Thoughts Provoked….

This is unusual, but while reading Pride & Pyramids: Mr. Darcy in Egypt by Amanda Grange and Jacqueline Webb, I came across this passage:

“By nine o’clock they were all sitting in a caleche and driving slowly through the crowded streets.  The white walls of the buildings, designed to keep the heat at bay, were blinding in the sun.  Every few minutes they came upon a market square, with tiny stalls set up wherever there was a space.  People shouted in shrill tones, advertising their wares, and all four travelers were entranced by the flowing white robes and rolled up headdress worn by the men.  Donkeys brayed on every corner and each time they stopped, small boys appeared as if from nowhere entreating them to buy sticky brown dates and succulent figs.”  (page 130 ARC)

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media, and in particular Twitter.  This particular passage of the sellers crowding a singular space and boys coming from out of no where shouting about their wares and offerings reminded me of the cacophony of Twitter.  For whatever reason, I’ve lately become weary of the hours I spend on social media and wondering whether it even gets the word out there about the truly wonderful books I read and whether there is a more effective way to accomplish this goal, particularly for poetry.

It seems that there is a stream of reviews, giveaways, comments, and other items that clog up the Twitter timeline and even if I spent all hours of the day on the Web, my tweets about poets, readings, and books would be lost in the loud morass.  I feel as though I am shouting at passersby about the books I read and the poets I love and the readings I attend, but to no avail.  They do not know me, they do not (most likely) read my blog, so why would they care what I have to say?

Hand-selling books at a bookstore and chatting with readers is what I miss.  There is an intimate connection you make with fellow readers browsing a bookstore, especially when they pick up a book off the shelf that you’ve loved.  This was never more evident to me than when I attended a recent book signing in Boonsboro when I chatted with other ladies in line about their books and why they love them.  It was good to talk about Karen White’s books with people who had never heard of her and to see them light up when I told them about her books — the one’s I’ve read and the one’s I’ve yet to read — and how its a new world and adventure every time I open those pages.  Some people I talked to immediately picked up a copy of Sea Change, while others picked up Beach Trees.

What does all this mean for me and social media?  I’m not sure, but I’m likely to mull over my presence on Twitter more and to think of better ways to use my time there.  What are your thoughts?


  1. I push reviews to Twitter but I rarely spend time there. The loudest Tweets get heard and I am not one to yell into a crowded room. Plus, the interaction I get when I do get it, is not all that meaningful. It’s always too brief and clipped since you have to consider the 140 character max.

  2. Totally relate to your thoughts and feelings, although I feel like my competency with twitter is growing. I find that the back-and-forth makes it worth it — getting to know bloggers, what they’re digging, seeing a personal side to the publishers… But it takes some major time commitment. Dipping in now and then is frustrating, I think b/c there’s no relational interacting.

  3. I have tried to make sense of twitter, but most times I, too, feel as if I’m shouting into the wind. I do find it works for the “twitter parties” I participated in for Armchair BEA and Bloggiesta, or when I send someone a message and they respond. But to just hang out there… it takes too much time. So instead I check in a few times a day and spend only a few minutes at a time there.

    It’s always nicer to talk to real people, but I enjoy the global reach of the blogs and social media in general. Just have to watch the amount of time I devote to it.

    • I think prioritization is part of my problem. How much time should I give it?! I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Twitter parties are often at odd hours for me and I’m either already asleep because of my early work hours or at work.

      • Yes, I can see where work hours would cause a problem. The company I worked for was sold so I am unemployed at the moment… that gives me more time to participate in blog and twitter stuff… but still, I find it can eat up a lot of time. And once I am working again I’ll have to scale it back.

  4. I honestly have no idea how to use Twitter. I don’t feel right simply linking to reviews and giveaways, but I don’t think people care about random things going on in my life either. That, along with the sheer number of tweets happening at any given time, is why I’m hardly ever on there. I see its potential but just haven’t figured out how to make it work, and I think my free time is better spent reading books.

    I hope you’ll do a follow up post when you figure out a social media strategy that works for you!

    • I have automatic linking for the Facebook page stuff and for tweets of the blog posts that come up, and I often retweet giveaways, but I wonder how effective it is to do it on an inconsistent basis or if I have to be on Twitter all the time.

  5. I get you. There is nothing more satisfying than to talk to real live people face-to-face and offer the gift of a book recommendation that you know will bring them happiness. My friends and I hung out at a Barnes & Noble this weekend and all I did was go around and talk to people about books.

    As far as Twitter, I get so frustrated. I’m not on there a lot, but I do appreciate it when it is used correctly. Unfortunately, it is clogged with people having personal conversations back and forth, or others making comments about life tedium. I just shake my head.

  6. I seem to go on Twitter streaks. Sometimes I love it and can spend hours there. At other times I look around and think, “Meh. I have better things to do.”

    • I am on Twitter in fits and starts these days. I’m just wondering if I should set myself a time limit for each week or give up altogether or continue as I have been…absent for long stretches, etc.

  7. Twitter can be a total time suck but I still like it. I’m not on it like I used to be, though, because I just don’t have the time.

    • I find that I don’t have a lot of time for social media these days, so I’m wondering what should go….Facebook or Twitter…