I finally signed up for Twitter. Follow me at @Fiction Notes.

From Archival Medium to Instant Medium: Books to Twitter

Why am I finally getting around to Twitter, when it’s been around since March, 2006? Because this week I read an interesting article about the changes currently happening on the net.

Google and Bing are now implementing Real-Time Search, http://www.flickr.com/photos/thenextweb/3346248321/ basically that means that if you post something on your blog or Twitter, it is almost immediately available in Google’s search results. For Twitter, Google (the algorithm king!) ranks your followers and followings to give you reputation scores and uses those in how it ranks your tweets and posts.

Nathania Johnson says at Search Engine Watch this means three takeaways:

  • Cultivate your following on Twitter.
  • Don’t overdo the hashtag.
  • Be comprehensive in your real-time efforts. Don’t just focus on Twitter.

Books are Archival
Well, Ok. But I still didn’t get why I should care about Twitter. Publishing is a long-term business. As someone told me, “It’s like swimming underwater in molasses.”

It makes sense, if you consider publishing as the way our culture has traditionally archived what is important. Books are a cultural archive (refreshing in a world where typical webpages have short life-spans.) Newspapers, and now online blogs, respond to daily trends; magazines run on a longer cycle of a week or a month or so; books, well, that’s the place to take the long view of something. Books, then, are the place where we have archived our history, tales that move us and create the cultural norms around us. Of course, that culture isn’t static, which is why we constantly have new books.

But Twitter is different. It is instant. It’s the FEED.

But even that didn’t push me over the edge toward Twittering.

Evolving Online Culture

I’ve been a part of the online writing community since the days of Genie, moving where ever the community moved to keep up friendships and associations. We moved from BBs to email listservs to blogs to MySpace to Facebook. (Sigh. Why DO we have to move to much?)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/betta_design/1518094702/But Mike Grehan, a mucky-mucky important search engine expert-guy says I need to pay attention. He defines Real-Time Search as “as the conversation is happening.” In real time, this could be either asking on Twitter,
“Where’s a good sushi restaurant?” or asking, “Does this great sushi restaurant that my Twitter friends suggested have a reservation open at 8 pm?” That’s a very different thing! And increasingly, you can answer the second question through some app on your iPhone. (Forget the low tech method of calling!)

He goes further to say that eventually – if privacy is no issue, which is a totally different discussion – Google will know that you want to know about the 8 pm dinner reservation and will send you the info before you ask, something called pushing the information out to you. (MT Anderson begins to look very prophetic; wonder if Grehan has read it.)

And just HOW will that happen? Well, here’s what MT Anderson did not anticipate.

Grehan says:

I recently heard a Google senior engineer say we are “moving from a 2.0 Web of content to a Web of applications.”

One of the criticisms about Apple’s new iPad is that it uses the Safari browser. Who cares? I’ve got 15,000 apps sidestepping the browser and getting my information in real time.

OH. Now I get it. My community is moving!. Once upon a time, we sidestepped email (listservs) in favor of browsers (blogs and such). Now, we’re sidestepping browsers in favor of apps (Twitter and such).

Wow! We’re moving!
Well, maybe. Eventually.

The move in progress, and not every one is moving at once, and maybe some will never make the move. But the community is moving. Well, maybe they’re just having a party over at Twitter, but I’m invited. I should go and meet some new folks.

If Grehan is right, we’ll no longer make connections only through browsers; we’ll use that AND, increasingly, through apps, such as Twitter apps! That means I need to get my ducks in a row and make sure I’m still part of the community. Looking over Twitter, I see that many writers and authors are already there and established; they’ve tweeted the way for us to follow. I’m getting an iPhone and I’ve signed up for Twitter. It’ll take me a month or two to find my little-birdie Twitter legs, but I’m flying to the party and I’m chirping about it, too. @FictionNotes

Twitter Book and other Twitter Resources

Of course! In my haste to make it online to Twitter, I went immediately to my friendly local bookstore and found, nicely archived, a great intro to Twitter. There may be better books, but this book helped me get started. It’s not too long or complicated: I read it in one night. It has great lists and lists of resources. Nice book. Paper. I remember that.

Also, check out these intros to the software:

So, Twitter-pros, what did I leave out? Any chats you like? Any programs you like to make Twitter easier? Any other reasons to join?

6 responses to “@FictionNotes”

  1. Welcome to Twitter, Darcy. You’re invited to the #kidlitchat party anytime!

    You have an excellent start with @inkyelbows, @mitaliperkins and @CherylRainfield–another good source is @TaraLazar, whose blog hosts a list of published kidlit authors and illustrators on Twitter. Start here: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/childrens-picture-book-authors-on-twitter/ and follow the link provided to the MG list.

    Two more tips:

    1) Download TweetDeck to organize your tweets–but more importantly, to keep your “mentions” and “DMs” in view at all times.

    2) Follow Twitter chats with TweetChat–adds the hashtag automatically.

    Look forward to having you around!

  2. Welcome to the party. It’s intimidating at first, but once you get the flow, you’ll find yourself locked right into the feed. (Does anyone else feel us moving toward EXTRAS by Scott Westerfeld?)

    Great article full of great links. Thanks.

    – Liz

  3. Bonnie, thanks for recommendations for TweetDeck and TweetChat!
    (For uninitiated like me, “Mentions” means you can track whenever your screen name is included in a Tweet. And a “DM” is a direct message, a private message sent just to you.)


  4. Welcome to the real-time web! And I second Bonnie’s invitation to #kidlitchat (though I can be found as @gregpincus on Twitter not @thehappyaccident (which is my site)). Take a deep breath before your first Twitter chat, by the way – they can move FAST.

    TweetDeck or another similar program is an absolute must for getting the most out of Twitter. I use it to follow conversations – with the + (plus) sign at the top you can add a column to follow any phrase or hashtag you want. “Middle grade novel” for example would find any tweet mentioning that just like “#kidlitchat” can track the chat.

    Finally, I have a list of some basic Twitter terms along with examples of them in action up at my site for times when you or others don’t have a book handy:


    And again… welcome to the conversation!