Underwood Scotch and Wry Ch 8

Brian-Head-Shot-for-ExtremelyAvg“Scotch, neat,” Arthur said as he walked in the door.

Donna, the bartender, said, “You want me to bring it over to your group?”

“I wasn’t aware I had a group.”

“There is a pack of TAs in the corner that made me promise to send you their way, as soon as you had arrived.”

“How did they know I would be arriving?”

“Because you are a creature of habit.”

“I really am, and one of my favorites is drinking alone.”

A voice carried across the bar, and likely all the way to the state boarder, “Dr. Byrne, we’re over here.”

“Is there a small, enthusiastic Asian woman, hailing me?”

“There is,” said Donna, setting the drink on the bar.

“If you see this run dry…”

“Got it.”

Arthur made his way to the two tables that had been pushed together. There were pitchers of beer, a couple of laptops, and iPad and two baskets of popcorn.

Wen could barely contain herself, “Dr. Byrne, you were awesome, today!”

Kurt said, “You really were.”

Arthur took a seat and looked at Kurt, mostly because he hoped the blinding smile on Wen would fade, and asked, “On a scale of one to Gaga, how would you rate it?”

“A solid eight, but I’m a tough grader.”

“Good, that’s what I want. Take a gold star out of petty cash, Kurt.”

Wen said, “You must have stayed up all night writing that speech.”

“No, I did exactly as I told you I would, I faked it.”

The smooth baritone voice of Lawrence said, “You had me convinced you knew what you were talking about.”

“Thanks, but that was the entire bag of tricks. We’ve still got a few classes left. Any ideas?”

Susan raised her hand.

“You’re a TA now, Susan, you don’t need to raise your hand.”

“Sorry. Maybe the next lecture should be about some of the finer points of Twitter?”

A. was texting away and said, “The students seemed pretty fired up to start their accounts. It seems like a good plan.”

Susan blushed a little.

Arthur finished his scotch and raised the glass to the heavens. A voice from afar said, “I’m on it.” and then Arthur said, “So, what are the finer points of Twitter?”

Wen said, “Let’s brain storm,” and she began banging on her laptop.

“How about we start with some brain light raining,” Arthur suggested.

Wen wrinkled her nose and said, “We should talk about hashtags.”

“What’s a hashtag?”

Kurt said, “It is a way to group tweets.”

Arthur’s blank expression spoke volumes.

Kurt continued, “If you’re watching Glee alone at home and do a search with a pound sign…that’s what we call a hashtag, then you’ll find all the tweets relating to the show.”

“Interesting, so if I wanted to find people who like Harper Lee, I would just put her name after a pound sign,” Arthur asked.

Wen said, “Let me try.” A moment later she spun around her computer, “See, there are mostly quotes from To Kill a Mocking Bird, but I’m sure those people all like her writing.”

Lawrence said, “We should probably discuss junk followers.”

Arthur asked, “What’s a junk follower?”

Lawrence said, “Someone that just wants you to follow them back.”

“What’s wrong with following people back?”

“Noting, but the spammers don’t really care what you are tweeting or talking about, they just want you to click on their links and promote their crap.”

“Those bastards!”

Lawrence said, “You joke, but if one is serious about building a following, they just clutter up things.”

“Did you get that Wen?”

“Oh yes.”

“Good, now why would someone tweet in the first place?”

A. said, “You wrote a book, right?”

“An earlier version of me did, yes.”

“How do get sales?”

“They trickle in, but I have no idea from where.”

“But you get royalties, right?”


“Okay, imagine that people who like your book followed you on Twitter.”

“I can do that.”

“Now, let’s say you have 10,000 fans who follow and you’re about to release a new book.”

“Unlikely, but I’m with you.”

“You could tell them the launch date, you could interact with readers, thus making them more loyal, or you could find new readers by tweeting interesting stuff about your life.”

“So, a well built twitter following, without junk followers, is a marketing tool?”

