Does using Twitter make you a better blogger?

The BookDepository

Twitter has taken off this year and has been utilised by many bloggers, both as a way of getting to know others and as a marketing tool for their blog. I have often seen posts encouraging people to sign up to Twitter, implying that it will make you a better blogger, but I’m not sure I agree with that.

Twitter has helped me to build a better relationship with some people and made me more aware of the bigger issues affecting bloggers, but I don’t feel it has made me a better blogger. I know many wonderful bloggers who have not signed up to Twitter and I do not feel that the quality of their posts is any different to regular tweeters.

Arguably Twitter leads to becoming a better commenter, as you are led straight to the source of the latest debate, but without Twitter I’d probably find 90% of the posts eventually, even if it is only via some-one’s weekly link round up.

What do you think?

Does using Twitter make you a better blogger?


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77 Comments

  1. Nymeth says:

    I’m not sure if I agree that it makes us better bloggers either. It’s a great way of meeting new people, and of deepening our relationships with others we already know – which is why I’ve come to love it, really. But like you, I don’t think it affects the actual quality of our blogs.

    1. Jackie says:

      Nymeth, Twitter improves the spped of the first comment, I am always impressed by how quickly tweeting a post leads to comments. Congratulations on being the first to comment – you have clearly used twitter to improve your commenting speed!

    2. Beth F says:

      I pretty much agree with Nymeth — it’s more about the community and being exposed to more articles and posts. It doesn’t make me a better blogger exactly, but I get ideas for posts or talked in to hosting or joining challenges!

  2. Michelle says:

    This is a fabulous question and one that will likely generate excellent conversation.

    I don’t know that is makes me a better blogger but it certainly makes me more connected to other bloggers as individuals and the posts on their blogs. It also gives me a place to brainstorm. I’ve gotten many an idea for my blog based on Twitter conversations. Does that mean they are good ideas? Successful ideas? Better ideas? I doubt it that is so in all cases but it does encourage me to blog more (good or bad).

    I certainly think there is an effect that Twitter has on a person’s blog though I don’t know that participation makes the blog better maybe just more visible.

    1. Jackie says:

      Michelle, I agree that twitter is a great place to brainstorm. I have thought of many good blog post ideas after reading tweets. Unfortuantely a lot of other people seem to come up with the same ideas and so I have had to cancel a few posts when someone else got there first!

      1. Michelle says:

        Excellent point! I think there is a tendency to duplicate (though I think there is a great deal of that in blogging in general) as a result of conversations on Twitter. More times than not I’ll ask a few leading questions to feel things out and then wait a bit to see if it takes hold. Sometimes it just passes me by and nothing comes of it, sometimes it ends up on someone else’s blog, and others I hit a home run.

        Many times with Twitter I think it’s all about timing.

        1. Jackie says:

          Michelle, I try really hard not to duplicate – the discussions at least. So finding topics on twitter can be a bad idea for that very reason.

  3. Rob says:

    Hi Jackie. Nice post!
    I think Twitter makes one better in the sense it makes one *better* informed. It also makes one *better* when it comes to networking too.

    As far as it perhaps making one a better writer, then I’d say no. I was rubbish at writing before I used Twitter, and I’m still rubbish at writing now :)
    Warmest
    Rob

    1. Jackie says:

      Rob, I agree that I am much better informed after using twitter. I love the connection with publishers and authors. That was not possible before and I think it has added to my blogging experience a lot.

  4. Rebecca Reid says:

    Well, what I like is it makes “weekly link” roundups less necessary. I can focus on my reading and other’s reviews posts in those roundups because if I find some other, non-book post of interest, like this one, I can just tweet it! So I think it’s making my blog more focused. I do like the community on Twitter, although if I let it, it will be a time waster (no offense, twitter friends!!).

    1. Jackie says:

      Rebecca, It makes weekly link round ups less important for tweeters, but there are a lot of people who still love them. I have to admit that I have been quite bad at producing them recently – I really should write another one soon!

  5. Claire says:

    I also disagree that Twitter makes you a better blogger. I think it’s great too and resource for keeping up-to-date with book industry news and I feel more “in touch” using it but it’s just, as you say, a quicker means of finding out that news.

    I would go as far as saying that the opposite could potentially be true: that using Twitter makes you a worse blogger because, like any social networking site, it sucks up time and detracts you from reading and writing!

    1. Claire says:

      That should read “great tool and resource”.

      1. Jackie says:

        Claire, I think it depends on how much free time you have. If you only have a limited amount of time for blogging/reading them you’d be better off making the most of that precious time by reading, but if you have lots of little snatches of free time during the day (as I do) then there isn’t really the time to settle down and read a chapter or write a proper blog post, so twitter is a great way to fill that gap.

