Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 4 July 2013

Twitter and the Art of Publicity part ii

So... There you have it!

When it comes to blogplugging on Twitter, adding a hashtag or an @ mention doesn’t appear to alter the stats very much, if at all, with regard to attracting new readers.

Of course this wasn’t a scientifically conducted experiment, but I have an idea how many readers to expect, and yesterday’s numbers didn’t deviate from that expectation.

On the other hand, the very charming Ian Rankin did join in with the fun.

This, of course, skewed the figures towards the end of the day, after his retweet. 

It wasn’t my intention that Mr Rankin would particpate, but that’s where things get interesting, isn’t it? Because you never can tell, especially with social networking, exactly what’s going to happen next in any given situation.

On those occasions when I’m looking for displacement activities, and I don’t want to clean the kitchen, I tend to wander around on Twitter looking for interesting stuff, and, once in a while, I might say something to someone. As a consequence of the sort of people I tend to follow, some pretty interesting people have spoken back to me, including writers, artists and musicians. They’re just like the rest of us, and they look for stimulation or displacement, too, or just to connect with people or ideas, and Twitter isn’t the worst place in the World to do that.

Of course, many people who are well-known, either for what they do or for who they are,  use Twitter for publicity, and have other people tweet on their behalf, and there are those who masquerade as famous people, just for fun, or for all sorts of other reasons that are beyond my understanding.

Typically, I think, writers and broadcasters tend not to be among them, if for no other reason than that they are used to speaking and writing for themselves, and expressing their thoughts quickly and succinctly. They also live solitary existences, so that any and all interaction with other people in the outside World seems to have some value. As a writer and blogger, that’s my feeling, and that’s why I use Twitter.

So, back to Mr Rankin.

For those of you who don’t already know, Ian Rankin worked on a Hi-Fi magazine in the 1980s, reviewing equipment and records, writing columns, sorting letters, and doing all the hard work that a dedicated assistant editor on a small, but prestigious title might be expected to do. I was the ad sales department.

In most magazine publishers, at Emap or Conde Nast, for example, the ad sales people wouldn’t mix very  much with editorial; they might only know each other by sight. PNP only ever grew to two titles, and the entire staff sat in one office, sharing one phone system, a coffee machine and a stapler. In the couple of years that we sat in the same office, I think it’s fair to say that I got to know Ian a little bit; he even gave me my first bit of writing advice, and very good advice it was, too. This was 1988 when only The Flood and the first Rebus novel Knots and Crosses had been published.

I knew Ian wouldn’t mind me using him in my little experiment, yesterday. He was always a nice bloke, inclusive, kind. I was surprised when he asked me, via Twitter of course, what I’d like him to do at his end of the experiment, though, and reassured him that he need do absolutely nothing at all, that I merely wondered whether using his @ and a hashtag might make a difference to the traffic on my blog.

Last night, I did my last blogplug of the day, and, bless his generosity, Ian retweeted it. This morning I received this comment on my blog,

I've read this thanks to Ian Rankin retweeting your tweet. I've also read a few other posts and may consider adding you to a blog reader, which I may or may not keep up with on a regular basis. 

It's interesting to see what draws the most attention to a blog, depending on the niche. For me, as an expat in the Netherlands, weed, prostitutes, and bicycles draw the biggest crowds. Stereotypes die hard. 

I was rather charmed by it and by the woman who wrote it, and I skipped over to her blog to look at her rather good photos. You see, that’s what makes the World go around.

Now, off to write a blog about bicycles, since I know damn all about weed or prostitutes... Come to think about it, I don’t know a whole lot about bikes, either!

What it says on the cover!
Thanks, Ian, and I thought the latest book rather good, too, just so you know.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, thanks for the link and nice comment on my photos. For what it's worth, it's the blog reader in general that I'm not sure I'll keep up with, not your blog specifically. I was happy to see Google Reader disappear as it had become an albatross around my neck paired with a Sisyphean task. :)