I'm Winning Ms Twitter UK!

An Unknown Writer is Winning Ms Twitter UK and it's Me!

What a crazy journey! I can't believe all the celebrities I've overtaken. Lily Allen seemed impossible to beat - how could I ever get over 3000 votes? It happened. Not quite sure how, but I beat her and this morning I overtook Vanessa White from The Saturdays.

What I'm Learning

Ms Twitter is basically a popularity contest. My preconceptions were that on the level playing field of Twitter, the usual stereotypes would rise to the top: models and celebs with professional photos, make-up artist-and-cosmetic-surgeon-perfected faces and publicity machines would wipe the floor with the 'normals'. After all, that's what M.O.P.s (Members of the Public) are for. Hasn't happened though.

True, all the others in the top 10 are celebrities...but I'm not. The person behind me was born in a year in which I remember lying in a field with my friends and a bottle of cheap cider, and watching the stars above as The Cure left outdoor speakers and thudded through the ground beneath us.

My lack of spring-chickenyness caused a crisis of confidence early in the competition when I had to wade through a field of impossibly beautiful young models. I asked my followers on Twitter for advice. They would need to put in all the hard work to get me to the front page after all, so I needed to know how they wanted me to play it.

Back in the day, I wasn't bad looking and I have some old modelly shots I thought I could pull out so I'd be fighting the battle with a youthful face at the very least. They said I must not do this. They were very firm on this point. Interestingly, they were also fairly evenly split between the genders. It was almost unanimously decided that I must fight with brains only.

That said, the fact that I've suffered brain injury was to be no excuse for failure. A number of people with disabilities and hidden illnesses also got on board. I wasn't going to be allowed to hide behind any physical difficulties because they wouldn't let me. They encouraged me to use what I have now and focus on winning. Strict crowd.

The Battle Plan

All possible excuses for failure now behind me, we came up with a battle plan we could all stick to. The slogan of the campaign would be:

'The pen is mightier than the pin-up'

The weapons we would use to fight the battle would be the tools of what became known as 'literary stand-up.'

Through trial and error, we discovered that I can come up with ideas very fast so this became my strategy for gaining votes. When votes were needed, I'd make myself really vulnerable and let people quiz me however they felt fit.

Of course, this was all under the watchful eyes of the publishers and media types that follow me so it was a huge gamble but it paid off. Before long, agents and publishers also joined in. Not only were they asking me questions and requesting haiku, stories, medieval translations etc against the clock but they were even promoting my bid for the Ms Twitter UK title and encouraging others in the literary world to follow me.

This whole process has been exhausting but it's also been exhilarating. From a personal perspective, it makes no odds to me whether I win or not. The contest is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. At the moment, I'm winning. At the moment I have proved that someone like me CAN win. That's the important bit.

What matters to me is that I've proved to myself - and hopefully to others - that you don't have to be a certain age or of a certain physical ability or image or income or any of those things to build a market for your writing online. As I have said before, these are "mind forg'd manacles" not real barriers to success. Publishers are pretty Twitter-savvy and I'm sure this hasn't skipped their notice either. Web 2.0 gives writers legs - whatever their physical constraints. Little triumphs like these amongst writers battling with disabilities, poverty or other problems are bound to give publishers more confidence when it comes to taking a chance on the 'imperfect' unpublished author.

The contest is not over. I've no idea whether or not I will be in the lead when it closes. What I do know, however, is that thousands of people have followed my progress over the last couple of weeks and, after weeding out most of them, a good thousand or so remain. Of these, about 90% are die-hard book fans and they've fought for my success. Chaps... I have a platform. Mission accomplished.

Ms Twitter UK: http://rebeccawoodhead.com/vote

My Twitter Page: http://rebeccawoodhead.com/twitter

Angie Ledbetter  – (20 July 2009 at 15:59)  

I'm pulling for you and hitting the + sign. Gooooooo, Mighty Pen!

Eric  – (20 July 2009 at 16:17)  

WOOHOOOOO!! Rebecca, I am so proud of you. You are doing awesome, and it's well deserved. I'm going to do another post on my blog about you so that more and more people keep you on top. Good luck and remember this moment for a long time :)

J.T. Oldfield  – (20 July 2009 at 17:16)  

I'm so proud of you! It's been so much fun along the way!

Rebecca Woodhead  – (20 July 2009 at 17:22)  

thanks guys *grins* I got VERY lucky with my followers. Sterling chaps and chap-esses.

Ana V. Rios  – (21 July 2009 at 18:46)  

This is fantastic! That is why you gotta have faith. I have voted for you several times. Way to Go!!!

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