Jen Nipps, Writer

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Twitter 101 – Part 3

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Let’s chat.

I know we’ve been talking about Twitter all this week, but today we’re going to talk about chatting on Twitter.

With the use of hash tags and some third-party applications, it is possible to hold a real-time chat where the discussions will show up in the Twitter stream in general. It’s rather difficult to chat on Twitter itself, but it can be done using the search function and frequently refreshing. I do NOT recommend this method for fast-moving chats, though.

What are the applications?
There are three primary chat platforms that work well with Twitter. Keep in mind these are probably PC-based. I have no knowledge of if they work well on Mac systems or not. (If someone who uses a Mac would let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.)

The three main platforms I have used are TweetChat, TwitterFall, and TweetGrid. It doesn’t matter which one you choose to use. They all work in a similar way. I prefer TweetChat because it seems more streamlined than the others. That’s just my opinion. You might prefer something else or even find one that I haven’t listed.

In a nutshell, to chat, you have to use a hash tag. Some examples are #journchat, #yalitchat, #scifichat, #writechat, and more. I don’t know if there is a comprehensive list of Twitter chats anywhere. I wish there was, but I haven’t had any luck finding one.

You have to sign in to your preferred platform using your Twitter ID. Some people don’t like doing this. To me, it’s no different from signing in to Twitter. You don’t receive e-mail from these programs and they don’t have access to your contacts. It’s just a software platform that works closely with Twitter to organize the chat.

Search Twitter for your chat. Look at the times when the tweets showed up. I can tell you #journchat is on Mondays at 8:00 Eastern time (in the U.S.) and lasts an hour.

Many of these chats follow the Q&A format in an effort to keep everyone on topic. It usually works. There is usually a short time at the beginning to introduce yourself. Answer the host’s questions starting with Q# or A# to help keep them organized. At the end, there’s often a time to either reintroduce yourself or give a short pitch about what you do, depending on how the chat is organized.

If someone posts something you like, feel free to retweet it and/or respond to them. I have made some good contacts in chats. More than one have turned into assignments for me.

The End
I realize we haven’t even really scratched the tip of the iceberg, as it were, when it comes to Twitter. If you have questions, respond to any of these posts, leave me a message on Facebook (my profile, the Twitter Queen page), Twitter, or e-mail.


Written by Jen Nipps

August 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Twitter 101 – Part 2

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You’re on Twitter. You understand how to use it. But now you want to know how you get followers.

The simple answer is, you tweet. Share information. Engage other people on Twitter.


How do you find those other people? Aha! It’s not as difficulty as you might think.

Twitter has a built-in search feature. The search box is at the very top of your browser window. Decide what you want to search for and type it there, either with or without the hash tag we talked about on Monday. It’s not required, but it might help you get more specific results.

For example, I might search “crochet” since, in addition to writing, that is a mainstay for me.

Notice you can save the search so you can do it again later just by choosing it from a drop-down menu.

The left side of the screen shows current tweets about the subject. The right side shows people with that word in their Twitter ID or prominently in their bio.

To get followers, you have to follow. Many people will follow back. Start with the right side of the screen. Read through some of them, including their bio and some of their tweets. If you like what you read, follow them.

After you’ve followed a few, go back and look at the left side of the screen. Read through the most current tweets. (If new tweets matching your search term have been posted, there will be an update in a gray bar that tells you how many new tweets there are.)

Reply to a few of those. Start a discussion or join an active one. Answer questions if someone has posted any.

If you have a book out, please resist the temptation to plug your book/link in every tweet. As many followers as I have and as often as I tweet, I only post my link once a day unless someone specifically asks for it.

It will take time, but doing this will help you get followers. People may also start including you in the Follow Friday (#ff) or Writer Wednesday (#ww). Those will also help you gain followers.

Be patient. It will happen.

Friday we’ll talk about chatting on Twitter.

Oh, and if you want to follow me, I’m @JenNipps.

Part 1

Written by Jen Nipps

August 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

Changes, They Are a-Comin’!

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Last night, I decided I was tired of being site-less (as opposed to sightless), so I registered a new domain. I haven’t had one since went belly-up a while back.


I’m introducing It’s currently live but will be filled with content soon. With that, I’m also going to be moving the blog. It has actually already started. I will be posting both here and there for the rest of this week and possibly next, so don’t worry. The Twitter 101 series will continue here (next installment to be posted tomorrow.)

In case you’re interested, here’s a sneak peek at the site banner:

I will let you know when all changes are complete and when I’ll move exclusively to the other blog (which is also WordPress-based).

Written by Jen Nipps

August 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

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Twitter 101 – Part 1

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Note: This first post assumes you have heard of Twitter but know nothing about it.

You’ve been hearing it often, either on the news, in casual conversation, or in a recommendation from your publisher/editor/agent. Far from being a passing fad, social media or social networking is here to stay and Twitter is a large part of that. But how do you use it and what are some things you really need to know about it?

Welcome to Twitted 101. Stay with me this week and I’ll try to answer a lot of your questions and give you some additional resources for later.

