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In the Writer's Corner: Social Media Etiquette

Typically the Twitter Screenwriting Community is a positive place where screenwriters network and support one another. But if you're new to the community, it can be a little intimidating to navigate the social norms - Nanea Taylor shares her social networking etiquette tips.

Typically the Twitter Screenwriting Community is a positive place where screenwriters network and support one another. But if you're new to the community, it can be a little intimidating to navigate the social norms, so below are some tips.

In the Writer's Corner_ Social Media EtiquetteScript2021

Follow other writers.

If they follow you back, do not take that as an invitation to jump into their DM's to ask them to read your latest novel, script, or blog. Even as innocent as you consider it to be, this practice puts the writer in a difficult position. Do they ignore your DM, respond nicely but firmly with a no thank you, or forget all pleasantness and rip you a new one for assuming that they would read a complete strangers' work?

Think of it like this, remember back in the day, when the department store's salesperson, whose only job was to sell the latest perfume or cologne, would spritz unwilling customers as they entered the store in hopes the customer would make a purchase? However, all that customer wanted to do was replace those comfy socks that somehow had gone missing after putting them in the dryer. The customer now must muster up some pleasantness to get past the hard-pressed salesperson and get directions to the socks department. Sounds uncomfortable, right? Well, it is!

Follow other writers and comment on their posts, even re-tweet their posts and add some anecdote that shows your wittiness or comedy chops. Do this often, so your Twitter handle becomes easily recognizable.

Offer to read other writers.

The quickest way to get feedback on your story is to read other writer's stories. You're on Twitter, TWEET! Tweet that you are open to providing feedback. Believe me; you will be overwhelmed with the number of requests you will receive. Many creators would love to have someone read and provide feedback on their stories, but they don't know how to ask for it.

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Learn how to accept and provide constructive feedback.

Our friends and family members (the ones who read our work) tell us how wonderful our stories are and how they can't wait to see us on that stage accepting our Oscars for the best screenwriter award. Then one day, you bravely send out your script to either a fellow screenwriter or a script consultant, and the feedback they provide is the exact opposite of what everyone who loves you has said.

When this happens, your first instinct is to tell the said person where they can stuff their Simon Cowell point of view, but I urge you to take a beat, take a couple of beats and just breathe. Once the sting fades, go back and see if any of the feedback serves your story, serves in making you a better writer.

Not every person will get your story, and once you start providing feedback to your fellow screenwriters, you're going to find you will not love everything you read either. In this instance, you will need to learn how to provide constructive feedback. The type of feedback that doesn't destroy a writer's already delicate ego or dreams.

After you provide constructive feedback, the other party should send a thank you note in appreciation of your time reading and writing up your feedback. They also should offer to return the favor by reading one of your scripts and providing feedback. If they don't, accept it as a lesson on strengthening your feedback skills and move on.

After giving feedback, feel free to shout out their work on Twitter; this helps spread the word about that creator's work. Being a vocal supporter of your fellow creators opens the door for them to be supportive of you. After you've established an open, friendly online relationship, feel free to drop into that creator's DM's to see if they would be open to reading one of your projects without all the awkwardness.

Don't be that person. 

As my grandmother used to say, some people are just contrary. You know whom I'm talking about, the person who drops a comment below a post to express their dislike of said post, mansplainers, or grammar police. If you come across a post you don't like or agree with, MOVE ON. Not everything needs your attention or your opinion. If a post offends you, report it or block the user.

Please don't forget that potential employers, collaborators, managers, agents, and producers have an active social media presence. Many use social media as a tool to determine if a creator is someone they would want to work with or have in their writer's room. So if you are that person, they will see it, and it can affect the deal or job you have been dreaming about obtaining.

Try to be a person who, when your handle pops up, folks are genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say.

Join a group or, best yet, create one! 

Social groups are a great place to find like-minded individuals, support, and encouragement. The Twitter screenwriting community has many great social groups and/or hashtags that you should follow, offering opportunities to network or provide needed support.

I would highly recommend the following groups on Twitter: @TheWRACGroup, a community for writer accountability, and a great networking tool. If you are a woman of color who wants to work in the film or television industry, please follow @theJTCList; they are doing big things with their mentoring project #Startwith8Hollywood.

I would also suggest you follow @MarketMyScreenPlay and @SpecScriptShout; both are excellent resources for promoting your or other creator's works.

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If you can't find one that fits your needs, create it, invite your fellow creators to join it, and don't forget to promote it. That's the best thing about the Twitter Screenwriters community; there is always space to grow, find support, become a supporter and make connections that may last a lifetime.

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