Sunday, January 24, 2010

Are You Affraid of Twitter?

Career Choice; Should I Twitter

Are you afraid of Twitter?
At today’s Wannabe’s meeting we discussed the use of Twitter and other social networking tools. Twitter is just one of many tools that people of all ages are beginning to use to communicate with friends and interest groups from across the landscape. The age of pervasive computing started 40 years ago with the beginning of the Internet as we know it today. Since the early beginning of email we have slowly migrated from written communication to digital formats for everything that makes up our lives. We see this transformation in many ways: the migration of computing platform from pc desktop units to blackberry’s and I-phones, the advent of self publishing, e-books and even digital subscriptions for such storied news journals as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. What do all these happenings mean to the writer of today?
First of all it means that we are no longer approaching the digital age we are in the middle of it. Technology executives have recently, within the last two years made predictions that seemed farfetched at the time. The CEO of IBM, Sam Palmisano predicted that the popular pc was going to be passé in the near future. He predicted that the platform of the future would be the cell phone. We have witnessed this transformation with recent announcement: the touch screen technology, faster networks (4G), notebook laptops (no hard drive), cloud computing and video(U-tube) have all transformed the cell phone that occupies you pocket of your jacket or purse. At the end of this month (January 2010) we are about to begin another round of announcements which will push the technology curve further. Apples impending announcement of a tablet pc will transform digital media and how we use it even further. Google has undertaken a major project to digitize many of the publications that are stored in libraries and publishing archives. There is a movement towards e-books using such devices as Kindle, nooks and soon to be announced Apple alternative. For the writer you have the ability of publishing a book and getting royalty cheeks without having to bear the cost of printing 2,000 copies by using such sites as Createspace and LuLu.

You might still be asking yourself: Why should I care? We all still know people who are not active on the Web. According to recent statistics we rank 8th in the world in internet connection per capita. Still everyone has hobbies and interests. People are passionate about collecting stamps, genealogy, gardening or even bird watching. In the past we fostered those interests by either reading or joining groups. Today we are slowly migrating towards interacting with people of interest through the use of social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook. And the myth that these tools are only used by the young is contradicted by recent statistics that show the fastest age segment of these tools is between 40 and 60. Social Networking tools will allow you to keep in touch with not only your friends, relatives, business associates, classmates but also your interest groups. For Writers it is great. Twitter allows you to keep track of people who write with a feature called lists. Through the use of Tag’s (#), groups like writing, litchat, amwriting and ficwriter are only 140 characters away. Blogs and personal Web site are just another step in the social networking hierarchy. They are the location where you would store information that is of interest to you and a group that you associate with. Blogs are where a writer would demonstrate their writing talents and collaborate with others. Twitter should not used as marketing tool to advertise you publications. The Web sites and Blogs are used for that purpose.
You might think that his form of email communication with others is too complicated. Many people link their information that is posted on Twitter groups to their Blog site using a tool called Think of it as a traffic cop that directs the information that you write on twitter, to your blog sites and other social networking tools such as Facebook and Linkedin. allows you to set up a profile to tell the various tools that you use what messages are posted where without you having to key the text or clip and paste. It has been predicted that Twitter and Facebook will eventually replace the traditional email system as we know it today.
Someone asked me if I was concerned about privacy in sharing all my personal information on the web through the use of these tools. My answer was No. For about thirty dollars anyone can go to the web and pay a search company to check me out: where I have lived, my age, telephone numbers, court history and other information that is in the public domain. I control what I post where. I can use sites like Writers Digest Community to share my writing questions and knowledge with other people of similar interest without leaving the comfort of my den and bunny slippers. You still have to be careful in protecting your information that is posted by setting up your profiles correctly. You ultimately control your own information. I am too busy to be paranoid.
Our world is getting smaller. Like Thomas Friedman said in his bestselling book: The World is Getting Flat. We are now part of the next great revolution. As writers, especially those of us who write for pleasure, we should not be afraid of new technology. It actually allows us more ways to share our writing and passion with others from around the world. Here are some web addresses for some of the items that I have mentioned above.

FeedBlitz: “There are no rules”
Writers Digest Community:
Remember to keep writing and exercising that right brain. We are all former pupils of Nancy and such we need to practice what she preached. Have a great weekend and our next meeting is on February 26th. Hope to see you all then.