Anne Trubek: Only the literary elite can afford not to tweet

If there is a problem in literary fiction, it may be that some of our best writers have missed out on one of the most exciting and transformative moments in American letters. Social media is primarily text-based; it propels people to write more than they have in decades – centuries, perhaps – and it is complex, fluid and resistant to simple conclusions. No wonder so many writers love it. Luckily, I now know many of them, and with them I talk, alone in my study. —Anne Trubek

 Anne Trubek is the editor of the Cleveland focused Belt Magazine. I liked the way Anne captured the value Twitter offers to writers in this short essay.

When I go to my office in the morning, I can talk with the editor of the Washington Post Book Review section about what he is reading, with author Gary Shteyngart about a review of Zadie Smith‘s novel or to the president of the Modern Language Association about the state of the humanities.

But when I leave my office – logging off Twitter and going out the back door of my house – I can walk my dog up my leafy street and talk with baristas about the Browns, but rarely do I interact with book-review editors, novelists or literary critics. I live in Cleveland, a city that supports few such full-time jobs.

Twitter has offered me an intellectual community I otherwise lack. It cuts the distance, both geographic and hierarchical. Not only can I talk with people in other places, but I can engage with people in different career stages as well. A sharp insight posted on Twitter is read, and RT’d (retweeted), with less regard for the tweeter’s resume (or gender or race) than it might be if uttered at, say, a networking event. Social media is a hedge against the white-shoe, old-boys’ networks of publishing. It is a democratizing force in the literary world.

Read more of Trubek’s essay. And for some tidbits on how I exploit Twitter see Twitter: a channel to high quality curated information.