Shameless, self-serving “altruism”?

Jan Arzooman

Tweet, Tweet & Retweet were on a boat. Tweet & Tweet jumped off …

A few months ago, I was on the bus to work, bored and looking for something fun to read. I tweeted on my Android, “Does anyone have an interesting blog today? Share it with me; I’ll tweet about the one I find most interesting.” I wasn’t looking for anything specific—in the mood I was in, I probably would have preferred non-fiction—but I only got one response, from an erotic fiction writer whose blog was the second chapter of her book. Her style wasn’t what I was looking for, but I’d sort of promised to consider anyone who responded, so I read the first part and then the chapter she’d linked me to.

No one else answered my tweet, so she “won” my “call for submissions.” I tweeted a congratulatory note that my heart was not completely in, but I’d promised, so I delivered.

I was sort of surprised that on Twitter, a free networking, communicating, and marketing tool that you can use any way you want, more writers weren’t responding to me, talking up their blogs. I suspect they thought, suspiciously, who the heck is Jan Arzooman, what does she want, and what am I about to be sucked into?

Or maybe they were shy about bragging. I can see that. When I blog, sometimes I like what comes out and I want to talk about it, but not always. On those days I tell myself that I’ll leave the blog up, but it wasn’t my best effort.

There are a lot of people on every social media site trying to suck you in and sell you something. Do I have something to sell? Yes: my editing, writing and social media marketing services … and my name. I want to have followers who like my stuff; I want to have a good reputation. So is my offer to retweet about others’ writing self-serving? Yes and no.

I’m constantly reading, and if I find something I like I tend to share about it on Facebook or Twitter. I don’t consider this marketing; in fact, I suspect it may be detrimental to “good marketing” because I’m basically being an attention whore. But if I’m sharing someone else’s writing then I’m helping that person get some attention, too. If someone’s a good writer I want to tell others. If anyone’s paying attention, maybe I’ll get a few new followers or maybe the other writer will get a few new followers and the next time one of us writes a piece we’ll both have more readers. And I’ll have something interesting to read on the bus. It a win/win all around.

So please talk up your blogs to me or your books on Twitter (no direct messages—DMs are mostly unnecessary and a time waster to me). I don’t always have time to check a new book or a blog out, but I will as much as I can.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s