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The new water cooler

As most of you know, I recently dipped my toes into the waters of Twitter. Turns out I love it. Yes, it's impersonal in that it's electronic communication rather than face-to-face, but where else can you tweet a bestselling author you really admire and have her respond?

One minute later!

I now have a small community of aspiring authors, published authors, agents, and friends from whom I get all sorts of great insights, motivation, and ideas.

Twitter has quickly overtaken Facebook as my favorite social networking tool. I still like Facebook, and use it exclusively for personal friends at this point. It's great for sharing photos and news and seeing what everyone else is up to, but Twitter is much more immediate. It's almost like an online chat with dozens of people at once.

The drawback? It can take up too much of your time if you let it. I try to limit my at home access to 3-4 times per day for a few minutes. I unfollow people who overtweet. I catch up on everyone's tweets, respond to some, tweet a few things of my own, and get out. I also catch up if I'm waiting in line or at the orthodontist, or working out on the cross-trainer.

The benefits? Getting friendly, helpful tweets from authors like JoAnn Ross in response to a comment/question. Learning that an agent I'm following is no longer taking submissions. Being virtually surrounded by aspiring writers who understand what it's like to struggle with the story and the dream.

Twitter provides the “water cooler” that so many of us who work from home lack. (Or those who work outside the writing/publishing industry.)

Still not sure what it's all about? Already signed up but don't know what to do? Check out this helpful link.

It's time to get your feet wet! Join me @Gwen_Hernandez.

UPDATE 4/8: Here's another good link for Twitter Etiquette, geared toward writers, but helpful to anyone.

[tweetmeme source=”yourtwittername” only_single=false]

Tell your friends!


  1. Reply

    Twitter is definitely my watercooler. Working from home is such a solitary experience. Twitter & FB allow me to keep up and interact, and sometimes, sneak in a little drama.

    • Reply

      Definitely. The loops used to provide that for me, but with Twitter I can target who I hear from and who I talk to better. Like McDonald’s, I’m lovin’ it. 😉

  2. Reply

    I agree with the water cooler analogy. I’m on twitter much more than facebook. More immediate. And strangely, seems more intimate, which is strange considering thousands of people can see what I tweet.

    And honestly, I’ve learned a lot on twitter. and I’ve gotten to know you better! Who could ask for more? 🙂

    • Reply

      Aww, thanks! Ditto. 😉

      Intimate is the perfect word to describe how it feels. I was trying to explain it to my non-tweeting, barely-facebooking hubby, but he doesn’t get it. *sigh*

  3. Reply

    I never got caught up in Facebook but I really enjoy twitter. I read a comparison once that said Facebook is all about how many friends you have but Twitter is about the quality of the tweets by people you follow and who follow you.

    Some people I follow because I learn from them, some because they become friends, and others just because their tweets are fun/clever.

    • Reply

      Another good point, Mary. On Twitter I feel free to unfollow people who overtweet, post annoying things, overhype themselves, etc. On Facebook, I can hide them, but I hate to “unfriend” people. (How long do you think it’ll take unfriend to make it into the OED? Or tweet? :-D)

      I follow for the same types of reasons. It’s both work and play, personal but not too personal. Three months ago, I didn’t “get it”, and now I wonder what took me so long.

  4. Reply

    I’m not quite up to snuff with the Twitter deal, but I try to post on it once a day. I’m using it exclusively for my writing world.

    How did you put in the tweet link on your blog post?

        • Reply

          oh, tried and it looks like I have to format it to my blog–my darling daughter changed the blog so I’ll ask her to figure it out for me now.

          me, the oh so technically challenged one.


          • Reply

            Did you mean you wanted a button on the sidebar? You can get them from or search the web for Twitter icons. You put the HTML in a text file under Widgets, Appearance in WordPress. I’m sure Blogger has a way, too.

            If you meant in the post like I had yesterday, that’s just adding a link like you normally do. Hope that helps.

  5. Reply

    You are so right here. I slacked off of Twitter for a while because it was becoming a crazy obsession…

    Maybe I’ll hop back into it and see how it goes.

    • Reply

      I’d love to see you on there. Time management is definitely my biggest struggle. I turned off the notifications on Tweetdeck so they won’t distract.

  6. Reply

    Great post Gwen. Very helpful links too. I find that Twitter is my way to reconnect with my writer friends after being at the day job for hours. I look forward to coming home and catching up. I find some great links that I use Instapaper ( to save for the weekend. I haven’t been on Twitter for very long, but I can already see it’s a wonderful tool and I’ve met so many great new friends…like you. 🙂

    • Reply

      Thanks for the instapaper suggestion, Brenda. I end up leaving a gazillion tabs open all day until I get around to reading things. This will be much better!

  7. Reply

    I stumbled across your blog, Gwen. Excellent post here. Almost makes me want to try it. Yes, I am considering twitter but don’t have a cell phone just yet as mine went through the washer & dryer. I never did do Facebook, but I have a feeling that twitter is more effective social media than FB.

    • Reply

      Thanks for stopping by. If you decide to join Twitter, follow me and I’ll follow back. And you don’t need a cell phone. I do a lot of it on the computer, but still through Tweetdeck. Good luck with the writing, and getting a new phone!

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