Friday, January 30, 2009

Twitter and Books, Newspapers and Magazines

I started using Twitter a couple of weeks ago. Now it seems as though I have quite a number of new Twitter friends. Perhaps we are learning something from it. Twitter is clearly on a roll. John Battelle thinks that we may be on the edge of a new form of collective thinking, the borg hivemind.

The key characteristics of Twitter are mystifying and compelling: the hugely important limitation that no message can exceed 140 characters; the characteristically web-like assymmetry of the followed/follower relationship; the importance of citation (retweeting); and of indirect reference through devices such as tinyurl; the real but limited scope for style and intentionality.

So how is this new conversational medium, which aspires to collective thinking, going to relate to digital editions? It would be nice to get some suggestions in the comment stream. But here are a few wild ideas:

  • Surely some publicists or alert authors are creating Twitter accounts for individual books. Where are they listed?
  • Could someone create a Twitter interface to a database of ISBNs/ISSNs, or of public domain books, so that any Google Book Search book, (or any Exact Editions platform book or magazine) could be searched for its Twitter stream. GBS and Exact Editions, unlike ebooks, have referential reliability so can be directly linked from Twitter.
  • Has a bookshop created a Twitter stream of the books it is selling minute, by minute (I do not expect Amazon to do this)? Or has a library told us with a Twitter feed what titles it is loaning? Perhaps the loans could be returned with a comment for inclusion in the Twitter feed?

1 comment:

George Walkley said...

Interesting piece Adam. I've posted a somewhat rambling follow-up at http://www.georgewalkley.com/2009/02/twitter-and-work-level-identifiers/. George