A "Thrilling" Social Media Experiment

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  • Monday, January 27, 2014
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  • Sean Ellis
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  • As an author, there are no words I hate writing more than "buy my book."  Oh sure, I want you to buy it, but I don't want to come across as desperate.  I may post a link to my latest release, but by and large, using social media to advertise my books is the Internet equivalent of standing at the freeway on-ramp with a cardboard box sign that says "Will Write Books for Food!"
    There's no denying that social media is a powerful platform, but I'll admit to being a little stumped when it comes to figuring out new ways to make good use of it.  Whenever somebody figures out a new way to get a little publicity, pretty soon everybody does it and suddenly it doesn't work anymore.  I call this "the supermarket checkout line effect."  You know, when you're waiting in a long line at the store and a new checkout lane opens.  Unless you're the first person in that new line, your situation won't change that much.
    I've been pondering how to use various social media platforms for a while now, trying to come up with something unique and interesting to say, and one idea that I've been kicking around is finally about to bear some fruit.
    Now, when I say social media, I'm referring to interactive platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so forth.  Technically, people have been socializing on the Internet since it began, instant messaging with IMC chat and posting back and forth on newsgroups and forums, but these dedicated social networks have thrown the doors wide open.  Initially, this was a great way to get the word out about a new book, but it's become a very crowded room, and unless you've got something distinctive to say, no one really listens very closely.  And unless you can say something interesting every day, you aren't going to make a very deep impression.
    A couple years ago, I had the idea of telling a story in daily Twitter posts.  If you aren't a Twit (as I lovingly call my fellow Twitterers) then all you need to know is that Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation. How long is that?  Well, this paragraph hit 140 with the "s" in the word "Twitterers."
    As I pondered this idea further, I realized that this limitation might give me the opportunity to explore a new kind of storytelling.  Much like the daily comics in  newspapers (not Cathy or Andy Capp...I'm talking about the superhero strips and daily dramas) where a story advances only a frame or two at a time, I would have to devise a way to tell the story in a brisk, precise fashion, with no words wasted. 
    I'm pleased to announce that I'm finally ready to launch God Dance, a Twitter adventure.
    Here's how it will work.  Every weekday, starting today (January 27, 2014) I will post the latest "frame" of the story on my Twitter page @thrillersean .  I will post a few times throughout the day, and probably on  my Facebook wall as well.  Every Friday, I will collect the week's progress together and archive it on a Tumblr blog where I will also post additional material relating to the story. In fact, you should visit it right now to learn about the hero and get an advance look at the mystery at the heart of God Dance. http://twitteradventureseries.tumblr.com/
    I hope you'll join me for this unique experience.  I don't know how it will turn out, but I can guarantee it will be an adventure.


    Clwyd Probert said...

    We share the same opinion, Sean. It’s a rather insult for writers to convince people to read our works. It’s more like doing a hard sell, but it doesn’t hurt to promote your book. The effort would come to waste if it isn't appreciated. Good thing, social media sites were created for our advantage. :)

    Clwyd Probert

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