Don’t Underestimate the Value of Twitter
I am fairly new to the Twitterverse, and fairly addicted. It’s mostly Maureen Johnson’s fault (that woman is split your sides funny, you should definitely follow her). An avid Facebook user for years, I had no idea how rich the book culture was on Twitter. Here are 10 reasons why you should be on Twitter.
10. Fast and Furious News
A wide variety of news outlets, including Publisher’s Weekly, Yalsa and VOYA, tweet links and various relevant facts that keep you quickly and easily updated. All you have to do is open the link and read the news source. As a reader, the most amazing moment in my life occurred when someone tweeted that author Lauren Oliver was going to be coming to a bookstore that it turns out was just 45 minutes from my house. I learned of it the day before and made the trek to meet Lauren Oliver (read about Lauren Oliver day here) and outside of getting married and having my babies, it was truly one of the more amazing moments in my life. If it wasn’t for Twitter, it never would have happened. I learn what is going to be on the bestseller list, what upcoming teen author festivals are in my area, and more. During conferences like ALA or PLA you can follow the discussion even when you can’t make it there. By choosing who you follow you create for yourself a news aggregator tailored to your wants and needs.
9. Book, Books and More Books
Book bloggers, librarians, readers, and more – this is a great way to learn what’s being talked about right now. And there are so many people who share books on their TBR (to be read) list that your own TBR list will grow long – quickly. (Seriously, my TBR would scan the globe a million times at this particular moment). In addition, authors, publishers and fans are always tweeting new book trailers, cover reveals, and reviews that are easy for you to share with your teens and help provide content for your Web and social media pages. I also found The Apocalypsies on Twitter. The Apocalypsies is a blog devoted to YA authors with books debuting in 2012. The lovely Jenny Torres Sanchez (@jetchez) is a part of this group. There is a deep and rich book world teeming under the surface of Twitter.
There are a lot of amazing YA authors on Twitter and they talk not only about their books, but about themselves. Sarah Dessen just announced that she will be releasing her 11th book next year, which will be titled Best After Ever. The other day I had an actual conversation with the lovely Ilsa J. Bick about her book Ashes and the upcoming sequel, Shadows (due out 9/25/2012). Some authors have left comments on my books reviews or responded via tweet and you know, it is encouraging as a librarian but it also helps you build a good reputation with your library teens and they see you as a legitimate resource in their lives. Many of the authors will talk about their writing processes, inspiration, and more. It would be a fun classroom or library project to have teens pick an author and really follow them as they go through the process of writing a book, getting it published and going on the marketing tour. Speaking of the marketing tour, I have learned a lot about what all goes into marketing a book via Twitter and this is an interesting insight for aspiring writers.
“There’s a fine line between good eye contact and the piercing stare of a psychopath. Maureen is on the wrong side of it.” – a fan
That about covers it. You’ll want to follow her for the sheer entertainment value of it. Be warned, she is obsessed with monkeys and possibly unstable. But, you know – wicked fun.
6. Connecting Teens to Authors
The other day a teen I had never seen before walked into my library with a Vlad Tod t-shirt (Vladimir Tod is the main character in the High School Bites series by the lovely Heather Brewer, if you haven’t read it I highly recommend it). So, this teen is standing there with a group and I walk up and say, “Awesome, you are a Vlad Tod fan.” She is immediately impressed that I get what her t-shirt is all about. We then proceed to talk about the books. Then I snap a quick pic and send it to Heather Brewer via Twitter and – gasp, shudder – Heather Brewer responded and said Hi to my teen, one of her “minions” (that’s what she calls her fans). Heather Brewer totally made this fans day and made me look like a rock star with my teen. The next day this teen emailed me at work and now I have a library/reading advocate in my pocket who will go tell all of her friends how cool the teen librarian is at the local library. I also sent a picture to Cassandra Clare of a young man who said The Mortal Instruments was hands down the best series ever, and she replied. Some authors have not replied, and honestly there is a lot of luck and timing involved because they just happened to be online when I tweeted them; but in the moments when you do get lucky, you get to be someone’s hero and help them connect with authors in unique ways. As a teen, it is always nice to know the adults you admire and look up to actually care, so thank you Heather Brewer and Cassandra Clare. As I tweeted just last night: “Authors on Twitter and reaching out to fans help librarians do their jobs well. So thanks.”
