Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Twitter-Lit: Pushes to Become Real Lit!

Would you pay 30$ for a hardcover book of tweets from your favorite Twitter-lit author? (See my earlier posts on Twitter-lit.)

Apparently, there are a lot of people who are interested in doing just that. In fact, an enterprising web-strategy agency called Definitely Something has started a project called TweetBookz, designed to help twits (excuse me ... I mean tweeters) to self-publish their Twitter-lit and then sell their labors in the form of an actual book.

In an interview with Mediabistro's Galleycat, Definitely Something's Rob Goldstone gave a little background about their effort:

"Most of our work is spent on sites like Twitter, on behalf of our clients, and one day we started joking around with the idea that it would be cool to see all our writing in a more permanent form ... So far the reactions have been very positive, with early book orders and lots of blogs picking up on the story. We hope its just the beginning and are ready for the holiday shopping boom."
(Mediabistro 2009, Galleycat Interview with Rob Goldstone)

Regarding who might want to do this, Goldstone commented:

"Others may create books of the tweets they consider their funniest or most inspiration. Some may go to the extreme and pick only tweets about the basics of life such as what they ate or what they did that day. We'd also love to see companies active on Twitter ordering their own TweetBookz as gifts for their employees or customers."
(Mediabistro 2009, Galleycat Interview with Rob Goldstone)

So, what does it all mean? This is not just an enterprising company leveraging some flavor-of-the-month web service. This effort may end up just an "expensive mistake," but it might also be the first of a trend that grows. Self-publishing on the web is ubiquitous and growing exponentially every month. As a publishing luminary said, "The publishing problem has been solved." Meaning, if you want to publish, you are no longer at sufferance to the traditional publishing companies. Literally anyone can cheaply and effectively publish their work, and find an audience.

Obviously, quality control is an issue, and herein lies a major role played by publishers—they filter the flotsam and jetsam. But, now you can hire the same QA services from a subsidy publisher, or third-party editors (another area growing leaps and bounds). The changing role of publishers is a whole, complex post in and of itself, and maybe one day, when I feel like typing a lot, I'll do that post, but for now the point is that Tweetbookz is another example of how it is all changing. Creative people are leveraging technology to increase opportunities for writers—and that's enough to make us all sit up and take notice.

Will it be a flash in the pan? Who knows and who cares. I'm all for anything that gets people writing, expressing themselves and finding their voices, even if it means doing so in 140-character tweets.

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