You can chat directly with authors on Twitter, and I think many readers are looking to blogs and social media to find likeminded chatter about the next big thing. ”
– Janne Moller of Black & White Publishing , in The Business of Young Adult Fiction by Eleanor Pender
Twitter is a social media outlet that allows YA authors to develop their fan base through “followers” of their page. Their page can consist of their own tweets (140 character messages), or retweets (reposting others’ tweets) . Through hashtags, they can create conversation and hype about any topic or event, which is especially beneficial around book awards or book release times. Twitter is an integral aspect of YA social media culture, and through author pages and hashtags, young adults have had conversations directly with authors, and can see authors “tweeting” to each other. Seeing YA authors publicly support one another helps makes the YA community strong, and develops a loyal, passionate fanbase (Ranta). Through tweets, authors and librarians can provide the 5 hallmarks of successful social media: humour, sincerity, excitement, frequency and appearance.
- Not text heavy (140 characters per post)
- Optional “chat” feel
– wide audience, very popular among young adults
– connect to both readership and other authors and publisher
- Great promotional tool for libraries and authors, links to video, images, and text
- Could employ Vine to incorporate video along with tweets (or use Vine on its own)
– popular with young adults
Vine – optional mobile service developed by Twitter
Allows you to create and share 6 second looping videos
Can share with Vine followers or post to Facebook or Twitter
- Limiting if you want to write more than 140 characters (as writers might!)
- The popularity can be a disadvantage. Your tweets can become buried within the amount of daily tweets, and your followers may miss them
- Can link to video and images, but favourable to text (consider tumblr for image heavy messages)
Terrific Twittering for Young Adults
John Green is an example of terrific Twittering. He creates a sincere relationship through frequent tweeting, occasionally directly answering tweets from his fans (Grose). He demonstrates excitement about book promotions, other YA authors, and other fan bases that are popular among young adults.
Meg Cabot also tweets in a way that is consistent with the YA social media culture. She tweets frequently, using humour in her posts. Along with promoting YA books, she also makes relevant, topical posts about pop culture, including many tv shows, bands and celebrities that many young adults are also interested in. As Cabot has said, ““They [teens] can tell if you just show up to promote your book. That’s kind of phony” (Grose). By focusing on her genuine interests rather than pure promotion she can connect better with young adults.
Terrible Twittering for Young Adults
J.K. Rowling created a Twitter account to ensure no one else could personate her on the website. Having a verified page on Twitter lends authority to the any message made by the author. Teens are tech-savvy enough to look for verified pages, and so an official Rowling Twitter is an excellent part of YA lit and social media culture.
However, while J.K. Rowling may Twitter effectively for her own goals, it is not effective for communication with young adults (which are a dominant part of her fan base). This is because she tweets very infrequently, and when she does it is promotional messages for her books. The majority of retweets are from her publisher, Bloomsbury.
More recently she has also begun promoting her charity Lumos. While this social engagement will be interesting to young adults, the overall atmosphere of her twitter lacks sincerity, frequency and humour, and she is therefore not an integral aspect of YA lit and social media culture.