        I agree though – people who tweet in their tiny amount of free time are probably doing so at the expense of their blog.

  6. I think it makes me a better informed blogger. I find out the latest book info and then can build a post around it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Chris, I agree – I am much better informed now, but I don’t think you could tell which blogs tweet regularly just by looking at them.

  7. Amanda says:

    I don’t think Twitter has improved the quality of my posts any, but it has helped me to form relationships with other bloggers, which enhances my reading of their posts (I understand their voice better) and vice versa. That improves blogging all around, but it isn’t necessary as we can get to know each other better outside Twitter.

    1. Jackie says:

      Amanda, I feel I know many bloggers better after seeing them on twitter, but have formed better relationships with people who haven’t been on twitter as we’ve had to email each other, which leads to a more personal, stronger relationship. Twitter is a great opener though – it is a bit weird just to email someone out of the blue.

  8. Violet says:

    Same here. I agree with you. I does help you get to posts and blogs which you otherwise might not have, help you get in touch with something that is going around the blogsphere, improves your relationship with bloggers, but it does not help you make a better blogger. Great topic.

    1. Jackie says:

      Violet, I thought about this topic after a tweeting session – does that ruin my argument?!

  9. Annabel says:

    I believe it does make you better informed and does get more people to your blog, but it does take up valuable reading time as it is quite addictive!

    However, it is lovely to ‘chat’ via twitter to my blog-friends about stuff that is different to what I blog about, and for that reason I love it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, I was worried about the addictive nature of twitter before signing up, but haven’t found it that bad. I can easily go for several days without thinking of twitter or having the urge to sign on – I can’t say the same about blogging!

  10. Andreea says:

    I don’t use it and I don’t feel like I am missing anything:)

    1. Jackie says:

      Andreea, Your blog is amazing – proving the point that being on twitter doesn’t improve the quality of your blog!

  11. Lezlie says:

    While I think Twitter has some great advantages, I also think it has taken a certain “discussion” aspect away from blogging to a certain extent. Whereas some really great discussions would often take place in post comments, now I more often see the final “results” of a discussion that took place on Twitter.

    Lezlie

    1. Jackie says:

      Lezlie, You’ve made a very good point. Sometimes I see a great discussion on twitter, but then only the summary appears on a blog. All that great conversation is lost forever and was probably only read by a handful of people. It is a shame.

  12. SuziQoregon says:

    I pretty much agree with the majority of commenters so far. I don’t think Twitter has made me a better blogger. I do think it has led to a better connection with the bloggers I’ve met who are active on Twitter. It doesn’t replace the relationship I have with my favorite bloggers who are not on Twitter, however. I still have those relationships and continue to foster them via blogs.

    I know that twitter has led to subscribing to many new blogs and has increased the pace that my TBR list is growing, but changing my blog or my blogging? I don’t think so.

    1. Jackie says:

      SuziQoregon, Twiiter does seem to increase the number of blogs I read. I also tend to read a large number of posts written by blogs I don’t follow, which can only be a good thing too.

  13. Louise says:

    I am pretty sure Twitter has not made me a better blogger, and like you I would probably have found most of the posts w/o Twitter anyway.

    Twitter has not taken off for real in Denmark yet, and I am following only one or two Danes, who are also following me. Most of my followers and people I follow are bloggers, so I also have to turn it around and say that even if it hasn’t made me a BETTER blogger, I do realize that I now have a way of meeting other bloggers for a quick chat, other than “meeting” through comments.

    I still haven’t figured out how to use Twitter to advertize my blog….

    Louise

    1. Jackie says:

      Louise, To advertise your blog, just tweet everytime you put a new post up. Make sure the title + author of the book you are reviewing is in the title. People often search twitter looking for tweets about a certain book, so you may get new people looking at your blog.

  14. S. Krishna says:

    Great post. I think Twitter does make me a better blogger because it strengthens my relationships with the book blogging community!

    1. Jackie says:

      S. Krishna, I guess that having strengthened relationships makes you a better member of the blogging community, but I’m not sure it improves the quality of your blog.

  15. Steph says:

    I think Twitter just serves to help keep people more in the loop on certain things and forge bonds with other people (whether they blog or not), but I think it’s pretty clear that it can’t make you a better blogger. I mean, how would that even work? Maybe if we all only wrote 150 word (or is it characters? I do not use the Twitter, so I really don’t keep track of its nuances) posts, then using Twitter would help you practice for that, but the beauty of blog posts is we can say as much or as little as we like! But saying Twitter makes you a better blogger is like saying texting someone on your phone will make you a better journalist (or grad student!)…

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I agree with you, but several people have implied that tweeting makes you a better blogger. I think these comments show that opinion is split on the matter – that is why it makes such a good discussion point.

