People who only live tweet are steadfast that the Twitter Police will arrest you if you don’t only interact live.

Okay, kidding…kinda. Yet many of these people are quite zealous in preaching to people that if they schedule in ANYTHING AT ALL, they are DOING IT WRONG. I disagree and here’s why:

As someone who makes a living helping people learn how to do social media and book marketing (in additional to writing and publishing my own books), I spend a good majority of my day on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Pinterest for both personal and business reasons. Therefore, it’s important that I learned early on how to manage my time best for my clients, so I’d still have time to write, be a mom, and ya know, eat Nutella.

There’s been a debate on Twitter and Facebook for years about what’s ‘better:’ live interaction only, live interaction combined with some scheduling, or scheduling only. Some people (who will most likely respond in comments here), will scold someone for scheduling, as if it’s the eighth deadly sin.

I’m personally a fan of the middle option and I’ll explain why below. Let’s now, however, deconstruct the pros and cons of all three options.

LIVE INTERACTION ONLY

Pros: One the advantages of only live tweeting (or FBing, or any live-ing thing) is that you can be involved in conversations as they happen. Breaking news, popular trending topics, etc. Totally true. In addition, Twitter is the great equalizer. You can speak with anyone, from writers to musicians to celebs to politicians (if that’s your thing) as you see interesting things in your feed. You can also thank people for sharing your tweet or FB message as they do it. Also, if you’re at an event, live tweeting is essential and fun to help spread the word and connect with others.

Cons: In my experience, if you only live tweet, it’s hard to be ‘on’ all the time. Most people don’t have the time to stay on Twitter (or Facebook) full time so you miss a lot (unless you go back through and search for something specific to comment on). People also miss what you have to say.

Also, if someone comes to your stream (or page) and sees a bunch of ‘Thank you for the RT’ tweets, it’s boring. They have no real idea if you’re cool, interesting, or what. That’s why I use Pluggio to spread them out.

I also find that using something to schedule in tweets/shares, etc (I prefer Hootsuite) helps me address a number of my keywords and topics and spread them out also. Sure, I’ll go on a Nutella riff, but that’s not ALL I want to talk about (okay, it is but you know. Girl’s gotta make a living.).

COMBINATION OF LIVE TWEETING AND SCHEDULING

Pros: You can better manage not only your time but also your followers. If you spread your tweets out throughout the day, people can check in when it’s convenient for them, and you can schedule in posts that tie to your interests. I find planning ahead to do things like: share fellow writers’ posts, memes (like #MondayBlogs, #WW or #FF), and promotional events work better when I’ve scheduled in the posts. Then I can live tweet any responses.

Cons: If you schedule in articles or current event tweets, you can be easily burned when something happens and your scheduled tweet is inappropriate (this has happened frequently this past year with some large companies who should know better). This is why I only schedule a day or so ahead of time, and I choose topics that aren’t dependent on the current social climate (that I save for live tweets).

SCHEDULING ONLY

Pros: You set and forget, which makes it easy to focus on other things, like making money, family, cleaning your house, making your martini…whatever.

Cons: Fairly obvious, as mentioned above. I’ve struggled with scheduling in pertinent articles (no more than one every 4 hours), because once you set it and forget it, you realize that many of these articles have quickly become dated (for example, I scheduled in a bunch of Twitter articles over the holidays, and some are just surfacing now, which is embarrassing). Clearly, a mistake on my part and something I’m much more on top of now.

Also, you can come across as quite robot-like, which is diametrically opposed to the concept of ‘social’ media, since many of these tweets contain links. (According to Twitter’s spam guidelines, tweets should consist primarily of personal updates, not link after link after link.)

Listen, here’s what I love the most about Twitter (or any social media platform): you curate it for what works best for you. If you’re not getting the results you want, change it up. Read some stuff. Learn. Nobody has a right to tell you what to do (unless you’re doing something that is against guidelines like putting a link in every tweet or spamming your wall with coupons and such). I encourage you to look closely at what you share, pay attention to the ‘rules’ provided by each channel, and figure out what works for you.

I’d love your feedback and opinions on this controversial subject below.