Emily Benet‘s fabulous book #PleaseRetweet is published in paperback today for the first time! I read it a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it, you can read my review here. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to interview Emily recently and couldn’t resist asking her about all things Social Media!
When did you first join twitter? What made you join?
February 2009. I had to check that. I don’t want you thinking I celebrate my Twitter anniversary or anything! I had already been blogging for a year and saw Twitter as another way of reaching potential readers.
How quickly did it feel quite normal for you to share things about your life with your followers, and how long was it before you were checking twitter every chance you got?
I was very open from the start. My blog, which was turned into the book, Shop Girl Diaries, tells my whole journey to publication with all the highs and lows. It’s very personal really with a dollop of romance in there too. No real names, though! The dark, handsome hero is referred to as ‘The Date’!
Whereas blogging felt natural, I didn’t get Twitter at first. I felt like I was in the middle of a busy airport and everyone was just shouting at each other. I got into it about three years ago.
Have you ever tweeted while drunk/half asleep or attempted to send a DM and instead accidentally shared the tweet publicly on your timeline? Is it something you can share?
I’m more likely to drunk text, than drunk tweet. I have tweeted drunkenly but never anything of consequence, just silly comments about Eurovision. I once tweeted that my husband had just lopped his own hair off with a scissors. His sister texted him about that and he asked me, how does she know about my hair? He doesn’t like me tweeting about him so it was a bit awkward! Sometimes you need to ask yourself, Why am I sharing this with the whole world?
Do you go on twitter whenever you have a spare minute or do you allow yourself regular times throughout the day?
There is no structure to my Twitter life. I check whenever I get a notification and tweet completely randomly, but always daily.
Have you ever felt that you were addicted to twitter, or going on it too often? How did you deal with it?
I know I’m going on it too much when my daily word count suffers. I hate the feeling of wasting time. Tweeting isn’t half as fulfilling as writing a novel, and it can leave me feeling a little empty if my attention has been spent more on social media than writing.
I recently had a social media detox and was offline for a week. I deleted the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone. It was really liberating. At the same time it was alarming how my brain kept composing tweets!
What inspired you to start writing PleaseRetweet?
It was a mixture of wanting to laugh at social media and make sense of it. It’s something that has had such a positive influence in my life with regards to my writing career and can be an amazing tool for creativity and community. But it can also get in the way of you living life and enjoying the moment. I hate it when people meet up and spend more time on their phones than actually talking to each other. I also hate people taking selfies all the time. It’s so boring. It’s basically the same photo over and over and over…. I suppose I wanted to get all that down on paper!
Is life better now we have social media or was it better before?
What social media has done for freedom of speech and enabling the broadcast of important issues is incredible. With social media we can get different perspectives that aren’t offered in mainstream news. It has motivated people to help lots of great causes. On the other hand, being bombarded by so much information and so many opinions, not to mention the trolls and haters, can be difficult to process and can cause anxiety. There are plenty of pros and cons. How long have you got?
Do you believe it’s possible for people to form true friendships and relationships on twitter? Have you made any?
Yes! I have two very good friends on Twitter. We are completely different ages and we all first met at a book launch after months of tweeting. As for romantic relationships, I have heard of bloggers meeting after tweeting and hooking up. The internet has been the catalyst of a lot of romance!
Did you use your own experiences of twitter in PleaseRetweet? Or did anything you read on twitter inspire aspects of the story?
I couldn’t have written the book if I hadn’t been very active on social media myself. The first thing I did when I decided to write #PleaseRetweet was to follow all those people I’d originally unfollowed on Facebook. Some people have no filter at all and post some really wonderfully, cringe worthy status updates! There are lots of observations of myself too; the constant checking and scrolling and the feeling of inadequacy when no one responds to a tweet. I enjoyed taking the mick out of myself!
What do you do to relax away from social media?
Reading- surprise surprise! I’m a huge fan of hilarious John O’Farrell and the brilliant Liane Moriarty. It’s the perfect escapism. I also love watching Downton abbey, even if the plot is a bit rubbish. I’m happiest outside though. I love the sea, mountains… and anything cooked on a barbeque.
Thank you so much for your time, Emily. I wish you all the best with the paperback release of #PleaseRetweet.
Emily is on the following social media sites:
Social Media Links:
Optional You Tube video: https://youtu.be/n6TjNUy_iQM
Amazon link: http://hyperurl.co/v47754
Her debut book Shop Girl Diaries began as a blog about working in her Mum’s eccentric chandelier shop. It won the CompletelyNovel Author Blog Awards at the London Book Fair.
Her second book, a romantic comedy called The Temp, also began its life online, as a serialised novel on Wattpad and racked up two million hits under its original title Spray Painted Bananas. It led to her signing with MBA agency and a two book deal with Harper Collins imprint Harper Impulse. #PleaseRetweet is her latest book.