Lesléa Newman admits that she is happier writing than not writing, even when the work isn’t going well.
“I think the reason I still love writing and being a writer is that I’m really in love with language,” writes Newman, , the award-winning author of more than sixty books, including A Letter to Harvey Milk, Nobody's Mother, Hachiko Waits, Write from the Heart, The Boy Who Cried Fabulous, The
By now, many of you have probably already heard the story the Twitterverse has dubbed #amazonfail - the revelation that Amazon.com has stripped sales rankings and searchability from titles it deems “adult.” Consider it the safesearch of the online shopping world. This might be a mere annoyance–most of us prefer to determine for ourselves the parameters of our searches–but many authors and bloggers contend that the stripped titles are overwhelmingly those that cover sexuality, feminism, and LGBTQ themes, with or without content that could be considered “explicit.”
[You can read more about the stripped titles, and why we should even care about rankings and searchability, all over the internets--but you might want to start with Mark R. Probst, Meta Writer, and Jezebel. Oh, and you can watch #amazonfail unfold by following that hashtag in action--if you hop on over to Twitter Search, you'll see that #amazonfail and #amazon are among the top trends at the moment.]
There are very real consequences here for us as young adult librarians–many of the titles being deemed “adult” are actually YA or children’s titles, like Rainbow Boys and Heather Has Two Mommies–but that’s not actually what I want to discuss now.
Anyone with a vested interest in social movements must be using Twitter.
Must. Not should, not could–must.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen stories and movements gain massive momentum by using Twitter. Marriage equality in Iowa and Vermont? Found out via Twitter. Earthquake in Italy? Tweeted. Warnings about viruses and scammers? All over Twitter.
While I’ve been writing this, I have tabs open for #amazonfail and #amazon, and just in the past few minutes over 200 updates have been added for each. Can you imagine if we tapped that same momentum for libraries?
I don’t want this to be another idealistic, vague post, so here are some concrete suggestions:
1. Join Twitter. This one’s sort of a no-brainer for me, but I know plenty of people still don’t see the value. Start out small. Join and just follow me, if you’d like, though I have to warn you I tweet a lot, and sometimes about my cats. (I’m mkeagle on Twitter.)
2. Retweet. See something you like? Pass it on. Make sure you make note of where you saw it–I prefer using my own words and “via @username,” but some folks just copy and paste with RT at the beginning.
3. Use hashtags. I usually don’t know a tag’s even in use until I see someone using it. If you’re going to tweet (or retweet) on the same topic, grab that hashtag. Or you can make your own–that’s what many of us at Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) did two weeks ago, using the general #wam09 tag as well as more specific tags for individual sessions. Hashtagging means you can quickly see the big picture. (If your updates are protected, however, even hashtagged tweets won’t show up in Twitter Search. But your followers will still see the tags.)
4. Cross platform lines. When I put up a new blog post, I immediately tweet it. Many Twitter users send their updates to Facebook. Major media outlets are starting to include tweets in their coverage–which makes sense, since stories are beginning to break through Twitter. You exponentially increase visibility for a cause when you start sharing it over multiple platforms.
5. Tweet about what’s important to you. Movements like #amazonfail pick up momentum because people care. It’s thrilling that so many folks out there are passionate about books and equal access, but I’d be even more thrilled if we could channel that passion into even more causes that need our help. I’m talking about library funding, education, youth advocacy.
Will you be part of the next big Twitter trend?
Author/poet Lesléa Newman, author of the groundbreaking book Heather Has Two Mommies, talks to Mark about seeing in words (not images), writing for adults and children, and treasures in our brains.
Book by Lesléa Newman you may have seen…
Lest we forget that book banning and free speech issues are conversational topics appropriate beyond the brackets of Banned Books Week, a recent news item has me lost for words. A federal appeals court has ruled, and this is true, that an Ohio high school teacher “has no First Amendment right to make assignments about book-banning or to select particular books for her students.” Come again? Well apparently a teacher decided to do an assignment on banned books with her class (of high school students, recall). So they each picked a book that had been banned. . . and then their parents found out. So because she was distributing racy literature like, oh say, Heather Has Two Mommies, the teacher’s contract was not renewed and she lost her appeal. You may read more about the case here. Thanks to Leslea Newman for the links.
- Now that’s interesting. I had not heard that Jacqueline Woodson’s novel Locomotion had been turned into a stage play. Once in a while a book to theater adaptation just makes perfect sense. This is one of those cases. I suppose verse novels make excellent adaptations. Huh! Food for thought.
- Funniest dang thing I’ve seen all day. Bar none.
- Feeling the absence of my Top 100 Novels poll results? Well, much of my information came from Anita Silvey. Now Anita turns it all around by starting a blog of her own. Called Book-A-Day Almanac, the premise is that she will recommend a children’s book every day for a year. At the end of the year, she’ll then turn those posts into a book. Shoot. That’s a good idea. Clearly I’ve got to get around to turning my own polls into books. Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.