Category Archives: Social Networks

Amazon Removes Tags From Kindle Book Pages

Just a quick heads up for all the indie, self-published writers out there who publish on Kindle – Amazon made an overhaul of Kindle book pages and Tags have disappeared.


Whether this is permanent or not, remains to be seen. This is Amazon, after all, they keep changing things constantly. Most of the time we do not even notice these changes. This time, however, it’s very noticeable – the Tags are gone, a few other things seem to be reshuffled slightly around the pages.

To those who advocated using Tags for better visibility in Amazon search, it looks like that now they will have to rely on the old-fashioned keyword loading in the book description and other parts of the page.

How would the absence of Tags affect search visibility and the book rankings? Hard to say right now. I would venture a guess that there would be only a few authors who’d notice the difference. For the majority of indies who publish on Kindle, this should not make any difference at all – more than 95% of the books on Amazon are not being seen by readers too often. Having Tags or not will not change that.


I suppose the “Like & Tag” game we writers are so fond of, is now “Like” only.


Twitter – Playing the Bigger Game

Last time I wrote about Tweeting @ – tweeting something you wanted to be Re-Tweeted while adding Twitter names of people you want to Re-Tweet it in your post.

To see if it works, I’ve immediately ran an experiment. I’ve Tweeted @ seven of my followers a link to an article on my blog with a request to Re-Tweet. I’ve already done numerous Mentions and Re-Tweets for them so I wanted to see if I’ll be reciprocated for my good deeds. I sent the message on Friday and did not touch my Twitter account till Tuesday the following week.

The results were: one person out of the seven I’ve asked has Re-Tweeted my message – thanks @TheBudgetnista ! One other person has clicked on the link but didn’t Re-Tweet it.

This is most interesting. It appears that I’ve been playing Tit-for-Tat with people who are not consciously aware of my existence. They didn’t make a move most likely because they weren’t aware they’ve been playing the game.

My first interpretation of the results were that perhaps @TheBudgetnista, who has a relatively small amount of Followers compared to the other people I Tweeted @ were more likely to notice my message. Then I recalled that some time ago I have left an Amazon review for her book The One Week Budget and Tweeted about it.

What it means is that in the past I had made a move that was stronger than simply Tweeting @; I just hadn’t realized that I made it.

Sociologists call a move like this “Creating a Weak Connection.” In other words, I might not have made a friend but I most certainly made a bit of an impression. A small favor that would make your message stand out just a bit more than the rest in the hail of Tweets that comes the way of a favor recipient.

This leads me to think that perhaps playing a Bigger Game than simply Tweeting, Re-Tweeting, Mentioning, etc. is better in the long run.

If you are a writer, write a review for someone whose book you’ve read, post it and Tweet about it. You write for a living, shouldn’t take you much time, right? Mention the author’s Tweeter handle in the Tweet. The chances that your effort will be reciprocated sometime in the future should increase by manifold.

At least, that’s my experience so far. If I run into evidence to the contrary, I’ll let you know.

How to Get Re-Tweeted – And Why You Aren’t

I have at least seven followers whose own following is above one thousand people. Five of those have over ten thousand followers.

One would think that if I tweet something interesting and they Re-Tweet it, I would get some very nice exposure. The problem, however, is that they don’t Re-Tweet. Why not?

The answer to that is pretty simple. Most of the time, they don’t see my tweets. As in – the people I follow, Follow each of their followers back. Let’s say you have ten thousand plus followers and Follow them back. What does your Twitter Wall looks like then? It must be akin to looking at a search for a trending Hashtag. Perhaps you notice one tweet in a dozen out of what pops up on the screen. Considering you are not glued to the Twitter 24/7, you would probably read only one tweet out of a hundred from your Twitter wall.

So, how to get noticed in that sea of digital noise?

One of the moves you can make is to Re-Tweet other people’s tweets for a while and hope they will do the same.

The Game Theory postulates that if you do enough favors for other players, they will return some of them. On Twitter it works thus – you make your move and Re-Tweet; and you repeat this move several times in hopes for the move to be reciprocated. Solid strategy, right?

