Friday, June 28, 2013

A Beginner's Guide to Twitter for Illustrators

I joined Twitter about four years ago when it was still rather new. I’ll admit that back then I had no idea how to use it! But now, four years later, I find it to be one of the most helpful  ways to socialize, learn and network with others in the children’s publishing world. Along the way, I've met some really great friends. I met my fellow bloggers here on Simply Messing About on Twitter! Here are some very basic steps to navigating your way through Twitter to get the most from it.

1.  Set up your account so it is most beneficial for you:
Make sure your twitter account name is the same as your working name. When I first signed up, I used a fake username because I wasn’t sure how I’d be using Twitter and to be honest, I was a little scared of the new platform. Problem is, nobody knew it was me! Now, however, I use my real name--it helps with visibility when it comes to networking and creating a consistent online presence.

If you are an illustrator, why not use an illustrated self-portrait as your avatar (profile picture)? Or crop a fun picture of one of your illustrations to use as your profile photo. Hands down, you will get more followers if you have a fun, illustration that represents you as well as your work!
Along those same lines, try to use your artwork as your Twitter banner and background! You can get really creative here and used them both in a fun way to show off your illustration and design skills.


2.  Connect with those in your Industry:
Twitter feels less personally intrusive than Facebook. With Facebook, people have to “accept” you as a friend before you can interact with them. With Twitter, you can follow people, read others’ Twitter statuses and write back to them freely (unless their profile is locked, which is pretty rare these days). That doesn’t however, mean that they will respond back to you! P.S. Don’t get your feelings hurt if you don’t always get a response! ;)

Following people is easy! Just search for a friends name and click “Follow”. When you find a friend, check out who they follow to find a whole gaggle of friends!

3.  Find topics you are interested in (i.e. HASHTAGS!)
It seems like so many people make fun of the very useful hashtag. Why??? They are invaluable and can be used in many different ways. The most useful way to use a hashtag is basically as a keyword to find people talking about one topic. Type the keyword with a hashtag (#) in front of it into the Twitter search bar and you will find everyone who used that keyword in a Twitter update. Try typing the broad term #illustration into the Twitter search bar and see what comes up!

Hashtags can also be used during a chat hour that groups of people hold to discuss particular topics. For example, every Thursday night, (mostly) illustrators from the children’s publishing world get together at 9pm (EST) to discuss a topic much like a meeting, using the hashtag #kidlitart. Type that into the Twitter search bar and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a children’s illustrator “meeting” hosted by our very own @ReneeKurilla as well as the wonderful @SmilingOtis and @DiandraMae! #fun!
Here are some popular hashtags for those of us in the children’s publishing world:

#kidlitart
#kidlit
#illustration
#askanagent
#arttips
#kidlitchat

You can also use twitter hashtags to be silly and punctuate your tweet: “I am so happy! I just signed a contract with a major publisher! #millionaire" ;)


4. What Twitter is NOT good for:

Twitter is a great tool for promoting yourself, but over-promoting your latest book or project is a turn-off for your follwers. You’ll soon become the  “Telemarketer of Twitter” and that will quickly earn you a lot of unfollows. 

Twitter is NOT a place to badmouth former clients, previous clients, publishers, bosses, colleagues or anyone else, really! Twitter makes the world a lot smaller...word gets around!

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Now that we’ve gone over some of the reasons I love twitter, here is a starter list of some of the people on Twitter who make it so great! These are all people to follow who are well-versed in the children’s publishing world and who consistently tweet lots of great info:

Artists/Illustrators: 
(There really are WAY too many to name, so here are a few of the original gang I started to follow.)


Agents:

Art Directors:

Groups/Organizations:


All of this is really just the absolute tip of the Twitter iceberg. Go join Twitter and have fun! I’ve met tons of really great friends through Twitter and have gained valuable knowledge...go forth and tweet! It’s the best water cooler around for us creative types!

Until next time!

~christina

9 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it!

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  2. Replies
    1. You're welcome! And thank you for reading! :)

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  3. This is wonderful! Thank you so much!

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  4. I am fairly new to twitter and this has Helped me out thanks!

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  5. Hi Christina! Thanks for explaining the hashtag chat thing! I just tried out the #kidlitart tag. It's still a living Thursday discussion!

    Regarding the absolute tip of the Twitter iceberg... I've made a list of the most popular freelance illustrators on Twitter. Check it out here!

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