Using twitter to address business concerns instead of e-mails or phone calls **
I can't actually speak for other agents, but I really really prefer it if you just e-mail or call me. Twitter is fun. I love tweeting with you about your books, about doughnuts, about saved by the bell, about the guv'ment, about your inevitable middle school bowl cut, your favorite shoes, your intense hatred of green beans, how BAMBI was some traumatizing s**t.
what I do not love: The Direct Message that reads "Hey, are you available for a phone call tomorrow morning?"
or "Hey Victoria, Did you read that MS I sent?"
or "OMG I hate my cover. Did you look?"
or " I'm starting to feel like there's no point to writing if I can't write about [insert impossible to sell trend here]"
When it's okay to tweet: If you need me and you don't know my e-mail or phone number. When it's pictures of cats, dogs, food, or kids. When it's been a long time, you've already sent follow-up e-mails or called and I haven't responded and you're getting concerned. Otherwise: e-mail. Or call.
Partly, I just find it weird and irritating. Entering a social network to discover a circumstance that requires my professional attention (beyond social media marketing)... well, it's awkward and frustrating. I came here for a little break or a nice tweet about this client's book or a buzzfeed article and now there's real work. How did that get here? THAT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE. It's like seeing your teacher at the mall.
Partly, it's not the best way to express yourself. Your concerns, whether they be about scheduling a phone call, jacket design, delivery dates, existential meltdowns - they matter to me. Which is exactly why these needs should be expressed via e-mail or a phone call where you can explain the situation to me in more than 140 characters and where, by virtue of composition or conversation, you will have to breathe, focus, and communicate clearly. Win/Win.
But mostly, it's just crazy inefficient. I can guarantee you that I'm going to see an e-mail or voicemail from you before I'm going to see your DM. The first thing I check in the morning: e-mails and voice-mails. Twitter is like the twentieth thing on my list, and there are days when I don't get to it until the late afternoon or I don't get to it at all, and if I do get to it, I don't leave the screen open and obsessively refresh; it's more of a pop-in / pop-out thing.
But, but, you just tweeted something 4 minutes ago so I know you're there! -> This is true. I was there. 4 minutes ago. I'm probably not there now. And even if I am there, I'd still rather have an e-mail.
Okay, but it's 11 p.m. so you're not at the office, but I can see you on twitter and I really have to get in touch with you. --> Do you, really? Is this absolutely 100% you-will-die- if you have to wait until 9 a.m. to talk to me? Because, like you said, it's 11p.m. I'm not at the office. I'm probably on twitter because I've finally gotten some personal time. Also, there's a good chance that I've had wine, am at dinner, watching a movie, or am otherwise unable to provide proper guidance at this precise moment. You're probably still going to have to wait until 9 a.m. anyway, so why not write an email. Maybe it'll be therapeutic?
Now, there are some super-tweeting agents who actually might check twitter first. Here's a clue. When you DM your agent, do they e-mail you back? When you DM your agent, do they take longer to respond than if you'd just e-mailed them? As per general life advice, when in doubt- ask!
** Not you, Andrea! Outlook prison and all that.