I admit it – until recently I’d resisted Twitter and rejected the idea having my own website; last year I deactivated my Facebook account; and the notion of blogging found me yawning into my teacup. But a conversation with a publishing friend got me thinking that perhaps I was letting things slip a little.
I’d limited my networking almost completely to members of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), which is all well and good, but was I getting left behind? Was I missing out on those little snapshots of the publishing world more generally? ‘Trial it for a month,’ said my publishing friend. So I did. And I like it – I really do.
There are a lot of reasons why people sign up with Twitter, but these are my top three:
1. All my clients use Twitter…
Yes, every single one of them. My clients are, in the main, academic and trade publishing houses, and they all have Twitter accounts. Some of them use it to tweet about recent book releases; others use it as a forum for posting interesting links about the fields in which they publish; most of them, at one time or another, have used the platform as a way to transmit industry news. And a lot of them follow each other. So if they’re there, I think I ought to be there. Actually a few of them now follow me, and that can only be a good thing in terms of my proofreading profile and how other publishing houses might regard me.
2. It’s a one-stop-shop for industry news…
Like a lot of people, I’m ‘time poor’. Proofreading deadlines, school pick-ups and an enthusiastic young Labrador mean I just don’t have the time to read the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Bookseller, the Guardian’s online publishing blog, and the Times Higher Education Supplement, and keep tabs on what my clients are up to. And that’s before I’ve tried to remember to search out some of my preferred general-interest blogs (David Mitchell’s regular Observer blogs are a favourite of mine!). And that’s the real beauty of Twitter – I get these handy little links popping up that take me straight to where I want to go. I swear the amount of time I spend trawling the web for stuff I just might be interested in has decreased by 60%!
3. You can keep it professional…
One of my biggest concerns was that I might descend into tweeting hell, and find myself drowning in a sea of friend-based discussions about the weather, my general state of health, and football scores. So I’ve been very select about the accounts I follow and I’m very careful with the content of my tweets. Nearly all the accounts I follow are publishing related and I take care only to tweet about things that my fellow industry colleagues might find interesting. So you won’t find me lamenting the fact that I’m having a bad-hair day, or that my dog has chewed my new pair of Birkenstocks. Instead, I’m more likely to be retweeting about Penguin’s move into the self-publishing market, the SfEP’s latest training schedule, an editor's weblink, or developments in e-publishing.
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