      PS. It is characters (not words) so you don’t get to say much at all!

  16. Kari says:

    Nice question. I don’t like Twitter. I understand how it can build relationships, but I hate how my Twitter feed (or whatever it’s called) ends up being private conversations between one, two, or three people. Just USE EMAIL OR GCHAT. It creates Twitter-cliques, and it drives me crazy because if you’re not Tweeting 24/7, it’s next to impossible to be heard.

    However, I like it for finding and sharing links.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kari, I am guilty of holding twitter conversations with one or two people, but I would love more people to become involved. If I ever want a private conversation I’ll use email, but sometimes it is nice to discuss something openly and hope that others chime in. Please don’t feel as though it is cliquey – I’d love you to join in any conversations I have and I’m sure that most (all?) other people would feel the same way too.

  17. Lori L says:

    Lalalalalala… sang with fingers in my ears… I refuse to twitter. I also won’t text anyone and like to keep my favorite blogs in favorites and just look to see what people have posted when I have the time to do so. I’m completely out of the loop and refuse to acknowledge that a loop even exists!

    1. Jackie says:

      Lori, That can be a good policy too! I’m not a fan of texting – it takes so long to do and I tend to not hear the beeps (too busy blogging!) You are more likely to get hold of me by leaving a blog comment than a text!

  18. Mon says:

    How exactly is it supposed to make you a better blogger?

    I rarely use Twitter, but it’s useful in connecting to others, announcing your own posts, finding the latest dialogues IF I get on to check. But I tend to use Facebook and find there’s a limit to how much social netwoking I can fit in, what with all the reading I would rather be doing! :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Mon, I agree – sometimes it is better just to switch it all off and read! I used to be obsessed with facebook, but rarely use it now. I don’t have time for everything and facebook started to bore me.

  19. pussreboots says:

    Twitter has helped me connect with readers. Over all readership is slowly growing but most importantly the readers and subscribers I have read my blog consistently. Twitter has made my blog stickier.

    1. Jackie says:

      pussreboots, I agree – if I see someone tweeting regularly I am more likely to remember who they are. Even if I don’t subscribe to their blog I will form an opinion about them and recognise their name if it is mentioned. Sometimes I don’t even recognise the name of blogs I subscribe to – they have great content (the reason I subscribed) but a forgettable image. This means it is harder for me to bond with them.

  20. Dorte H says:

    I am certainly the right person to ask as I have never twittered :D

    I don´t think twitter makes anyone a better blogger – it may make you a better known blogger though.

    I have never considered trying it, but I don´t mind admitting that if I were a published author I would probably use twitter, facebook and anything that might sell a few books.

    1. Jackie says:

      Dorte, I agree. Twitter is a great marketing tool. If I had a product to sell then I am sure I would be trying to use twitter much more effectively!

  21. claire says:

    I don’t use Twitter either. I’m sure it improves blogging connections, but I’m happy and satisfied with my blog readership and the blogs I follow. As a mother of three, with a full-time job, plus household chores to do, I don’t think I can add another networking site to my agenda. It’ll only make me waste my time when I should be otherwise cleaning the house or doing the dishes or something, lol. No offence to Twitter-users, I’m sure I’d like it if I used it, but I don’t want to add more to my already busy sched! Great discussion here, Jackie!

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, WOW! I didn’t realise that you had three children and a full time job. I am so impressed by the quality of your blog, especially given how much little free time you have. I think you have made the right choice with twitter – your free time is so precious.

  22. Sandy says:

    Sorry I’m late. Book Fair hell. Anyway, you know how I feel about this. I don’t Twitter, because I just can’t go there. I already feel like a drone, and the additional attachment to my phone would put me over the edge. It is a matter of balance for me, I think. As a result, I have to e-mail you when there has been scuttlebutt and I don’t know what is going on! I do read various literary and entertainment mags, and do Facebook, though, so I’m not completely in the dark either. I think I build nice relationships with people here without Twitter. It is a relevant question, Jackie, because as most of us know, if we were nominated for a blogging award for BBAW, we had to reveal our networking efforts. I’m not sure where all of that led, but felt like perhaps Twittering could make the difference between winning and losing. I didn’t really get that.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I’m sorry to hear that you had book fair hell today. I hope you are more relaxed and stress free today!