When thinking of who to follow on Twitter, you don’t want to forget your publishers. They too are a rich source of information, providing news about upcoming titles, letting you know what is selling well, and often having fun contests to share with your teens. Seeing what titles the authors are really pushing also helps you get an idea of what is likely to be popular. As with authors, I have had some great conversations with people from Egmont USA, Harper Teen, Sourcebooks Fire, Harlequin Teen and more. Random House has a fun feed called Random Buzzers for its website which is a fun place for teens. There is a different feel to the publishers on Twitter then just visiting their web pages and browsing through their catalogs. Of course their goal is still to market their product, but you can build relationships with them and, again, you get inside news at a quick pace so that you can predict trends, build collections, and better meet your library teens needs.
4. Book Bloggers
I did not know what a deep and rich culture of book bloggers there were online until I joined Twitter. I follow a ton of amazing book bloggers and it is great to read reviews, talk about books and get a wide variety of opinions about what is hot and what is not. Many of the bloggers will also do contests which can help you get some free ARCs to give away as prizes to teens. There are also a variety of teen book bloggers and it is always helpful to hear what teens are really thinking and what they really like. Some of my favorite teen book bloggers include Julie (@JulieHeartBooks), Aneeqah (@AneeqahNSRL), and Marissa (@MissyRissy_rox). If you already follow a blog they probably have an easy “Follow Me on Twitter” button that you can use to follow them. For the record, you can follow TLT on Twitter @tlt16.
3. Tweet Chats
Every Wednesday night there is a chat called #yalitchat where writers (and bloggers and librarians and fans) hang out and talk about books. A lot of the times there are specific topics, other times it is a free for all. On Thursdays Figment hosts a discussion called #figlitchat; again, it is usually guided by topic. And there is a monthly chat about ya galleys hosted by Early Word. This is a great opportunity to talk about upcoming titles, what people are reading and what they are saying.
Early Word YA Galley Chat: the third Tuesday of each month from 4 to 5 p.m., ET (also with a 3:30 pre-Chat session). The next one is April 17. Hash tag, #ewyagc
Figlitchat: Thursdays at 9:00 PM ET, they have recaps on the Figment webpage. Follow the hashtag #figlitchat
#yalitchat: Wednesdays at 9:00 pm ET
2. Other Teen Librarians
Want to hear about the lives of other teen librarians? Hop on Twitter. Here librarians tweet about Ref questions they get at the desk, interactions with teens, that awesome program they just had and more. You may find your next great program idea to steal – erm, I mean, borrow. Struggling to get good attendance at your book club, it’s nice to know that you aren’t alone.
1. The 2012 Project, of course!
If you are new here (by the way, welcome) you should know that some time last year I got a whim and decided I would do a monumental teen library advocacy project which is The 2012 Project (#the2012project on Twitter). My goal: to collect 2,012 pictures of teens reading and using their library (attending programs, hanging out, reading, browsing collections, using computers, etc.) to SHOW the world (and our administrators and communities) that libraries are still relevant, that teens do read, and that we need good staffing and funding to meet their needs. Not only are we trying to meet their needs, but we are trying to cultivate life long learners and library supporters. Libraries change lives, they help give books their voices by matching them with readers, and they are cornerstones of communities. So if you want to be a teen library advocate, you can tweet your program and random libraries pics with the hashtag #the2012project to @tlt16.
And a Bonus Reason to Use Twitter: the Library as Incubator Project (@IArtLibraries)
The Library as Incubator Project is focused on highlighting the connection between art and libraries. By following their Twitter feed you can see what types of programming, art projects and art exhibits other libraries are doing. You’ll definitely want to check them out.
Speaking of art and libraries, if you haven’t yet you definitely need to check out The Real Fauxtographer. Here, Margot Wood, a YA reader and photographer, joins her two interests by creating photographs based on the YA books that she reads. So far she has covered titles such as The Giver and The Forest of Hands and Teeth. This is a fun project to follow and a great idea to share with your teens. And I found out about it on Twitter. Behold the power of Twitter!
So tell me people, how do you use Twitter? Who do you follow, and why?
Some popular @tlt16 Tweets:
“A book can change a life, but not until someone opens it. Librarians put those books into the hands that may one day change the world.”
“It takes a while for a person to find the book that moves them, & money will often stop most people from finding it. So visit your library.”
“A book is still silent if it doesn’t have a reader. Libraries give books their voices by connecting them to readers.”
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network