The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Don’t know anyone on Twitter?

Last week a college friend posted a question about Twitter as his Facebook status.  He’d just signed up, he said, and was having trouble finding friends who use Twitter.  Several of his friends — Facebook veterans, obviously — said they’d tried Twitter but “didn’t get it” or couldn’t find anyone.  (Although Oprah, who finally got on the bandwagon and started tweeting, picked up almost 500,000 followers in less than a week.)

Just in time, Wendy Kaufman of NPR’s Morning Edition explored, earlier this week, how businesses are using Twitter as a marketing tool and how individuals use it to keep up with the news in Thumbs To The News: Public Turns To Twitter.  Yesterday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd debated — in her typical sardonic fashion — To Tweet or not to Tweet.

The dirty, little secret of Twitter is that it’s really basic: it lacks the bells and whistles of Facebook or LinkedIn, no photos, no audio or video, no groups, just 140-character status updates.  The Twitter website isn’t pretty.  It crashes all the time (displaying the much hated “fail whale”).  Still, it works well enough that fire departments use Twitter — among other tools — to track wildfires, doctors use it to share information and L.A. foodies use it to hunt down mobile taco trucks.  (Not to mention it’s a handy tool for those of us in book publicity, allowing us to follow the news and network with authors and others in the industry.)

Guy Kawasaki, Internet guru and How to Change the World blogger, showed How to Demo Twitter earlier this week, covering why one would want to use Twitter, how to find people to follow and what desktop applications can run Twitter.  (That’s the summarized version; for more, check the Twitter section of his news aggregation site Alltop.)

For more Twitter basics, I’ve posted about how to get started on Twitter and how to figure out the Following / Follower lists.

And for a glossary of Twitter terms, try this recent post from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists.

Lastly, for those of you inclined to regurgitate at another mention of Twitter but who understand that one must nevertheless adapt to change, Dave Fleet suggests (non-Twitter) Social Media Baby Steps.


For those of you in the publishing industry, don’t forget that Jennifer Tribe of Highspot maintains a directory of bookish tweeps.


April 23, 2009 - Posted by | Social Networking, Trends | , , , , , , ,


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