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How to make your Tweet go viral

 Ruth Ozeki  says:

I confess I don't know much about Writing for the Web, however Linda and I both agree that good writing is good writing, and a good story is a good story, and I do know a lot about writing and telling stories. I'm a novelist, filmmaker, and a former TV producer/director. I've two novels about the politics of food, and I've written essays and op ed and magazine articles about food for various publications, including the New York Times. I edit the Everyday Zenwebsite. Once I even had a brief career as an art director for low budget horror films, but that lies beyond the purview of this workshop. That's another workshop, and it probably won't be at Hollyhock.

I've set up this website so that Linda can monitor the workshop as she lies in her sickbed, pressing a cool damp cloth to her forehead and eating bonbons aspirins. That way, when she's feeling better and can join us, she will know what we've been doing and can take over the reins seamlessly. Maybe you won't even notice when the transition takes place. (Hint: she has curly hair...I don't.)

One word of caution: Please do not ask me about SEO's or technical web stuff. Save those questions for her.


So, Ruth agreed to take this on, and I learned that she stated when she gave the introduction to the workshop at dinner that she doesn't Tweet.  

She said she didn't know how long a Tweet was and someone apparently informed her that a Tweet has 150 characters.  Nobody disagreed.  

To the veteran Tweeter, this may seem unbelievable.  

But the fact is, not everybody knows that a Tweet has 140 characters, because....not everyone Tweets. 

And you may rightly ask, so what?  And in the case of Ruth Ozeki, that would be the appropriate question.  Not everyone needs to Tweet.  I just read about a billionaire today who doesn't use an Iphone or Blackberry.  He writes letters when he wants to communicate to friends, reads newspapers and uses an old Nokia cell phone. He obviously doesn't need to Tweet.

Ruth, author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation, is preparing to take vows as a Zen priest.  While I'm Tweeting, she is probably watching her breath.  Or writing poetry.  Or a novel.

Regardless of the technologies she uses, or doesn't use, Ruth's way with words and her ability to impart a love of language and voice, and her depth of experience as a writer, are of great value to the writer embarking on branching out on the web.  What is a blogger anyway?  Isn't that just another way of saying "writer?"  


From "how to go viral in a Tweet" to  "How to Tweet" to "How to get celebrities to Tweet you" ...hint: tweet them, they just might's all available to us to discover online. Great writing takes discipline and often a lifetime of commitment.  Writing well allows you to create the sense of awe that researchers recently discovered is what drives readers to stories and blogs. The New York Times reports:

 that news readers e-mailed stories with positive themes much more often than negative ones, and also showed a preference for longer, more complicated articles. Whether or not people send articles about antimatter and molecular chemistry to further a recipient’s education — or just to show off — is another matter. But either way, it’s a huge departure from the bite-size stories so many people worry are taking over the conversation.

So while social networking tools offer wonderful new ways of connecting audiences to stories, social networking doesn't come first.  Without stories and substance to drive it, social networking, whether through Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, etc, is like gossip.  Fun. Superficial. Perhaps, ultimately, a great waste of time.  With stories and substance, social networking becomes as rich as great conversation, another source of meaningful connection.  It's important to keep that in mind when Tweeting.  

How to make your Tweet go viral? 

Write well.  Link to a story that matters.  Create a sense of awe.

Looking forward to tomorrow morning's session of the workshop, Writing for the Web, at Hollyhock, even if I have to attend  from bed.



Please go through all the social networking steps you will find as "buttons" at the top of this post for THIS post.  Digg it.  Stumbleupon it.  Promote it to your Twitter followers.  Put the link on your Facebook page.  Start promoting good stuff you read all over the web and you will learn how to do it for your own posts. What goes around comes around.  See if it rises to the top of our "Favourite Stories" list.  See if your efforts make an impact.  My guess is that they will.

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