For the record, I have not been, nor am I now, one to embrace social media. So when my publisher sent me an email saying that I need to be involved in the various forms of social media, including Twitter, I had to really think about it. Do I really want to do this? Not only would I have to learn how to use Twitter, I would also have to come up with things to tweet. Hmm …. sounds like a lot more work. Plus, I could see it cutting into the time I need for coming up with new cartoon ideas. Then I realized that I have ideas in my notebooks that really aren’t cartoon ideas, but actually might work in the Twitter format – funny (hopefully) concepts that can be presented in short written form. Yeah, maybe I’ll give it a shot. I mean, if it will help promote my books, maybe it would be worth doing.
There it is in that last sentence – my reason for being on Twitter was to promote my books. I guess that’s OK. But is it effective?
Shortly after I began posting on Twitter, I bought a book by one of my comic heroes, Steve Martin, entitled “The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.” The book is filled with tweets Martin has posted over the last couple of years, and, as one would imagine, are extremely funny. But what caught my attention was what he wrote in the introduction and I quote, “I started tweeting for purely commercial reasons. I realized that when I did a television show to promote a book or record, and that television show had an audience of, say, four million people, about four hundred of them rushed out to buy the book or record. I figured if I had a Twitter audience of four hundred thousand – an audience that was tuned into me – and I promoted a book, then four hundred thousand of them would rush out and buy my book. Instead, forty of them rushed out to buy my book.” He finishes his point by stating, “All this tweet material turned out to be good for one thing only: tweeting.”
There it was – my answer. Here is Steve Martin, one of the funniest people on the planet with millions of Twitter followers, telling anyone who wants to know that Twitter is not helpful when it comes to promotion. I’m glad he shared that. Now I know. Does that make me want to stop being on Twitter? Strangely, no. For one thing, it gives me a chance to follow comedians and cartoonists that I really enjoy. But not only that, I have found that it’s fun to tweet for tweet’s sake because you might actually tweet something that someone else likes. One of my followers messaged me to let me know that she found my tweets to be very funny, and that she checks back often to get cheered up. Wow! Not only did someone read my tweets, but actually enjoyed them! The feeling I got from reading her message is identical to the one I get when someone reads one of my cartoons and laughs. It’s hard to describe, but it feels really, really good.
So, yes, I’ll keep tweeting, at least for now. I may not sell many books as a result, but thanks to Mr. Martin, it won’t come as a surprise.