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Monday, 5 March 2012

What’s Everyone Atwitter About?

By Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

A few years ago, I was sitting in an internet café in Damascus, Syria after six hours of Arabic classes.   I had cleared out my email in-box and finally, after weeks of such sessions, caught up on my writing goals. Next on my list was to investigate Twitter, a social media platform people had been talking about at the last writer’s conference I’d attended. “Twitter is essential to building your platform,” a speaker said echoing what many industry magazines were advising.

I thought nothing of it since high school reunion peer pressure had brought me to Facebook. I wasn’t looking for other ways to eat up precious time.

Except on that night in Damascus, I kinda was. So I went to the Twitter home page. One out of four posts were talking about Michael Jackson’s death. Convinced it was a social media hoax, I called my husband. “They’re saying Michael Jackson died on Twitter,” I said. “He did,” my husband confirmed from a few countries away.

From then on, almost three years ago, I’ve been hooked. Twitter is a great platform to get bite sizes of information. You choose whether you want to click or not on the links related to current events, fashion, or books.  Many hotels, restaurants, and other service providers are active on Twitter so if you have feedback a Tweet is more immediate than an email, phone call or letter.

A Tweet is a message of 140 characters or less that you send out into the world. In the beginning it will have a message-in-the-bottle feel as you may not have many followers (which is what someone who subscribes to your feed is called). But as you develop your voice – or the persona you want to present to the Twitterati – others who are interested in what you have to say will join your stream. You can (and should) return followers, reply to messages when people mention you, and in general be an interesting/engaging Tweeter to build that elusive audience all writers hope to have in advance of book launches.

More advanced uses of Twitter include signing up to a tribe on Triberr which means everyone in your group tweets out your blog posts thereby increasing your reach.

If you aren’t yet in the Twitterverse, head over and think about signing up. You may just learn something new.

The modern woman's guide to switching from jet setter to incubator, MOMMY BUT STILL ME retells the story of a first time mother with humorous and honesty. From sex with a purpose to ankles swelling into cankles, this is a no-holds barred look at the all the changes, big and small; from knowing "hipster" as a term that describes your generation to using it describe where you like to carry things.

Imagine a man volunteering to trade in his game nights for heart burn and back ache. Good thing there are women around to ensure the survival of the species. This hilarious look at the journey from high heels to high blood pressure, as a jet setter turns into a bed wetter, is what your doctor won't tell you and your own mother may have forgotten in the years since she was blessed by your arrival.

"At our first meeting my future father-in-law waited until we sat down in the Thai restaurant, the oblong menus placed in our hands and the waiter was a distance away, tending to other diners, before turning towards me, his eyes glowing. This was the first time we were all seeing each other after his son had proposed to me. "When will I get to hold my first grandchild?" He asked. For my father-in-law and everyone else, I have a question of my own: When will any of you be satisfied?" 

Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was good in many ways since that is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to her full time gig. She has published three e-books this year including Mommy But Still MeSo You Want to Sell a Million Copies, and Coloured and Other Stories. Since she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plotlines.

Her work has also been published in AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, and Qatar Explorer. She has been a guest on Expat Radioand was the host for two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio. She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine.

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  1. You are so right. I always thought it was a silly idea, but oh how I have changed my mind! On top of building a fan base for my writing, and for building wonderful friendships, Twitter has nearly replaced the news as to how we rapidly pass information. It's certainly a lot quicker. Thanks for the post.


  2. I love Twitter. It's quick with news (and gossip) and if you're selective in your following it's amazing.

    It's my favourite media site for sure.

    Good post!

  3. Thanks for sending me a link to your blog, Louise. It's very attractive and there's plenty to read and enjoy. - Catherine

  4. Thanks. I learned a lot about all the other twitter related sites.

  5. I enjoyed your blog Louise and the presentation is most attractive.
    Harriet Steel

  6. Great post and thank you for hosting :)

  7. Thanks everyone. I appreciate your time to drop by. :)