Showing all posts tagged: social media

Tiktok reading community BookTok prompts reading surge

22 May 2023

Short-form video hosting service TikTok certainly has its nay-sayers. Security analysts believe the app may be compromising the privacy of users, while lawmakers in some countries are considering banning it. But the news isn’t all bad: TikTok appears to be behind a recent surge in book readership, thanks to the app’s reading community, BookTok, according to Kristen McLean of NPD Bookscan:

The romance novel It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover was the second best-selling Adult Fiction book and sixth best-selling book overall in 2021 — selling more than 770,000 copies last year — despite being a backlist title originally published in 2016, and McLean believes that is “almost exclusively there because of BookTok,” where it was championed.


, , ,

BookTok, the best friend of authors and booksellers

25 March 2023

Constance Grady, writing for Vox, on the impact BookTok — the book lovers’ community within video-sharing platform TikTok — has had on book sales in recent years. In terms of the American book market at least, BookTok is almost unrivalled when it comes to selling books. That could come down to the (unrivalled) sincerity of BookTokers, when they talk about their favourite novels:

The main reason BookTok sells so many books, according to most of the BookTokers I talked to, is because it feels authentic and personal. TikTok’s native format of short, punchy videos and culture of casual chattiness combine to create an atmosphere of intense intimacy between content creators and their audience. In the book world, that kind of intimacy and emotional connection is rare. All the caps-locked blog posts in the world can’t match the visceral force of a camera on a real person’s tearstained face as they sob over their favorite books — books that could easily become your favorites, too, if you want to buy them.

Grady also explores the matter of remuneration. Some BookTokers are making a living from their channels, but many are wary about accepting payments from book publishers. Others of course do, but usually declare which of their posts are sponsored, and which are not.

I’m not sure it’s territory I’d like to venture into. As regular readers know, I frequently feature new and recently published books, that are usually Australian. But they are outlines, and seldom reviews, and are written at my own volition, and not at the request of anyone else.


, ,

United States government is considering a full TikTok ban

2 March 2023

Law makers in the United States are considering legislation to ban the use of video sharing app TikTok, citing national security concerns:

On Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee was expected to move forward with a bill that would give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok from all US devices. That’s an estimated 130 million US users. A ban would require passage by the full House and the Senate before the President can sign it into law.

While there are concerns ByteDance, the company who owns TikTok, is sharing user data with the Chinese government, a blanket ban on the app would be a drastic move. I don’t know what the numbers are, but there must be fair few Americans — TikTok influencers for instance — whose livelihoods could be threatened by outlawing TikTok.


, ,

Arrivals offset departures as Twitter exodus seems to pause

18 February 2023

Elon Musk’s arrival at Twitter last October sparked a stampede for the doors, as members worried about where Musk might take the platform. But surprisingly, departures have been matched by arrivals, says Sarah Perez, writing for Techcrunch:

Worldwide mobile app installs are up by 3.7 million in January compared with September 2022. Notably, Twitter installs didn’t decline in November. Instead, it gained new downloads even as some of its users seemingly left for other apps. In other words, any Twitter exodus may have been offset by new Twitter arrivals. Active user data would tell a better story here, but Twitter is no longer a publicly traded company and it’s not clear that Musk is analyzing user data as Twitter had before, which would allow for a direct comparison. But his claims of a burst of November signups could be directionally true, as the month saw higher app installs than October.

There’s also the point that long term Twitter members, despite their disillusionment with the present direction of the platform, have a lot invested in the microblogging service.

Many have spent years, decades possibly, establishing a profile on Twitter, and wouldn’t be in any hurry to leave. Despite the uptake in alternatives, such as Mastodon, there’s still, I think, the hope among some Twitter members that things will eventually return to normal, or some semblance of normal.


, , ,

Daughter to TikTok: buy Stone Maidens, my dad’s novel

18 February 2023

After spending fourteen years writing a novel — between working and bringing up a family — American lawyer turned writer Lloyd Devereux Richards, published his novel Stone Maidens through Amazon, in 2012.

