the road ahead

Twitter Books
May 10, 2009, 3:43 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality


The Twitter world is growing at an incredible pace! Celebrities and business leaders are signing up in larger numbers every day. No group seems to be immune to the Twitter virus! I admit I am a twitterer too ( Millerisms56)! In these days of brevity, speed, and sound bites, could it be that the newest publishing model will emerge from the world of Twitter?

Are we destined to see Twitter books? Think of it: Assorted collections of twits on various topics collected electronically for reading pleasure. There could rise a new group of Twitter editors searching carefully through hastags, seeking the latest in content for an eager group of Twit readers!

Do you think this would catch on? I read a twitter post the other day by someone who said if publishers created 140-character books, he would read more!

So in these days of shrinking attention spans and the loss, as some believe, of serious reading, do you think the solution might be Twitter books? Thoughts?


9 Comments so far
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Twitter updates require really tight editing to make them interesting, informative, or provocative. Maybe that’s the real lesson publishers can learn from Twitter. Someone said “In every big book is a really tight journal article trying to get out.” The other lesson might be around the “story” aspect of Twitter. Very short glimpses into the stories of people we know–and don’t know!

Comment by David Francis

No, I don’t think there’s a future there, apart perhaps from a couple of novelty books. Twitter and books are not meeting the same needs or even aiming at the same needs. Both involve words and there the similarity ends.

Comment by Janet

Yes this is a great idea. I’ve got one cooking.

Comment by Lori Swarner

Perhaps it would work in an ebook format since twitter relies so heavily on html links. However, I can’t imagine the book succeeding without something else, such as images or videos. A page of tweets strikes me as a tough read.

Also, would it really work without the interactivity and immediacy? I think those two features are key to Twitter’s charm, and putting tweets in a book effectively kills them–unless someone can rig up the right kind of ebook…

Comment by ed cyzewski

I may be more excited about this possibility if I was experiencing actual depth from what I read on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and things considered “sound bytes.” I love the power of a good quote/proverb, a well-written story, a powerful movie clip. I can be deeply challenged by these types of things. But, unfortunately, much of what I am seeing today is shallow. We are moving towards fewer words in expressing our thoughts and ideas and we seem to think this is going to be easier-faster-quicker. In some respects, yes. But in many ways, not. It takes most people a lot of time and experience to think, ponder, meditate, write and re-write in a few words or images something of value and depth.
It may, however, be a new day for poetry and its power, more (good) writing in article length, stories/books done in “serial” fashion like we used to do, the honing of well-written questions and proverbs (not sound bytes), and more of this done in conjunction with images and visual expressions.
Yes, let’s continue to look for new ways of expressing ourselves but continue to examine the assumptions, consequences/implications along the way.

Comment by ChristineW

I think much of our Christian world is already too shallow. To think of 140 character books or something close just hits me as being shallow writing and thinking.

Comment by Kathy Collard Miller

I’m sure it will happen, but I don’t know whether it’s a good idea… Twitter can be a great tool for communication and evangelism, but I agree with those who say that it teaches us to have short attention spans and unthoughtful spirits.

Comment by Zack

I don’t think Twitter books would catch on. Not enough content to justify someone forking over a financial investment to acquire it. I do think the Twitter craze (less being more) is a trend that points to a larger issue / opportunity. People want content in portions that they can digest in one sitting. Sometime that may not leave them full but it tides them over till the next meal. It’s like intellectual snacking I guess. 🙂 Our lives are so busy and fast… more and more content being pushed at us at rapidly increasing rates. There so much noise that I think people are just gravitating to any medium that enables them to hear and be heard, if that makes any sense.

Comment by Daniel Decker

Perhaps, twitter can be used as a format to direct readers to “real free books” by authors who simply want to share their stories and provide a format where readers can drop-in their stories. I have set up such a site.

Comment by Alex

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