      I think I’m right in saying that the possession of a twitter account was used to decide who would make the BBAW short list in the event of a tie between the people with the highest scores. I have no idea whether there was a tie break situation in any of the categories, so don’t know if it was ever used, but I hope that it isn’t put into the criteria next year, as I don’t think twitter use is any reflection on the quality of the blog. Also, just because someone has signed up for a twitter account it doesn’t mean they use it well!

  23. caite says:

    I agree with many that it is a huge time suck. If you are looking for a social outlet, fine. But, it seems to come with a price.
    Time is the ultimate limited commodity and any time on Twitter is less time blogging and most importantly, less time reading.

    1. Jackie says:

      caite, I agree. It is so important that we use all our time effectively. I am always multi tasking, so twitter time is never a time when I could be reading.

  24. Simon S says:

    I have to say my blogging readership isnt something that bothers me too much. Not in a rude way as I love everyone coming to visit my blog its really lovely but a year or so ago I had no readers and was still plugging away then, my blogs (both personal and booish) are a diary for me of what I have been doing and reading and if people come along for the ride then thats ace. I don’t sit looking at my stats daily.

    I am currently just seeing how twitter goes for me and the blog, its so time consuming though – would rather be reading and posting, they may become firm friends they may not. I shall come back and let you know. Great discussion post though!

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon. I think this is where we differ. I don’t think I’d go on if I didn’t have the interaction with my readers. The thing I love about blogging is the disscussion with other people. If noone came to visit I think I’d pack up and just comment on other blogs. I’m not obsessed with my stats, but I do try to encourage people to comment and enter into a discussion.

      1. Simon S says:

        Oh no, I love the comments and interaction, I wouldnt have taken the blog to a book group would I if I didnt??? That was part of the point and have met some wonderful new people through it.

        What I mean is its not the original reason I blog or keep blogging. It’s just a wonderful bonus and twitter… well it doesnt really grab me yet.

  25. Memory says:

    I’m on the same page as most everyone else: I think Twitter is great in that it makes it easier for bloggers to connect in real time, but I don’t think it’s made us better at actually blogging. It’s a social thing; it gives us a chance to talk to others about blogging issues, and it makes it easier to find out about things the moment they occur – provided, of course, that one happens to have Twitter open at the time. But in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, I don’t feel like it improves our skill as writers or critiquers.

    1. Jackie says:

      Memory, I think you’ve described the situation perfectly. I enjoy using twitter to discuss books and hopefully bring the discussion onto my blog, but I don’t think it improves my writing. I know that I don’t have the best writing skills in the world, but I’m not trying to achieve that. I just want to find people to talk about books with as so few of my real life friends read.

  26. i joined twitter a few weeks ago so i wouldn’t miss out on some of the info available there. i really only use it when i write new blog posts or reviews or if i see something on another blog that i really like.

    i try not to get caught up in the minute-by-minute tweeting because i don’t think i have that much to say! for the first day or so, i was tweeting what i was doing but as more people started to follow me i didn’t want to bore them to tears!

    i don’t think it’s made me a better blogger..just a more well-connected one. i learned about blog radio and listened in on a show last week all because of twitter!

    1. Jackie says:

      nat, I have discovered a few great things thanks to twitter too. I think finding out about local book events has been one of the biggest benefits. It isn’t something people blog about, but the publishers always mention things like that – hopefully I’ll be able to attend one soon and meet some authors.

  27. Jenners says:

    I hope not! I do have a Twitter account but rarely use it … and I just find myself overwhelmed by the amount of Twitter traffic. I just can’t keep up with it. I prefer to read blogs — you just get more info anyway. I’ve never been one to keep on top of things so I guess this is no different. I think good writing is what makes a better blogger.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, I think you just have to ignore most of the twitter traffic when you first log on. It can be overwhelming to see so much, but you quickly learn who writes useful tweets, so you can concentrate on them. It is a big use of time though. Best to be avoided if you don’t have much.

  28. softdrink says:

    I don’t think it makes us better bloggers. I think it’s just one more thing that splits our concentration and time. It’s occasionally fun, and handy for some of the group events, like BBAW and the read-a-thon, but it seems like once you check in for the day it easily turns into the whole day if you want to keep up on all the conversations. I try to stay off it if I have things to do!

    1. Jackie says:

      softdrink – Trying to keep up with twitter conversations is almost impossible. If you aren’t there when it starts up then I think you just have to forget about it. It can be quite annoying to see a really heated discussion and not have a clue what it is about, but I’m learning to avoid trying to go back and figure out the disagreement!

