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"Chloe Harris" really is the pseudonym for two writers, Noelle and Barbra, who've joined forces to write intriguing and sexy stories. A quintessential eccentric southerner, Noelle seems to find a story in almost everything. Ever ambitious to change her stars, she has a degree in Communications. Barbra lives together with her cat ('Princess Mimi'), who isn't very happy that she is spending so much time on writing. But this folly of the living can opener with opposable thumbs is mostly tolerated.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Twitter - Aliens with Language Translators

When I first signed Chloe Harris up for Twitter, people said ‘OMG! You’re going to love it!” I thought great this will be fun and it won’t take too much more time since you can have your tweets post as your Facebook status. But so far it’s just okay. I understand the importance of Twitter for promotion in this “New Media” world but I’m not in love with it yet. Then again I’ve never been good at being a social person so maybe it's just me. LOL

I think a lot of other people are still finding their way with it too. A lot of the tweets seem to be personal conversations between a few people that I can’t follow because either I don’t follow all parties or there are too many other tweets in between. And I can’t comment on those because it’s their personal conversation. Some people I follow tweet so much others seem to get drowned out by their verbosity. And there seems to be no clear consensus on just how personal or mundane a topic can be and be okay to be tweeted by a published author being followed by fans and other industry professionals. Some get very personal and day to day and that is certainly just fine as many many people seem to tweet that way.

Don’t get me wrong I have had some fun on Twitter. I have been able to tweet here and there with a few authors that I either have met in person before or know from loops I’m on. I’ve tweeted a little with my favorite book/gift shop in town, The Paper Skyscraper. The owner is so witty and it was fun it to let him know how much I love some of the things I've gotten from his store. And I made contact with the wonderful site The Season- Historical Romance Releases. I really enjoy her tweets and she now has information about the release of Secrets of Sin for 1st quarter 2010. All those are very good things.

But then there was the patchouli incident. It all started when I got curious about the guy that did my tattoo 15 years ago. I looked up his site and was looking around at some of his latest work and there was a very well done portrait of a little girl named Patchouli.

I loved being Southern and I have many Southern hippie friends. And that was just so stereotypically southern hippie I thought it was hilarious. Another thing about some Southerners is that we tend to enjoy self deprecating humor. You can’t make us of us but we love to poke fun at our own eccentric-ness.

I often struggle to find things to tweet so I thought hey what a funny little thing to post on Twitter and Facebook. I thought others with a similar sense of humor might get a chuckle also. And some did. On both Facebook and Twitter, some thought it was odd and wondered if the child in the tattoo was born in the 60s or recently and some like me weren’t fond of the scent. But someone I follow and that followed Chloe Harris because we are both part of the romance world tweeted back that it wasn’t that strange of a name and patchouli was a lovely plant.
I tweeted back that to me a name like that says hello my parents are hippies or from Boone NC.

Now if you don’t know Boone it’s a beautiful artsy place in the North Carolina Mountains. Go if you have a chance and check out Rachel Rays $40 a Day episode before you do. Anyway I can tell you from first hand experience that Boone has a large population of individuals who only wear natural fabrics, do not eat meat, advocate for the legalization of marijuana and who favor the scent of patchouli. So that was what the last bit of my tweet was based on.

After I tweeted that, I stuck around for a minute more then when to bed.
The next morning I was able to see that after turned the computer off she tweeted @Chloe Harris that she was from TN not far from Boone and was one of those hippies of which I spoke and didn’t I put my foot in my mouth.

I was a little taken a back but at that point there was no use in me tweeting anything back to her. First, it was too late. The twitterverse had moved on to many many bigger and better things. Second, I knew better than to act defensive on such a transparent medium since I had just read an article about a blogger that lamented that she let the instant nature of Twitter lead her into acting rashly.

Honestly I didn’t agree that I had said anything wrong. A little snarky maybe but nothing I didn’t stand behind. What I thought I said was naming your child Patchouli would make the general public think hippie. I didn’t say being thought of as what the general public might see as hippie-ish was bad thing at all. As I said before I’m a Southerner with a self deprecating sense of humor and I have first hand knowledge of which I speak so it was all meant in a loving “bless their hearts” kind of way.

But here’s the thing, she didn’t know that. She doesn’t know Me or that I’m only part of Chloe Harris. Hardly any of the Twitterverse does. The profile says Chloe is from both NC and Austria so she might have realized I might have been to Boone. But I’m sure there was no way she would have ever remembered seeing my pervious tweets about my friend Wes, who all that know him lovingly call “old hippie man”. Then it hit me. The people reading your tweets have no context to filter your comments through.

So with that revelation, what I choose to do was send her a DM (Direct Message) and try to provide some context to my tweets. I explained I was born and raised in NC, I love Boone and go to the mountains once a month to visit a friend that’s a die hard hippie. I don’t know if she saw it. There was never a response and I noticed she no longer follows Chloe Harris. Which I have no problem with; you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube and it’s her right not to follow Chloe. The romance community is a big place and not everyone in it is going to see eye to eye with everyone else. That’s life.

By now you might be marveling at how long this post is and you might be asking yourself what my point is. My point is that maybe its better went tweeting to the masses to tweet like they’re all aliens with language translators. They understand what you’re saying but might not have any idea where you’re coming from.

Has anyone else out there learned a New Media lesson from Twitter, Myspace or Facebook? Please Share your knowledge!


Sarah J. McNeal said...

Having read your blog, I can safely say boo to Twitter. I get into enough trouble on regular yahoo loops, MySpace and Facebook, why humiliate myself on Twitter. It sounds like a social nightmare. Sarah McNeal

Noelle said...

LOL Sarah,

I didn't mean to totally turn anyone off of Twitter just be aware when your there.

There are many that love it so it must be the right thing for some.

I won't give up quite yet. :)

Susan Greene said...


I have a Twitter account, but mostly because there are people who I find entertaining to follow. (Nathan Fillion - the man is hysterical, and even has another Twitter page as Richard Castle, the character he plays on TV. Karen Rose, for her amusing anecdotes about being a writer and mom. Weird Al Yankovich. Enough said.) But I don't put much on there myself. Like you, I just don't really see it as a good tool for reaching my readers.

BTW, lived in Boone for five years. There's a section of downtown locals refer to as "Hippie Hill," so I know of what you speak. And I had the same thought. Patchouli does sound like a hippie name. A pretty name, but a hippie name nonetheless. Besides, what do they call her for short? Patch?

Oh, wait...there's a character there somewhere. I've gotta use that.


Noelle said...

Ah Man I wish I had thought of that. That's a very good idea Susan!

Even if I stopped tweeting, like you, I would keep my account to follow certain people like Neil Gaiman, John Quincy Adams, The New Dr. Who and the Paper Skyscraper. I don't follow Karen Rose, maybe I should check her out I do read her group blog.