I’ve been getting a fair few twitter followers lately, and considering that I was always the nerdiest kid in the school library, that’s a big deal. (Seriously, I think that guy with the skin condition had more friends than me). Anyway, the problem with this is that I feel a rant coming on. A nice, Follow-Swap Blog Hop rant.

See, for a lot of people twitter is their first contact with potential readers, and it’s being wasted. If you follow me and I see your profile says “tea drinker”, I facepalm so hard I don’t wake up for an hour. I mean I’m not one to stand between a person and a warm beverage but don’t forget that that brief twitter bio is your chance to sell yourself to hundreds of people, so you want to be aiming for some sort of unique selling point, right?

While we’re on the subject, people don’t need to know where you live either. Unless they’re a) your grandma or b) a murderous stalker, they’re not going to remember a thing like that, so why waste any of your valuable 160 characters on it? Besides, writers don’t even go outside, let alone go visit total strangers. It makes no sense!

And speaking of serial killers, if your profile pic looks like a prison mug shot, I’m going to have to join those tea-drinkers and drown my sorrows in an English Breakfast. Your portrait is the face (every pun intended) of your marketing strategy, so it needs to show a little bit of you, even if that means looking as daggy as this:

Finally, make sure you’ve got a few interesting tweets showing on your profile page. If you’re having a lengthy conversation with someone, switch to DM’s or even that old classic, email. Either that or try and follow people when you’ve recently posted an interesting link or tweet, so that when they visit your profile you establish your reputation as a valuable source of information or a master of the ancient art of status-box comedy. That way when they’re scrolling through their twitter feeds they’ll actually stop when they see your profile picture.

I’m sorry to be making a fuss, and I’m not holding this against anyone because we’re all just trying our best. So I’ll quit whining now and instead say think about the twitter profiles you remember. The ones that made you laugh, made you curious, or made you check out their blog because it looked like it could be useful to you. They’re the sort of profiles you should be aspiring to, not Joe Bloggs, the accountant from that town you’ve never heard of, who likes tepid water, chocolate, and is “loving life”. I know how hard it is to write a book, build an author platform, raise three dogs and a pet husband (don’t even get me started on the pet husbands) and just want to see everyone’s efforts turn out as worthwhile as possible.

After all, that’s what the follow-swap blog hop is all about, and I’d really appreciate it if you helped your fellow writers out, and spread the word with me. And if you like seeing my head nearly explode, here’s one of my most popular rants for you – On Bad Editing and Faberge Eggs. Enjoy!