As the divine Jane Austen might have said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a completed manuscript must be in want of an active social media presence. Right you are then, Jane.
Website – check
Twitter profile – check
Hordes of followers — hmm …
Clearly action was required. I began following others and, having honed my tweets to be sufficiently “writerly”, I gradually attracted followers in return. Some clearly fell into the dodgy category – my daughter, looking over my shoulder one morning at scantily-clad, surgically-enhanced girls muttered “cosplay” and advised me to block them. But, overall, I was slowly building a band of like-minded bookish Tweeters.
And then I hit the big time.
Out of the blue, I was followed by Nigel whose glamorous profile revealed he was a national radio DJ. I immediately followed him back and didn’t sleep for two nights, such was my excitement.
And then, joy of joys, Nige (as I now thought of him) sent me a direct message (DM, to we Twitophiles). Now this was exciting for two reasons.
1. If Nige was interested in my writing he might want to promote it on his radio show. Oh frabjous day!
2. Nige was actually on the air at the time he was messaging me, presumably in between spinning his discs.
I congratulated myself that, at last, my Twitter profile was starting to attract the right sort of person. Um, yeah — bear with me on that …
The DM conversation ran something like,
Me: hello. Nice to be in touch
Nige: who are you?
Me: umm, I’m me. Marion Todd, aspiring writer. Who are you?
Nige: I’m Nigel ***, DJ on the *** show on *** FM
Me: yes, I can see that.
Nige: where do you live?
Me: (suspicious now) umm, Scotland. Where are you?
Nige: London, of course. To do my show.
Me: Ah yes.
A silence followed, and I resisted the temptation to bombard Nige with further chatty messages. Less is more, after all.
Day 2 – my DM alert pings
Me: (excited) hello
Nige: how are you?
Me: very well, thank you. And you?
Nige: I’m fine. What are you doing?
Me: (thinks: the next question’s going to be “what am I wearing”. Could he possibly be a fake?) Erm, this and that. You?
Possibly Fake Nige: I’m doing my radio show.
Me: ok …
For a DJ on national radio, I have to say his conversation was less than sparkling.
Day 3 –DM alert pings
Possibly Fake Nige: hello
I do not answer but instead begin searching for the real Nige. And I’m crushed when I find an identical profile. There are two of them! I view the profiles side-by-side and see that one is copying the other – tweets, photos, retweets – the lot. Examining the second profile more closely, I notice two things:
1 New Nige has a blue circle/tick symbol beside his name which I learn means the profile is verified as genuine; and
2 He has a zillion more followers than my Nige.
I had fallen for the fools’ gold. Reluctantly, I block Definitely Fake Nige and report his profile to Twitter.
Day 4 – I miss the DM alert, announcing Definitely Fake Nige’s message. And, more than that, I miss what it promised – fame, fortune and success as a writer.
But let’s not dwell on it. Definitely Fake has gone for good. I’m now four days older and slightly wiser, as I was telling Lemmy from Motorhead when he DM’d me this morning …