The Write Tools

photoMy writer friends and I often talk about the tools we’ve discovered to actually help us put words on a page. Those tools range everything from hardware to software, pens to moleskine journals, settings to environments, snacks to libations. I’ve been singing the praises of a few of my writing tools here in a series of posts. You can revisit posts on hardwaresoftwarereferences & resources, and accouterments.

With these next couple of posts in the series, I am happy to share with you some of the technology and apps that save me time where social media and platform building are concerned. You’ve heard it said ‘Writers write.’ That’s true. But if writers are to have an audience they also need to give attention to their platform. Simply put, ‘Publish it and they’ll come’ is folly. This day and age, you’ve got to go and find them.

Good news, the advent of the internet and Social Media have made this easier than ever. But there are some risks. Chief among them is time consumption. Nothing can suck hours out of your day more subtly than meandering around the web and indulging in social media. A couple of clicks and … look what time it is!

Twitter is my social media platform of first choice. I love it. And it works well for me. Facebook, Google+ and others, not as much, though I dabble there because a significant part of my audience does. Some of the tools I’m going to share with you here work across several social media platforms. So experiment. And a disclosure at the top: There are new social media clients and apps dawning daily. I’m aware, and usually test new toys out. But I’ll be upfront–I’m pretty much a creature of habit. And if it works for me, I tend to stay with it. So my favs have been around a few years. You’ve heard of them all before. Here are three of my most helpful social media clients:

HootSuite is my workhorse. I use it to manage several social media accounts. I use it to schedule my tweets and posts. I use it to filter what I read and what I receive notifications about. I use it to monitor different streams of my social media involvement–mentions, retweets, favorites and so on. It saves me a ton of time because I am able to be ‘on’ without actually being ‘on.’

ManageFlitter is a fine tool for monitoring and managing your crowd. You can view your followers by the frequency of their posts, their primary language, inactivity and several other metrics. While it’s a great thing to see the number of your followers grow, it’s more important to have real and valued followers–followers who appreciate what you’re sharing and will share with you. I use it to weed out spam accounts that follow me. I usually use ManageFlitter twice a week. Yes, I stay on top of my follower list. But the beautiful thing is that this takes literally less than five minutes to do. Quick. Easy. Effective.

Twitterfall is a search grid that I use several times a week. You can put any words or phrases into the grid you want to search out and track. You can also filter the search–so if, for instance you want to search for the words “please pray” so that you can find prayer requests, but you don’t want to see all the tweets that say, “Please pray that Justin Bieber will ask me to marry him” you simply filter the Biebs out. Voila! (And then you pray for all the confused kids out there.) I use Twitterfall most for this very reason–to find people who have similar interests, or who ask for prayer, or who are in my area–the social part of social media is made much easier with this tool.

Give those three a try. Let me know what you think. Do you have any social media apps or programs that are useful to you?


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