #MGLitChat. Thanks

  11. You are sooo right Aidana. So many strictly post their promos, but they have to remember to connect on the 'personal' level too! ;-)

  12. Okay, Twitter is still a new commodity for me.... I didn't even know about Tweet Deck. My work is so centered on painting every day that I neglect social media. Clients for my work normally come from portfolio sites, such as Children's Illustrators, CBIG or from my own website.

    Although I do use Facebook to keep in touch, I can see from your posting that twitter is much more than knowing who shampooed their hair with beer today.

    Thanks for the hints, words to the wise, and the news about "tweet deck."

  13. Now I have "TWEET DECK" on my desktop. I will have to learn how to use it but I think it is neat..Thanks WillowRaven *:)

  14. Dear Aidana,
    Thanks for stepping out to help that artist and many others take a different perspective on their talents. I decided to try Tweet Deck. It's pretty cool.

  15. I am tickled to see so many are looking at Twitter in a new way, and downloading TweetDeck.

    If you do want to avoid the weirdos talking non-sense, just focus who you'll follow. I only follow people who are in some aspect of publishing. And I only 'watch' publishing/ writing/ art threads.

    If anybody needs one-on-one help, my link is in my post signature. Just drop me a contact form on my website.

  16. Ginger, I've seen those pages you listed. Are the high fees for membership and their exposure worth it, really? I really like Twitter because it's still free. But then again, maybe clients that look there are willing/able to pay more for artwork?