How to Use Social Media in Your Literary Search

As a literature major, I have always been fascinated by books. I graduated at the top percentile of my class, but if you asked me how I did it, I’d just give you a wry smile and utter one word – “Facebook.” I know, you must be thinking; how would a literature lover get material from one of those time-wasting tools that cleverly disguise themselves as a social network? Well, I’m here to tell you that a social network can be one of those things that can help you as a reader or writer find out the latest releases in the literary world. We are going to look at a few ways in which you can use Facebook and Twitter as an advantage when it comes to your literary exploits and the search for new books.

1. Like Your Favorite Authors

I know, you must be thinking – isn’t that a bit obvious? Well, to some, Facebook pages for famous people are just spam dumps, where everyone goes to write vacuous things about their famous celebrity and profess their undying love for someone they are never going meet, let alone know on a personal level. Well, when it comes to creative types such as authors, most of the time what is updated on their Facebook fan pages is substantial and meaningful. For example, Michael Ondaatje, who was recently nominated for a Booker prize, had substantial gems of information about other authors and his creative journey to the Booker prize nomination, and it was interesting to realize that within just a week of signing up for his fan page, I had amassed knowledge and news about other writers’ works and the buzz in the literary world. Thanks to his page, I was able to get myself some really good pieces from Amazon, which added to my book collection. I kept going back for more, and realized that sometimes, information straight from the horse’s mouth is the best kind of information
there is.

2. Shop on Facebook

Wait, someone can actually do that? Amazingly, yes. Some online bookstores have opened on Facebook, and you can actually browse a selection of books, and shop securely from the site. I think this integration between social media and shopping makes life so much easier, given that you won’t have to log on to another site or two to complete a purchase, while at the same time chatting with a long-lost friend. This enhances the literary savant’s experience and makes the somewhat mundane task of socializing on social media sites a meaningful experience.

3. Use pivotal hash tags on Twitter

Twitter is restrictive yet fluid, given the number of tweets flying from one corner of the earth to another at any given time, and the 140-odd characters that make it a challenge to communicate one’s thoughts clearly. The twitter hash tag phenomenon helps you find other writers, authors, publishing houses and readers so that you can be kept up to date in terms of new publications. The fluidity of Twitter means that whatever is being tweeted about is fresh and new, so it is the place to be for that new mystery novel that a big publishing house just released. Chances are, some followers could even garner free, signed copies of new releases just by requesting a particular publishing house or retweeting the information about the book. Most publishing executives use Twitter, and given their position, are privy to information that may not have hit the press yet, so Twitter makes a perfect platform when it comes to keeping up to date with new releases and announcements from authors, publishers and the like.

These are just some of the few ways in which you can use social media to find out what’s trending and the new offerings from your favorite new artists. This just goes to prove that diamonds can be found in the most unexpected of places, as long as you’re willing to think in creative ways in terms of your literary search.

Musa M is a freelance creative and contributor to Degree Jungle. He lives in Nairobi and is currently working on an Amazon eBook chronicling the life of a busy twenty something year old socialite living in the city, dealing with life, love and all things existential.

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