Dear writers: It’s finally time to join Twitter. Here’s how to get started.

We get it: That little blue bird is intimidating. But as more and more authors, agents, and editors turn to social media to connect virtually in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining Twitter. Here are tips, strategies, and best practices from other authors on getting started.

It's finally time to join Twitter. Here's how.

The podcast storyteller

When writer and audio producer Morgan Givens launched his children’s audio fiction anthology, “Flyest Fables,” he thought a great deal about how to convey the personality of his show on Twitter. “The show I make is hopeful, and so I keep my tweets upbeat and fun – I post cool things about books and things I think parents would love to show their kids,” he says.

Givens uses the hashtag “#writerslife” to build bridges to other writers and get word of his podcast out into the world. He pays particular attention to the site on Sundays, because people who work in audio post with the hashtag #audiodramasunday. “A lot of people are online that day, and you get to promote what other people are doing, stuff you really believe in,” he explains.

One or two hashtags per post are enough, he says. “If you use more than that, people don’t really take in what you’re saying. It comes across as spam.” (Other popular hashtags for writers include #writingcommunity, #amwriting, and #amquerying.)

Along with the “Flyest Fables” account, Givens has a personal account on which he often mentions other artists’ work. “Especially if I’ve gotten a recent press bump, I might spend more time promoting other people’s stuff because there are more eyes on my page,” he explains. “It’s like they say in kindergarten: ‘Treat people well, and they’ll treat you well, too.’”

He tells Twitter users that if they genuinely want to build rapport with someone, it’s important to comment on other people’s posts and retweet them. “You don’t have to be formal,” he says. “As writers, we like to use whole words, but it’s OK to use the ampersand and a little more slang. Twitter’s one of those places where you can shake loose a little bit and explore the fun part of writing.”