And then next to nothing happened. Until Richard’s daughter, Marguerite, posted a short clip about the novel on TikTok. Then things started happening. The clip went viral. Sales surged. Stone Maidens sold out after a short stint as the number one on Amazon’s bestseller list, such was interest.

Last week Marguerite posted a 16-second TikTok video that briefly recounted her father’s journey as an author. She explained that her father worked tirelessly on his book while raising three children, and “he’s so happy even though sales aren’t great”. The clip ended with a simple call to arms: “I’d love for him to get some sales.”

It’s not the first time something like this happened after a book concept took off on TikTok. Numerous authors whose manuscripts have been rejected by publishers, have seen their work printed after being embraced by Tiktok users. The Atlas Six, by Olivie Blake, which I mentioned a few days ago, is another example.

Finding a publishing deal through TikTok seems like a lottery to me, but it’s probably worth posting your book idea there, on a “be in it to win it” basis.


, , ,

#BookTwitter and other Twitter communities fear for future

4 February 2023

For years now book aficionados, publishers, and literary agents, have been convening on #BookTwitter, a community similar to Instagram’s #Bookstagram posse of book lovers.

Like many other Twitter groups though, #BookTwitter’s future hangs in the balance, subject to the fickle whims of the social networking service’s present regime, leaving members concerned they’ll wake up one day and find it gone, along with Twitter itself:

The recent chaos at Twitter has left many communities on the platform wondering — what happens if we wake up tomorrow and the lights are off for good? One such community is “Book Twitter,” made up of writers, editors, agents, booksellers, publishers, literary organizations, and everyone in between. Recently, notable authors like John Green and Sarah MacLean have joined other prominent voices in either deleting or indefinitely locking their accounts, leaving many fearful that a slow bleed of influential players will eventually lead to the community’s demise — if Twitter’s code doesn’t blow up first.


, , , ,

Not moving to Canada or Mastodon, I’ve been on Twitter too long

9 January 2023

Josh Nicholas, writing for The Guardian, about a recent decline in active members on social network Mastodon:

The number of active users on the Mastodon social network has dropped more than 30% since the peak and is continuing a slow decline, according to the latest data posted on its website. There were about 1.8 million active users in the first week of January, down from over 2.5 million in early December.

Aside from grumbles about Mastodon being difficult to use, I think a lot of people are wary of having to start over again somewhere else. If Twitter had ceased to exist, gone off-line, members who wished to remain active on a micro-blogging service would have no choice but to find a new platform, but that hasn’t (yet) been the case.

I joined Twitter in 2007, as did many of the people who follow me. Today some of those people have tens of thousands of followers, something that would’ve entailed considerable time and effort to achieve. The prospect of leaving that behind, and rebuilding their following on another service, would be daunting.

Despite Mastodon experiencing a growth surge in recent months, and making headlines in the process, membership peaked at about two and a half million accounts in December 2022. This compared to Twitter’s 368 million monthly active users at the same time. Some people moved on, but plenty stayed back.

Anyone then looking to start again would have found barely any of their Twitter followers on Mastodon, rendering a move questionable. So much for the Twitter members who threatened to depart, to “move to Canada” so to speak, after Elon Musk assumed ownership. In the same way some Americans, unhappy with the prospect of Donald Trump becoming U.S. President, declared they would migrate to Canada, in the event he won office. Ultimately few, if any, made the move.

While some Twitter users might have gone to Mastodon, or another micro-blogging service, or left social media behind all together, their numbers were limited by the looks of it. Staying on, rather than starting from scratch, turned out to be more appealing. Twitter had a way of retaining members, sitting — out of sight — up its sleeve, all along.


, , , ,

2023 the year of the RSS reader for email newsletters?

27 December 2022

While I trawl Twitter, Instagram, and other aggregator sites for news and information, I still also use Really Simple Syndication (RSS)… yes, I hear the laughter. If I had my way though, I’d rely solely on RSS, where every channel I peruse could be pulled into a single, convenient, interface. Trust me, reading the whole internet is so much easier when you only have to look at the one screen.

RSS, which, by the way, is really simple once you get the hang of it, allows you to read the content of any website, or social media platform for that matter, offering a RSS feed. But not everyone saw RSS as simple, and consequentially the technology has been out of mainstream favour for some time now. RSS developers were also at loggerheads as to the direction the syndication technology should take, while publishers were uncertain as to how they could monetise content served via RSS.