This is what happens in practice – 20% of the time other players will return the favor. However, the chances are you will not get the payoff you were looking for. What you will get instead is a Mention. While Mention is a strong return move, for your purposes it is worthless since you wanted your payoff be a Re-Tweet.

Therefore a Re-Tweet, while it does collect you lots of Karma points 🙂 , is not your strongest move if your goal is to be Re-Tweeted.

So, is doing random Mentions in hopes to accumulate some good will a better move for you then? Not really. You will get a Re-Tweet of your Mention 20 to 30 percent of the time but the Tweet you want to be Re-Tweeted most likely won’t be. Why? Pretty much for the same reason Re-Tweeting didn’t work – no one is likely to see it.

The only time the above will prove false if you are friends with people you tweet at. Then they will probably will look for your tweets and Re-Tweet them regularly.

So than, is it the answer – making personal connection with people? Yes and no.

You should have friends and acquaintances who would do you favors and Re-Tweet your posts. If you don’t have any, make some. Twitter aside, life is better with some friends. But if ten thousand people follow you, can you make friends with all of them? And on the other side of the coin – if people who follow you already have tens of thousands followers, are they really interested in making friends on Twitter?

Not very likely.

The only practical move left is Twitting @. As in – tweet something you wanted to be Re-Tweeted and add Twitter names of people you want to Re-Tweet in your post. Maybe add “Please RT” at the end. How well would it work I don’t yet know but it’s worth a try. With one stipulation, of course. Before you try that move, you really need to accumulate some Good Will points with the people you’ll try that on. This way, they just might Re-Tweet.

I am planning to do just that. I’ll let you know how it went.

So, this is my line of reasoning so far. Let me know what you think.

My First Week on Twitter – N00b’s Subjective Observations

I am new to Twitter. This is a brief summary of my experience of the first seven days since I’ve joined.

From a n00b’s point of view, the Twitter consists of the following groups, roughly approximated:

– 40% Adult services,
– 40% Self-published writers
– 5% web designers
– 3% Stoners
– 2% Miscellaneous self-promotion

Obviously, this perception is subjective. The numbers are based on the people who followed me in the first seven days. Have I tried and seek out who to follow, the spread might have being different. Or would it? 😛

I don’t know much about social networks and how to utilize them. I do know some basic Game Theory, however. Social Networking Game is your basic Tit-fo-Tat or Reciprocity game. If you do enough favors for the other player, he or she is bound to return at least some of them.

In Twitter settings, the simplest moves or favors are – Following, Re-Twitting, Mentions (or Twitting @; different in purpose, technically the same) and Following Back. Here’s the perceived effectiveness of these moves after a week of observation:

Following. I haven’t tried to follow anyone first. I did, however, look at the proportion of Following to Followers on the accounts that actively follow new members. In about 90% of cases, about 50 to 98 percent of people whose accounts were Followed, reciprocated by a Follow back and staying for a long run. I theorize such a large spread is explained either by content or the perception of expected reciprocity.

Re-Twitting. Re-Twitting on accounts I already followed. 20% of those accounts return the favor, mostly by Mentions. Re-Twitting on accounts I did not follow resulted in less than 10% of those accounts following me back.

Mentions. I tried this only once and it was an instant follow. It was, however, combined with a book review I posted on Amazon so it was not a clear-cut situation. As such, I cannot provide numbers on the effectiveness of Mentions at this time.

Following Back. I did not automatically Follow Back everyone who followed me. Not counting above-mentioned various adult services, out of people whom I didn’t Follow back slightly above 80% Un-Followed me, usually in the first 3 days. Of the ones I Followed-Back, 100% stayed.

It is worth mentioning that I have not done much to actually attract attention on Twitter. I twitt only a few times a day and two-thirds of my twitts are usually re-twitts. In one week I’ve collected 12 followers. About 2.5 times that number have followed me and dropped off.

So, this was my experience of the first week on Twitter. Was it similar to yours? Please comment, I’d like to compare notes.



P.S. What’s a propper way to say – “I twitt”, “Twitts” and “Re-Twitts”? I feel like this spelling is wrong somehow. Anyone knows?

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