@wossy’s Book Club And The Developing Power of Twitter

As weeks – if not days – pass, it appears that more and more weird and wonderful as well as informative and compelling ways of using Twitter, the social media and networking tool, are entering the online consciousness.

The latest manifestation will take some beating. 

Jonathan Ross, the British television and radio broadcaster – voted No.1 most influential twitter user in a recent report – decided, in a series of tweets between himself and his several thousand followers, that a fun and inclusive way to debate and discuss would be to create an online, Twitter-based book club. 

After mentioning that the first book to be reviewed would be ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats’ by Jon Ronson, a book outlining the various psychic operations of the US armed forces, its ranking on Amazon rose from 10,875 to 51 in 2 hours – up 15,710% in Amazon’s ‘Movers and Shakers’ ratings. 

Other books to be reviewed in the first weekly review session will be ‘Leaves of Grass’ by Walt Whitman, ‘Foreskin’s Lament’ by Shalom Auslander and ‘Exit Wounds’ by Rutu Modan.  No doubt sales of these books will explode in the coming week. 

Whether this book club concept will work, or continue henceforth, remains to be seen.  It seems difficult to comprehend the logistics of thousands of users simultaneously tweeting their book analyses – how does one form comprehensible and coherent conversation?  Yet this latest innovation proves that there are limitless boundaries to twitter-related concepts.

Equally one must remember that Twitter is still a relatively niche tool – it is really only those who are interested in or frequently use technology that actively utilise Twitter’s multiple applications and communicative power – yet the scale of the impact that tweets have created on the multimedia and journalistic world is unparalleled.

Indeed it seems that news of novelty twitter-based events is no longer rare – such activities are occurring increasingly numerously and frequently.  One can take the recent coverage of events at Bletchley Park as another sound example.

A triumvirate of highly influential twitterers, comprising @documentally (Christian Payne, a so-called apostle of social networking), @ruskin147 (Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC Technology correspondent) and @stephenfry no less, visited the prestigious World War Two heritage location near Milton Keynes – where secret German codes were broken.  Text, pictures, audioBoos and video were uploaded and updated in real time, viewed by the global tweeting world, with the added bonus of using a #bletchleypark hashtag to unite related tweets.  

It was hoped that through this somewhat-impromtu social media event, Bletchley Park would receive charitable donations to help sustain its cryptology museum that honours the indefatigable code-breaking efforts in World War Two.  It is probable that this will be achieved – through such global recognition, in the form of peer communication, on Twitter. 

So, how far can Twitter go?  Is there more Twitter power to be uncovered? 

To quote Orange, the mobile network provider, and John Noughton, the Guardian’s media correspondent; the future’s bright, the future’s networked.


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