It turns out that medical writers have been and are still underrepresented on Twitter, at least for now. In 2009, I started tweeting (username: susanecaldwell). I took the plunge–out of curiosity more than anything else–but also thought I might be able to use Twitter to market my medical writing business. Admittedly, I went into the endeavor with a common misperception about Twitter. It’s NOT just a garbage can full of inane, boring comments from people who have nothing to do. Little did I know how cool and useful it would be….
Here’s my short list of good reasons why you (especially if you’re a writer) should be on Twitter.
1. Drive traffic to your web site (assuming you have a web site). You do this by talking about your interests and expertise in your tweets (140 characters or less). You provide your readers with valuable, useful content, and they will come and see. If you’re selling your products and/or services, the valuable content, in turn, confers credibility on you and your business.
2. Build an internet presence, a corollary to #1 above. Your internet presence should be a composite picture, with your Twitter page, your web site, blog, Facebook page, RSS feeds, and other such communication tools. After all, all of this is about communication in various formats.
3. Let the world get to know you. We all like to do business with people we know, or at least know something about. Twitter lets you converse with the online world, in little snippets. If you let people get to know you, they may find you and eventually trust you–with a project, a date, a job, or another open door (such as a referral).
4. If you’re a writer, lead the world to your writing. Send the world to your blog, web site, RSS feeds, newsletters you’ve contributed to, ezine articles, technical publications, and much more. Don’t just trust that they’ll find the writing samples that are buried in your web site. Use hyperlinks when needed–and don’t assume that the folks who are looking for you will be able to find you without them.
5. Network for all you’re worth. This, of course, feeds into letting the world get to know you, and helps spread the word about your writing. Twitter is a great, living repository of knowledge and resources, many of which are of interest to writers, including medical writers. You can follow authorities in your field, including medicine, health journalism, healthcare, medical writing, physical therapy, and more. Check out those Twitter sites, and they will send you to still more sites, many of which will be related to your interests. All of those sites are by people–tweeting their hearts out about what they know.
6. Increase your knowledge–learn! We can all learn from sharing knowledge that’s getting spread every day on Twitter. All those tweeters (people), searchable by name, expertise area, city, and other terms, have information that will supplement yours. Follow their tweets and you’ll find new resources and information for doing your job, expanding your hobby, or finding a mate–whatever it is that you’re interested in learning about. From a learning perspective, Twitter can be viewed as a way to cross-reference people and their knowledge and resources. And don’t forget to check out some Twibes (Twitter Tribes), like my Medical Writers Twibe (these are special-interest groups that will make it easier to learn and connect).
7. Expand your world and tweeting expertise. The Twitter world is growing faster than ever. Twitter is an enormous market to which you can speak, show your work, write for, and network in. In fact, current projections for Twitter’s growth in the next 5 years approach the astronomical. By becoming a tweeter now, you will reach many, many people in the coming months and years. In turn, reaching these people, you may greatly enrich your professional and personal lives.
8. Find a job. There are tons of recruiters, agencies, and human resources departments on Twitter. You can search by job title, agency name, names of people in a given field, and much more. What an amazing way to job hunt!
9. Find a gig. There are also many, many resources on Twitter for finding freelance writing projects. Same methods for searching apply as in #8 above.
10. Use those cool Twitter apps. There are many applications (apps) online that can be used in conjunction with Twitter. They make it easier to broadcast info about yourself and your work, easier to find others in whom you are interested, and allow you to tweet from nearly anywhere you may be on the planet. You may want to wade into Twitter with just a few tweets, and tackle the apps later, when you understand more about how Twitter works. No rush to use these–they just make your Twitter life a little easier and more efficient. You can find them by Googling Twitter apps.
Dive in, if any of these areas interest you! I found that the best way to learn to use this amazing network is to just jump in, create an account, and start trying. Put a tweet out there and see who responds. Similarly, search some terms of interest, and start following people who pop up in the search results. Start following the folks on Twitter who interest you. And follow the ones who start following you. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
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