Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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Twitter Hashtags – 2 Suggestions

Twitter hashtags can help collect follows and followers. Tweet and retweet wisely.Twitter is a great tool for writers and a great place to connect with people who share like interests. I’ve chatted about how it needs to be more social than billboard-ish. I’ve even mentioned how hashtags can be used to promote your tweets.

But I’m going to share about them again. Mostly because I keep seeing them misused. I did plenty of misusing myself when I first started, so the message remains needed. Lately, I’ve seen some very clever twitter buds who would use the hashtags as the punchline of what they were saying.

Clever yes; useful no. Unless you think #mycatthrewuponme has a good following. I read a blog the other day about marketing and one of the quotes has a direct correlation to the use of hashtags on Twitter. (I SO wish I could remember where I got this note. Please leave me a comment if you know who said it so I can properly quote and credit the saying.) Find out where your audience is, then go stand in front of them.

1. First Suggestion: Find Your Audience.

That’s what hashtags are all about. #mycattrewuponme is a lousy use of space because no one will be watching that grouping of words. No one uses the hashtag, so why would anyone watch for the words to come across? Spelling it out: no audience. On the other hand, #Catjokes works! Hot hashtags include #avengers, #castle, #psych; all have quite a following of people who watch for the posts with those words and comment/share what they see.

Let’s say you aren’t a writer. How about you’re a camera nut and you want to see what other photographers are saying or thinking, or you want to find some informative blogs about becoming a professional. #photo #photographer #photography. You can do a search on Twitter and find all the recent tweets that people have made using the hashtags. Watching them and interacting with the tweeters places you within a loosely defined group of people who like photography. (BTW, #cameranut is a strikeout.)

The same can be said of any number of hobbies: #scrapbook #NASCAR #Olympics #Labradors #homeschool are a few of mine. Those are the places where I find folks to connect with who are interested in things that I’m interested in. In fact, I love being on Twitter during a NASCAR race because everyone comments on what they’re seeing. Even some of the things the drivers are saying to their crews get tweeted by their teams. What a fun idea!

Find some groups who will respond to the book you’re writing. Is it historical? Try a hashtag for the era like #Civalwar, #Regency, or #Medeival. Does it interest a special group of people like #Trekkies or #military? Try to find some hook, some common category that people who will like your book might congregate near. I have a problem with this because mine’s contemporary romance/suspense. The hashtags of romance and suspense are used a LOT, along with Christian and fiction. I’m still working on it though and hope to come up with some ideas.

#faithdrivenfiction is a great tagline, but on twitter, it’s where the crickets convene. And it goes back to my point about not using a hashtag as a punchline. #slickerthansnot might be the perfect ending for your tweet, but it won’t get you any extra views. If you want to be seen, usually the point of twitter, then use hashtags that people look at.

And if you’re wanting to connect with other writers, (I use these hashtags when I’m posting about anything to do with the life of a writer) you could use #amwriting #writetip #pubtip #writer. You could also use special group hashtags, like #mywana or #ACFW, but only if you’re a member of the groups.

2. Second Suggestion: Visit the Hashtag BEFORE Using!

You will get fussed at for using #hashtags incorrectly. Yes, I’ve been there!

Having seen the label #wordmongering, I assumed it was another general writing group and used the hashtag on a blog article that I wrote about writing. Sure, they want to read it, right? … Um … notsomuch. See, #wordmongering is a challenge group of writers who use the hashtag to encourage each other to keep writing through half-hour sprints. I received a very nice note from the gal who created the hashtag and an invitation to do some word mongering, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. But I don’t post my blog ads there!

Oh and I must share a great article – short and sweet – about gaining followers on Twitter. http://aheartforgod.blogspot.com/2012/01/10-ways-to-get-more-followers-on.html I swear the image looks like a magazine cover and I was totally inspired! So cool!

Your turn! What are some hashtags you’ve used or some that you watch?


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Finding Your Path

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost – 1916 (public domain)

Have you experienced the ecstasy of being in exactly the right place? Completing a task that fit your talents and passions perfectly? Ahhh. You know you’re where you’re supposed to be. You know what you’re supposed to do. The satisfaction encompasses everything else.

Nothing beats that feeling. For those who strive to follow the Lord’s leading, I’m convinced this contentment confirms His will. Likewise, the opposite is true when His will isn’t confirmed.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4. When I’m focusing on bringing Him honor. When my whole purpose is to please Him, then He lets me know what He wants me to do. He puts the passion in my heart, stimulates my imagination, and stirs the enthusiasm.

Then sometimes, I find myself trying to force something to be His will. I try to make what I’m doing fit, like a piece from the wrong puzzle, and end up with nothing but frustration. God uses that, too. Likewise, the restlessness I feel bleeds to all other parts of my life. When His hand isn’t on my activity, not only am I gonna be miserable, but the activity won’t be blessed by my involvement and the person who should be in my place has to wait until I move.

For instance, only two people are needed to teach 5th-grade Bible Study. Say I’ve got one of those spots with Anna, but I don’t like the job. My stomach clutches every Saturday night as I plan the lessons. I’m desperately relieved every time one of the lessons end. And when asked why I do it, my answer is that I’m needed there.

Wrong.

Fork IN The RoadEither I’m not serious about trying to follow God’s will, or I’m not needed in that place. If I’m not following, I need to re-evaluate my purposes for everything I’m doing. If I’ve got that step checked off, then I have to remember what delight feels like. Contentment. Peace. Confidence. If my activity is missing those blessings, then all I am is busy.

See, what I don’t know is God’s plan, though He’s trying to help me see it with physical reactions. I don’t know that Bette is looking for her first opportunity of service, or that she longs to spend time with kids since she can’t have any of her own. And meanwhile, I also don’t know that the perfect opportunity, something that I can sink my creative talons into and get excited about, dangles to the point of failure because I’m not there.

I hang on to the wrong ministry for the right reasons, but the reasons aren’t good enough when I’m ignoring what God is trying to tell me. IF I’m serious about working for Him, He DOES tell me when I’m on the right path, and consequently the wrong one.

What is He telling you?