Once a solitary pursuit, the advent of social media means writing is now a journey you can share with the world. The online writing communities are fascinating, fun and useful for anyone, but they’re especially great for young writers.I can’t drive, I live in the middle of nowhere and I don’t know anyone my age in real life who writes. Despite all this, I’ve made friends and learnt a lot already from other writers in the short time I’ve been active on social media.
In this post, I’ll be weighing up how well both Twitter and Instagram work for young writers. I think we come to social media for three main reasons: to learn, to connect and most importantly, to have fun, so these are the criteria I’ll be judging both against.
Learn: Twitter is great for this. The fact means people can share their links directly in a post means it’s really easy to find useful resources to help you become a better writer. People also love sharing links to things they found helpful so you can trust their recommendations. Authors or other aspiring writers will also share succinct, easy to remember tips. I know Twitter has a bit of reputation for being argumentative but I also see this as part of how it can help you learn. Experiencing other people’s viewpoints, even if you wholeheartedly disagree with them, will go a long way to improving your characters.
Connect: A good thing about Twitter – you can get a lot of followers pretty soon. A bad thing about Twitter – a lot of them will be bots. It’s hard to get likes on a tweet. It also feels a bit awkward jumping into someone’s thread even with a friendly comment. Most DMs you receive are generic ‘Thanks for following, buy my book’ type affairs. Once you get to know people a bit better it gets easier, but progress is still slow. The biggest off-putting factor for me is that I’ve been unable to find any other people my age.
Fun: Twitter can be a lot of fun. I’m a big fan of hashtag games, even if I usually forget to play, and chat events are always great. People come out with the funniest comments and I like how gifs are practically mandatory for everything. It can also be really dull. Nobody wants to scroll past twenty ‘buy’ links in a row but that’s what can happen if you’re following a lot of indie authors.
Learn: There’s a lot to be learnt from Instagram, but in a different way to Twitter. Rather than posting direct writing advice or blog posts telling you what to do, I’ve found people share more intimately about how their writing is going. Often, not so well. Writing is hard and Instagram will own up to that, despite all the criticism it attracts for pressuring people to be perfect. You can pick up little tips about writing routines and inspiration and planning methods without anyone lecturing you once, without even realising what you’re taking in.
Connect: This is the best part of Instagram I feel. People are easy to talk to, they allow you a glimpse into their lives and snapshots of their days. It’s slower to build up followers at first but the ones you do have you can build a proper relationship with. I’ve made a few friends from across the world in the two/three months I’ve been active now and I think that’s fantastic.
Fun: There seem to be a lot more moody poems than witty one-liners on Instagram, but there are a lot of memes as well if you do need a laugh. I think it’s the way you can sneak a peek into how someone else writes, not just the final polished outcome that makes Instagram enjoyable and the endless gorgeous flat lays and candlelit books can keep anyone occupied for hours.
If you have to pick one, personally I’d go for Instagram. It’s easier to get to grips with, you can make real friends more easily and on a most basic level, it’s a lot prettier. If you have the time for both then that’s great but I find it difficult to maintain two accounts as well as this blog, schoolwork and the actual writing itself.
What social media do you use? Let me know in the comments, along with any other thoughts you might have about today’s post.