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Terry McMillan's Twitter Tussle

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Terry McMillan’s tweets have been getting her in trouble with some of her followers on Twitter. I was surprised to wake up last Friday to this lively conversation between McMillan (or @MsTerryMcMillan on Twitter) and @LoveMySkip, which picks up when McMillan describes her reaction to a Californian litterer:

The two went in on each other a few more times before McMillan tried to end the conversation with a simple “peace:)” tweet to @LoveMySkip.

Twitter’s getting good at this sort of thing for public figures and their fans (or regular folks who happen to follow them): breaking down the usual barriers of contact and allowing both people to freely and equally express themselves. But McMillan’s one of the only mainstream authors on my radar who uses Twitter as the rest of us do (most authors use it almost exclusively to promote their work).

It just all seemed too wild: a decidedly normal tweeter engaging a best-selling author in some sort of verbal argument. I spoke to @LoveMySkip, who declined to give her name.

“I was a bit surprised that she responded to my tweets, but I was more surprised that she thought I was ‘shaming’ her,” wrote @LoveMySkip in an email. “She’s sharing her thoughts on a public forum with the understanding that people may engage her… I don’t understand how I can shame her when she’s making these statements on a public forum.”

I asked the 28-year-old Boston resident what she thought of McMillan prior to the exchange and she said, “I thought she was fairly candid, a little quirky, fun, and odd at times.” @LoveMySkip admits that she “wouldn’t characterize” herself as a fan of McMillan, so the aggressive tweet and ensuing exchange doesn’t change anything for her in that respect. I wonder how longtime McMillan fans feel?

What do you think about authors tweeting?

–Whitney Teal

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Written by whitney teal

April 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Around the Web

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  1. I love authors tweeting. The authors I follow (including McMillan) offer lots of good advice and inspiration. For me, it’s inspiring just to see the dedication some of the authors show, even when they are simply logging off of social media sites to focus on writing. BUT, I think that twitter gives us a bit of “closeness” with authors (and actresses, singers, etc.) we might normally experience, and sometimes it’s not a good thing — for the celebrity, that is. It’s like we get the chance to insult them, chastise, etc. in a way that goes RIGHT to them.

    Crystal

    April 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

  2. I’m a long time fan of McMillan and I also witnessed the exchange. It didnt bother me one bit. McMillan is part of a few who will share her real self with thousands of followers and wont falter just because someone has found a problem with what she’s said. I like that about her and I hope that exchanges like the one that occurred last week, don’t lead to her being more guarded, making her profile private, or leaving twitter altogether.

    I often wonder why people respond to “celebrities”, or anyone they don’t really know, in such a way. Everybody uses twitter for different reasons, but I dont see myself ever using it as a tool to chastise people, especially those I don’t know or have no real connection with. Yes, Twitter is social networking in an open forum, but unless someone is seeking debate, I dont see the purpose in these kind of exchanges.

    suga

    April 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm


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