As an author I understand the importance of social media, and am fairly confident with the weird and wonderful world of Twitter now. Recently I've started a second Twitter account based on a character from the book I'm currently writing (who MAY be loosely based on a certain Mr. Mandache).
The experience has been fun, and at times a little surreal... For example, @RomanianScot , my Twitter alias, received tweets from two Scots living in Romania. I was delighted to virtually meet likeminded people with joint interests in Scotland and Romania, however, when I found one of them typing in Romanian, assuming I really was a Romanian Scot, it was definitely a bit weird. I wondered how to react? Keep up the pretense by replying in Romanian and hoping my poor grammar and spelling would not give away my secret, whilst sneakily making use of Google translate? Or be honest and possibly chase them away because they would think I was a bit strange, using a kind of personal false advertising? Mulling it over, I decided to message them the truth, that I was in fact a Twitter user with a split personality...not literally of course! Stranger still, the other Scot I had befriended turned out to be a relative of mine; it is no coincidence that my profile here says I am "living proof that truth is stranger than fiction".
Deciding to be a bit more transparent with my second account, I described @RomanianScot as a "character in forthcoming book by @carolynmandache" I really don't know if my followers realise it is actually me writing, or this mysterious person I have created. I guess it doesn't really matter, I just hope they continue to interact with me/him....even I'm confused.
Since opening the new account, I had to attend an internet safety workshop with my kids. Of course it was all very useful and warned my kids of the very real dangers of being online. Imagine my concern, when they kept emphasizing the fact that "not everyone is who they say they are on the internet". My kids know about @RomanianScot, and the reasons for starting it, but I couldn't help but worry that one of them would pipe up with "Oh, my mummy pretends to be someone else on Twitter!" Thankfully they didn't, and I would have been able to explain, but I'm still glad I wasn't put in that position.
So why did I start the account? Well, I'm writing a novel, stepping away from my previous writing for kids and moving into adult fiction. I've previously blogged about being married to a Romanian who I met on holiday in Spain. I've heard stories about his childhood and been to Romania many times. I find the history fascinating and have been enjoying researching for the book. Romania gets very bad deal in terms of press coverage; nearly all is negative and I hope that my book will provide a more balanced perspective of the country. I describe @RomanianScot as a "Scotified Romanian, improving my native country's image one tweet at a time", and that's my main aim, to work in conjunction with the book. Tweeting via that account has also allowed me to "think" like my character, and that is a bonus during the writing process. Have any of you explored starting a parallel Twitter account? Have you found it to be useful?
Should you be interested in historical fiction, holiday romances, or other cultures, I invite you to follow me on Twitter; the real me, the fake one, or even both! I look forward to your tweets, and as always, comments welcomed here.