thoughts on the rick moody twitter experiment

smart people have already weighed in on this: check out patrick from vromans’ take and a great interview with Electric Lit’s scott lindenbaum.

between them, they’ve covered the aspects that were successful and not so successful. there are probably lots of other great interviews/posts too — feel free to leave links in the comments! there are lessons to be learned here about “publishing” via twitter, and about co-tweeting as opposed to re-tweeting. i am not going to tackle that. or whether i consider it a success or a failure. or even the questions that arise of authorship and ownership (i’m half-way through YOU ARE NOT A GADGET, otherwise these might not have occurred to me).

what i wanted to do, as someone who made the decision to pull our store feed (@breathebooks) from the ranks of the co-tweeters on Day 1, is to try and express in some semi-intelligible way why i am so glad someone finally tried something like this.

i’m glad they did it, because it raised three very important (and very connected) questions for us as a tweeting store: who are we talking to, who is listening, and what is our twitter account for (in no particular order — it’s very chicken-or-egg, if you think about it).

who are we really talking to? patrick points out in his post that if @vromans is really just talking to other booksellers/industry professionals, rather than customers, he’s not even sure that twitter is worth it for them. as someone who has two accounts — my personal account, and a store account — i can’t stress enough how important this is to me.

which gets us into “what is our twitter account for?” my personal account is SPECIFICALLY for talking to other booksellers/industry professionals, along with anyone interesting who pops up. our store account is (meant to be) for talking with customers, engaging with them, alerting them to store goings-on, etc. but are our followers customers? there isn’t any really good (translate: easy) way to tell this. however, there are lots of ways that i could ramp up my efforts to turn customers into followers (and vice versa, but that’s a whole other post). i’m beginning to formulate a strategy for exactly that — more on that later.

which leads us to, who is listening? i didn’t pull us from the experiment because our followers were revolting — although our bookseller followers were (very vociferously) in fact in revolt. i pulled us for a few reasons — we don’t normally tweet that much, i wanted to put more focus on store-related tweets, i was nervous about the complete lack of authorship/tagging involved — but most of all, it was because of the silence.

not one non-bookseller commented on the feed, either positively or negatively. not one retweet, not one “what’s this?”, nothing.

and radio silence, when you’re doing something that different, is not a good sign.

so who is listening? who are we talking to? what is it for?

when i figure it all out, i’ll let you know.

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thoughts on the rick moody twitter experiment

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