Twitter Festival Round-Up

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TL:DR: In the aftermath of the Twitter Fiction Festival I’m now 3000+ words and 16 followers richer.

Well, that was fun. And kind of exhausting.

For the past four days I’ve been posting at an enhanced rate in order to intersect with the other readers and writers participating in the Twitter Fiction Festival in the hope that I might garner some favourable attention.

On day one I had planned to post twice as frequently as I normally do, which is to say four times a day. I also planned to post during what as far as I could tell were peak times for people on the eastern coast of the USA, which is to say 5pm their time (9am mine or thereabouts). So there I was, my four launch day posts all hashtagged and scheduled and ready to go, and twitter all seasoned by the four hashtagged posts I’d done the day before as a kind of premiere.

And there they went. A whole day’s schedule gone within half an hour, lost amid the heavy traffic of the opening night. And because I’d scheduled them for 5pm on the dot, the fact that the festival wasn’t really cooking for another hour or so meant that they were essentially lost.

As I surfed the hashtag and the featured authors’ feeds I realised I would have to make a little bit more noise to even stand the smallest chance of being heard among the glorious cacophany. It was time for a Plan B.

Plan B saw me rescheduling all of my already-scheduled-but-not-yet-posted tweets for day two of the festival into a stream of 140-max storytelling instalments, one every half hour from 9am EDT until 7pm EDT or thereabouts. Of course the entire week’s posts turned into a single morning, which mean more writing was needed.

I spent every lunchtime and every evening of the next three days cranking out more of Aramis’s adventures, then loading it up one tweet at a time 15 characters for the hashtag in time to roll out a day’s instalments the night before in 30, then 20, then 15-minute increments. The first of the three days of deadline-chasing went fine, mainly thanks to the backlog of posts I had already loaded up, but the last two says were a bit more about squeaking over the line: both nights I was clicking “Schedule Post” for the final time about an hour before the first post for the day was due to go live at 1am (my time).

Each morning I would drag my dog-tired self out of bed and check my inbox for notifications while rubbing my eyes so they would stay open. The first morning after an all-Aramis-Fox-all-day tweetarama I was stoked to see a notification from the official #TWFiction account saying that Aramis Fox had been featured on the festival website in their non-featured-authors feed. Did I say “stoked”? I meant to say “pretty stoked”.

Having proven that relentlessness is the key to success on twitter (who knew?), I kept up the pace for the rest of the festival and was happy to start seeing people retweeting and favouriting posts and following the account, and also to see Aramis up on the NFA site feed on the two subsequent days. Yay for minor fame!

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It was interesting to see which posts people singled out for stars and little green boxes with arrows chasing each other around like Ourobouros – not the ones I would have expected. I try to seed at least every second or third post with a juxtaposition of the mundane and the fantastic, but for the most part it looked like the posts that people (and when I say “people” I mean “people I assume are people and not bots”) liked dealt with purely mundane matters, like train stations, travel and filling in forms.

I’m taking a night off from writing Aramis Fox (admittedly by blogging about writing Aramis Fox) and having a think about where to from here. I don’t think the pace of the last three days is sustainable, but I think it would be silly to return to my previous plodding two-per-day routine. I think the best course of action would be to find a middle ground between manageability and frequency. Maybe the every-fifteen-minutes thing is doable if I only do it for two hours a day around two peak twitter-use periods? Anyway – that’s my deal. You don’t want to hear me thinking aloud about that sort of stuff.

But because social media is all about numbers, I’ll finish this diatribe with some statistics and bid you good night.

In the four days of and two leading up to the Twitter Fiction Festival (March 11-17) I:

  • Posted 150 tweets
  • Wrote 3382 words (or 14,653 characters)
  • Got RTed 6 times
  • Got favourited 12 times
  • Got featured on the TWFiction homepage 3 times
  • Scored 16 new followers

And, as always, if you want to be incorporate into similar and equally meaningless statistics in the future, check out what’s happening right now on @arfox.

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