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Why I Love Twitter and Facebook

12/21/2010

As 2010 draws to a close, we’re seeing a lot of “Best of” lists, not only for the year but for the decade. “2011” still looks like science fiction; we are living in the future.

I’ve always been a gadget guy, but I think back ten years and can’t believe the technology that’s part of my daily life today.
Information moves faster and more easily now than at any time in history, for better or worse. This new world of instant information changes the subjects I write about, but that’s a topic for a future blog post. What I’m thinking about today, in this holiday season, is how important the online communities of Twitter and Facebook have become for me, and for any author who wants to reach the widest possible audience.

Some of my writer friends ask why I love Twitter, and what I get out of it. First of all, and most important, I enjoy it. When you work alone at a desk all day, Twitter is a virtual coffee break, a chance to catch up and see what the rest of the world is talking about. 

But Twitter and Facebook are both perfect illustrations of Malcolm Gladwell’s theories at work in the real world. Malcolm and I are mutual admirers; we had a long conversation that became part of the audiobook for KILLER INSTINCT. (You can listen to short excerpts of this conversation here and here.) In his book THE TIPPING POINT, he writes (among other things) about how ideas and products can spread like viruses, through the interaction of "Connectors," "Mavens," and "Salesmen." "Connectors" are people who know lots of other people, and help spread the word about things; "Mavens" are the experts among their friends; and "Salesmen" are skilled at persuading others.

As many books as I might sell, my Twitter and Facebook friends are the front line, the first group of people giving me immediate feedback and spreading the word. They’re the ones who tell me what they’re interested in, what they like, what they don’t like — and they’re telling all of their other friends, as well. I’m constantly gathering information and processing ideas, and many of those show up first on Twitter or Facebook. I’m always fascinated to see what catches people’s imagination, and what other people are talking about that catches mine.

This week my Twitter community passed 10,000 followers. That’s the population of a small town, and I am happy to be part of it. Thanks to everybody who makes my online life so interesting, whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook, and very happy holidays to each and every one of you.