I’m also subscribed to about half a dozen newsletters, but I struggle to keep up with the many and myriad newsletters presently in circulation. And still some people say we’ve not yet reached “peak newsletter”. Really? I reached peak newsletter at least ten years ago. Having said that, I have vague plans to publish a newsletter here, but I’m not sure I want to inflict yet another newsletter on the world, as there’s surely enough of them already.

Imagine though you could read all your email newsletters by way of a RSS app. But you wouldn’t be seeing a web version of a particular email newsletter, something a provider like Mailchimp makes available. Instead, an email newsletter RSS app would pull the content of all the newsletters from your email in-box, and funnel them into the email RSS app. You’d then see your email subscriptions displayed in the same way as the RSS feeds of any websites you subscribe to are.

An email newsletter RSS reader just might make browsing all those newsletters a little more manageable. And the idea’s not so far-fetched either, says Nikki Usher, writing for NiemanLab, who thinks such an app is possible, various technical issues notwithstanding:

I predict that these people won’t stand for a universe where their email becomes ever more crowded just because of Elon Musk mucking up Twitter. The only way to survive in a world where multiple DC-insider publications are launching multiple newsletters and Twitter is no longer socially acceptable is to use an RSS reader that satisfies the intelligentsia and political elite.

Will we get it? It may well be that the feed from email to robust RSS reader needs an API that isn’t yet possible, given password-protected, your-and-Gmail’s-eyes-only email. RSS readers may need their own ecology of analytics in order to be commercially desirable and worthy of tech investment.

Might then 2023 be the year of RSS? Even if it is for email newsletters? It seems like a big call, but I’m watching this space. Might the current malaise towards the today’s centralised internet see RSS return to favour? Again, a big call, but who knows.


, , ,

Should Elon Musk step down as Twitter head? VOTE NOW

19 December 2022

Twitter boss Musk is conducting another of his famous polls. This time he is asking Twitter members whether he should step down as head of the social media service. He says he will accept a YES outcome, should that happen. We’ll see. Meantime, go ahead and vote, though I hate to think what will happen to anyone who votes yes… they’ll probably be banned from Twitter for life.

The poll closes at about 10PM this evening AEST.


, ,

Will 4000 character tweets be the end of Twitter as a micro-blogging platform?

12 December 2022

In Twitter’s early days, the original one-hundred-and-forty character limit per tweet was a test of a micro-blogger’s ability to be succinct yet informative. It may have been harsh, but the more you thought about the seemingly restrictive limit, the easier it became to craft compelling tweets. One-hundred-and-forty characters forced users to be to the point, and not waste a single character in doing so.

But the increase, across most languages, to two-hundred-and-eighty characters, in November 2017, seemed like the striking of a happy balance. Twitter still felt like a micro-blogging platform, while giving members a little more latitude in their tweets.

Then last winter it was reported Twitter was trialling a notes function. Members would have been able to append a text file — containing two-thousand-five-hundred words — to a tweet. That seemed liked a sensible idea, as I wrote in June. People without a website or blog, would be able to make Twitter the focus of their web presence, without having to get involved in the effort of maintaining a website. And anyone who didn’t want to read what was effectively a two-thousand-five-hundred word tweet, could simply scroll through to the next item in their feed.

News today of a proposed four-thousand character limit doesn’t mean people still can’t skip past any tweet they don’t want to read. But it is a game changer. Yet the real question is: why is this happening in the first place? To increase user engagement? Of that, I’m not sure. For me Twitter has always been a place where I can scan the main feed looking for stories of interest. And if something takes my interest, I can click through for more on the story, by way of the embedded link in the tweet.

And what of interactions with other users? A two-hundred-and-eighty character tweet limit surely helped keep conversations ticking over. How will discussion fare now people can make sprawling contributions to the discourse? Will anyone hang around to read whatever is tweeted?

One thing is certain, if the four-thousand character tweet limit is adopted, Twitter will cease being a micro-blogging platform — which is what made it so popular in the first place — and become something else altogether.


, ,