Lawrence broke in, “Yes, but you need to avoid being marketing all the time, people hate that.”

Arthur nodded, “I would hate that.”

Wen asked, “How do all of you feel about ‘pls RT’?”

Everyone but Arthur seemed to dislike the concept, while he remained nonplussed. Wen asked, “Do you know what I mean, Dr. Byrne?”

“I have no idea.”

Lawrence said, “It is when people are begging you to retweet their tweet.”

“Why would anyone retweet something that has already been said, once?”

Wen said, “You have to understand that the only people who see your tweets are the ones who follow you.”

“I can see that.”

“So, let’s say you tweet something about a new book, and one of your 10,000 followers takes that tweet and retweets it to their 100 followers, because she adores your writing, then it extends your reach.”

A. said, “Retweets also show people you are not just a one way street.”

“Okay, A., you’ve lost me.”

A. continued, “People are more likely to help you with your goals if you help them with theirs.”

“Is everyone selling something?”

Lawrence said, “No, a lot of people just like hanging out, but maybe they have a friend who just put up a new blog post and they want to help him promote it. If you help, too, they will appreciate it.”

Wen said, “Which brings up a good point…”

“I’m not sure how many more good points I can digest.”

“…you want to be careful about blindly tweeting something with a link, especially blog posts, because it might be something you don’t want to have endorsed.”

“A retweet equals an endorsement?”

A. said, “Do you want to retweet an article about a Nazi who kicks babies and eats unicorns?”

“I am definitely con Nazis, pro unicorns, and indifferent towards baby kicking…are they kicking for distance or accuracy.”


“Is that measure in yards or with the crazy metric system?”

Donna brought over the fresh scotch and said, “Sorry, it is getting busy and I’m short-handed.”

“Well, in the interest of making you life easier, why don’t I order another now and you get it to me whenever it suits you.”

“You’re a doll.”

“You mind tweeting that?”

Donna walked away with a little extra swing in her hips. Arthur watched and it was apparent that the impromptu meeting had been adjourned.



Arthur is gaining relevance in social media.


One of the best, and simplest, explanations of the marketing power of social media. Grassroots rocks!


pls RT!



StephanieBerget like.author.displayName 1 Like

Lessons in Twitter along with the story, perfect. :)


@JuliaRBarrett nudged me over here, she is sometimes spiteful, she knows I am easily distracted and you sir, have just distracted me for the past 40 minutes (I'm a slow reader) as I caught of with the cranky Prof and the delightful Lou/Hu but alas I or not as I have caught up with all the chapters, I suppose I must return to the drudgery to which I receive a monthly retainer for, looking forward to the next instalment 

ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @tomstronach  @JuliaRBarrett Well then, kudos to Julia for spreading the word. I'm thrilled to have a reader from across the pond.  I had intended to make a literary reference to Robert Burns, because I loved the poem, but only today realized I'd named him Byrne (probably because of my love of the U.S. Chess player) That is one of the things about writing in public, all the warts show.


Of course, had I not mentioned that, nobody would have been the wiser, but I thought it a funny story and wanted to share.


Thanks so much for giving me 40 minutes of your day.

tomstronach like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @ExtremelyAvg Interestingly I heard a 'Professor' specialising in Burns say recently that the 'Selkirk Grace' attributed to him and spoken around the world on 25 Jan was NOT WRITTEN by the Man, but there is evidence that he recited it  enough I must get some work done and surveyors have turned up who will no doubt try and drag me from my office with their accoutrements and tins of spray paint for marking catch you later


@ExtremelyAvg @JuliaRBarrett @tomstronach that would be perfect kind Sir..


Twitter guilt has now kicked in. Thanks. :)

ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @BetsyKCross I hope it isn't too bad. I don't want to ruin the story and chase you away. I so look forward to your daily comments.

BetsyKCross like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @ExtremelyAvg Nah. Just figuring that I have to address Twitter/Triberr commitments sooner or later. Probably later. Or not at ll. That's the beauty of guilt. :)


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