The Basics

In any post on Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters. This includes spaces and punctuation. If you are in a chat, it also includes the tag for that chat (more on that in a minute). If you are replying to someone, it includes their name.

There are a few abbreviations and symbols that are common to Twitter:

@ – The at symbol. This is what goes in front of anyone’s Twitter ID. When you use this symbol, it will show up in their Twitter stream and on their “mentions” page. Depending on how they have their settings, it might even be e-mailed to them.

# – This is a hash mark/hash tag. While it isn’t completely necessary because of Twitter’s improved search function, it is required for chatting. Third-party platforms that host the chats look for “#[topic]” to put the appropriate Tweets together in a chat. (For example, since it’s Monday and I’ll be chatting tonight, I’ll be using the “#journchat” tag.)

RT – “Retweet.” If someone says something you like and you personally copy it, use “RT @[name]” in front of the tweet.

MT – “Modified Tweet.”  If you don’t have quite enough room for the way the original Tweet is phrased, you can edit (modify) it and post it. Use this with caution. It’s easy to change the meaning and intent of someone’s tweet doing this. I don’t recommend it unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.

These are a few Twitter basics. We’ll go a bit more into Twitter on Wednesday in part 2.

Written by Jen Nipps

August 15, 2011 at 7:20 am

A Writer to Follow: Beth Bartlett

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If you aren’t aware, Twitter has various “follow” days. Today happens to be #WriterWednesday, also known as #WW. For a while, I would also post lists of writers I think are great to follow, but then I stopped.

Why? Because I think that instead of just a list of names, people need to know why I think this is a writer worth following. To that end, “A Writer to Follow” will become a weekly event on this blog.

A Writer to Follow: Beth Bartlett
I knew Beth (@plaidewarthworm) a few years before I joined Twitter. When she joined as well, she was an automatic follow for me.
In my opinion, she’s smart and funny. Not only that, she’s pretty well-versed in the writing and publishing worlds. (If I’m mistaken, leave my delusions intact. ;)) She talks about everything from swimming in a lake in the rain to writing articles to her work on Wisecrack Zodiac and more. She’s a champion for other writers and will help promote your book or article.
Those are just a few reasons I think Beth (@plaidearthworm) is a writer to follow.

Written by Jen Nipps

July 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

To Pseudonym or Not to Pseudonym (Or: Why I Use the User ID I Do)

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(Note: This is about what name I choose to use for various accounts/sites online, not for what name I choose to write/be published under.)

When I first found the internet in the late 1990s, I didn’t want my name out there. I didn’t want people to know who I was. At the time, I barely let people know I was a writer.

That, obviously, has changed. People know I write. They know I have had things published.

Sometimes they even look for me.

That is the main reason I use a version of my name as my user ID on sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk, etc.

There is a marketing strategy used among many professions, but seems most common among writers, of transparency. You make no effort to hide who you are or what you do. You’re open and honest about yourself, your business, and what you do.

That’s what I try to do.

There’s another reason, too, though. From time to time, disagreements crop up on the Internet, as in life in general. But there is a key difference.

On the Internet, you can use a pseudonym for your user ID. You don’t have to use your actual name. Because of that, it’s easy to hide from what you say. You don’t have to take ownership of what you have said and can pretend it didn’t happen.

In life, you can’t do that.

I generally don’t go to places where such things are common practice, but eventually, wherever I go, things are bound to happen that cause disagreements and confrontations on some level.

This is my name. I have to take responsibility for what I say. I can’t hide behind a pseudonym.

That’s another reason I use a version of my name online. It keeps me honest with myself as well as with whoever might read what I write.

Written by Jen Nipps

May 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Quick Conference Wrap-Up

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The Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc., conference was this weekend. I came away with three great things.

1. On Friday afternoon, I had an appointment with Dan Case, editor of WritingForDollars and publisher of AWOC Books. Last year, I learned that he was doing a “Devoted to…” series of devotional books. As of right now, there are Devoted to Writing, Devoted to Cooking, Devoted to Fishing, and Devoted to Truck Driving. I wanted to pitch DEVOTED TO CREATING.

A few weeks ago, he posted on Twitter that he was accepting appointments at the conference (which I knew about) and I replied I already had an appointment with him. He asked me to e-mail 10 pages of “something” to him so we would have a more productive 10 minutes.

So, as I’m sure you’ve figured…He wants it!!

2. Also…In May, with the writers’ organization, we change officers. This year, I’m Publicity Director. I’ve already started on that. OWFI is now on Twitter.

I have ideas of other social media-type ways to promote the organization between now and the next conference.

3. My historical romance novel-in-progress, BENEN’S BURDEN, won 1st Honorable Mention in the Historical category of the OWFI contest.

The keynote speaker for the banquet on Friday night was the amazing Tess Gerritsen. I had a previous commitment/promise to help with moving some baskets, so I didn’t get to go to her booksigning afterward. She is a wonderful speaker. The crux of it, in my opinion, was her closing line: “Write from the heart because that’s where the stories are.”

Also on Friday, I hosted a buzz session on Twitter, microblogging, and blogging in general. Around 10-15 people came through (in & out). There is some interest in an actual conference session on it sometime in the future.

Who knows? It could happen.