  29. Steph says:

    I have to concur with what Kari said – I find Twitter kind of creepy (which is not what Kari said, but I find it creepy for the reason she states) because so much of it becomes weird “shout-outs” to people and the equivalent of instant messaging, but publicly. It is kind of like if people started posting their GChat transcripts as blog entries, but without any of the context. It feels like I’m crossing a boundary when I’m reading people’s Twitter feeds because so much of it is directed to just one or two people, rather than a group at large. Obviously not everyone does this, but so many feeds I’ve checked up on amount to: #somepersonIdon’tknow Lol! I felt the same way 2!

    What does that even mean? Why do I even care? Why does ANYONE care?

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I know what you mean, but you just have to learn to ignore that sort of thing (or follow the #someoneyoudon’tknow!) I have found some really interesting people + great new blogs by following the #someoneyoudon’tknow!

  30. Kim says:

    It took me awhile to find a place for Twitter for me. I use it, but sparingly. Like Kari, I can’t stand the private conversations going on and on. But, I do like the tweets of some book publishers and reviewers. I decided to have a select few that I read from my phone (“devices”) and everybody else when I pull up Twitter on my computer, maybe twice a week. I only tweet a few times a week, so for me it’s mostly learing from people I really appreciate. Otherwise, it can be a huge time dump.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, I don’t think I could ever use twitter from a phone. There is just too much information. I need to have it all on a big screen and filter it to find the useful things.

  31. Meghan says:

    I am probably going to agree with everyone else here. I think twitter ties me in to the book blogging community in a more concrete way. It’s easier to get to know people and develop relationships. It doesn’t improve my blog, though, in any way that I can discern. I’m still the same writer with the same interests. I just happen to know more about what’s going on in the wider community. I’m not really addicted to it anyway. It’s just like another IM service with a wider audience; I mostly ignore what’s going on and when something interesting happens I can tune into it and talk about it. I don’t have a phone sophisticated enough to tweet with, so I do disconnect every time I leave the house at the very least, if not basically all day when I feel like doing something else.

    1. Jackie says:

      Meghan, I don’t know how people can stare at it on their phone all day. Even if I could find it on my phone (I’ve never tried) there is no way I’d look at it while walking around.

  32. LizzySiddal says:

    Twitter remains a puzzle to me. How on earth does one go about having a conversation there in the first place?

    1. Jackie says:

      Lizzy, You just ask a question and hope someone answers! You can direct the question at a specific person if you like. If you want a more detailed explanation or help in having a go then let me know – I’ll be happy to explain how it all works.

  33. Jenny says:

    I can’t speak to this because I don’t Twitter. I guess for me, Twitter is just one thing too many. It’s the internet equivalent of earrings: I’ve never had my ears pierced, not because I’m scared or because I don’t think earrings are pretty (I do!), but because it’s just one too many things for me to manage. I already have enough things to fuss about in the morning, without picking out a cute pair of earrings every day as well. Twitter’s much the same – maybe it’s great! maybe not! – but regardless, I don’t want to add it to my list of internet things.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, I know exactly what you mean about the earrings – I haven’t got my ears pierced either!

  34. Belle says:

    Twitter’s more like my virtual “water cooler”. I work from home, so it’s nice now to have a place to drop in from time to time to talk to other writers and readers. I don’t go there rigidly – I play it by ear, popping in when I feel inclined for some nice book chat, and if there’s nothing interesting going on, I pop right out without posting a tweet. I’ve taken part is some great conversations, and it’s definitely played a part in making me feel more like a part of the book blogging community.

    1. Jackie says:

      Belle, You’re right – I work from home, so it is nice to be able to have a real time chat if you happen to be stuck in the house all day.

  35. I don’t know if it makes me a better blogger, but I really do enjoy it!

    1. Jackie says:

      JT Oldfield, Me too!

  36. Tweeting does not, by nature, make you a better blogger. But it can connect you to blogs you haven’t seen before and help you to ask questions you haven’t thought of before, and those things can inspire change and improvements in your blog.

    I’m not sure if Twitter has made me a better blogger, but it has made me a more connected blogger who is more aware of issues in the larger book world, and that gives me more to blog about.

    But let’s be honest. Twitter is about marketing and connections, and the primary benefit is that it helps you increase traffic to your blog, at least temporarily. If you tweet, they will come. But they’ll only stay if you have something worthwhile to say.

  37. Wendy says:

    Well, I signed up for Twitter and gave it a good try for about a month before I gave up. For me, it made me a WORSE blogger because I had less time to blog trying to follow all the constant activity on Twitter :) I still have my account, but I never log in anymore. I don’t need another social network. It feels like constant text messaging to me…something I avoid! I have plenty of traffic to my blog (I’m quite content with my following there), so the marketing aspect doesn’t make the difference for me either.

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