From the New York Times: Twitter for Novelists

POSTED ON Jan 10, 2012

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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Although I had a Twitter account early in 2009, I didn’t really start using the service until the end of the year.

But when I started reading Tweets and interacting with people on the service, I had an immediate attraction to it, and the amazing ways people communicate in short bursts of text.

When Twitter became so popular that it could play a central role in political movements and help plan popular uprisings, it started to look like it might be around for quite a while.

Explaining it to others, I’ve often remarked it seems more like a utility—like your electric or gas service—than like software.

The big payoff for me was when Apple decided to treat it exactly like a utility by embedding Twitter’s functionality in their new iOS5 operating system for mobile devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Authors Are Catching On

As social media have matured authors have moved onto the social platforms in large numbers, and for many reasons. Some are pushed by their publishers, others really enjoy the opportunity to engage with readers outside the occasional bookstore signing.

One thing that’s bedeviled fiction writers who want to use Twitter is exactly what to do. It seems much easier for a nonfiction writer to Tweet about a subject and provide links to useful resources.

The best thing I’ve read on how fiction writers approach Twitter was a great article in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.

Author Anne Trubek—who does not list her Twitter handle (@atrubek) in the article—surveyed writers from Gary Shteyngart to Salman Rushdie to Margaret Atwood and many others.

Rather than me tell you about it, go read it here:

Why Authors Tweet

The authors span the continuum from those who don’t want to show a personal side on social media, to others who revel in it and who have accumulated large followings.

The Address of the Future?

More than any other form of social media today, I expect Twitter to be with us for a very long time. It’s a basic form of instant communication that can be used one-to-one, one-to-many, or even privately, and it’s the fastest way that any kind of event or content or thought can go viral.

Since I got started, I’ve published 8,373 messages on Twitter. Almost all of them are links to other people’s work that would be useful for anyone interested in the world of writing, design and book publishing.

If you do the same you may be as lucky as I am, to acquire 8,767 followers, to find 5,960 people to follow, and to make connections with an amazing group of individuals.

Twitter also is the second-largest source of traffic to my blog, sending thousands of readers here every month.

Pretty soon we may be able to do away with a lot of the virtual addresses that now festoon our online personalities. I must have at least 10 email addresses myself. Who needs it?

Someday we’ll just have our “@” address: @JFBookman is mine. What’s yours? Want to connect? Click this button:

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Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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