Three weeks ago, I asked Twitter whether anyone in the Oakland or SF area wanted to hang out. As a result of that, I ended up meeting with a bunch of YA writers in the Peninsula. Now, I was innocently tweeting, during my drive, that I was going through Shasta Lake, and, as a result of a reply from a follower, I’m (hopefully) going to be meeting with two other writers who live in NorCal during my return drive on Monday. On my drive across country, I ended up seeing Tobias Buckell in Ohio, and I also had a few other near-misses from people who realized that I was going through their part of the country and would’ve met with me if they’d known I was around.
All of this is pretty cool. And it’s something you’re only going to get on Twitter.
Most of the people who I follow (and who follow me) on Twitter are people who I don’t know in real life. In many cases, I’m not even sure who they are. I follow lots of people just because they were recommended to me on Twitter’s ‘people who you should follow’ list. That means that there are lots of people who I’m sort of aware of and have even conversed with, but don’t really know.
I also have a lot of author-friends on Facebook who I’ve never met in real life, but they’re a small minority of my total friendcount. And, as a result of that (and Facebook’s filtering algorithms) they tend to get pushed aside. As a result, I don’t get thrown in front of strange FB authors with as much frequency and don’t end up meeting as many people through Facebook. This is despite the fact that I use Facebook much more often and that FB gets, in general, much more engagement from its users.
I also think it’s partly cultural. YA writers tend to be really avid Twitter users. Not sure why. Perhaps it’s path dependence (a few were on there, and then more joined just because that was the place to be). Or perhaps it’s because there’s a perception that Twitter is a tool that you can use to communicate directly with teens.