Panel Recap: Twitter

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On November 8th, 2017 a group of YPGers gathered at Penguin Random House with Social Media Manager Emily Hughes, editor Esi Sogah, and authors Justina Ireland and Katherine Locke to discuss the pros and cons of Twitter.

The panelists talked about deciding on their brand, and how that brand has changed over time. Esi Sogah’s brand started as Dancing With The Stars. When she started on Twitter, she would only live tweet the show. Over time, her presence and content has evolved. Justina Ireland’s brand, she emphatically stated, is doom. Is it important to have a brand? Perhaps not as important as people say it is, but it does help you become a recognizable entity. Ireland also mentioned that agent and editor Twitter presence is a great way for authors to determine whether or not they want to work a particular editor or agent.

The panelists critiqued Twitter as a company and Twitter’s lack of action when it comes to protecting people. However, they also extolled Twitter’s virtues and said that the platform can be a good way to interact with smart and interesting people. Authors can find great writing communities through Twitter, and pitch events like #DVPit and #PitchWars can be great tools to find agents and editors. However, everyone agreed that a large Twitter following had little to no impact on book sales and that Twitter is not the best platform to connect with readers on. The panelists believe that Instagram is a much better platform for reader connection.

Locke and Ireland also discussed being targeted by bots and Nazis on Twitter. Locke stated that it is much harder to be a person of color on Twitter, and both Ireland and Locke shared methods for keeping themselves safe from harassment. Ireland discussed the importance of getting verified, or having a verified account report harassment. Locke puts her Twitter on private when she goes on vacation and often mutes and blocks people.

The panelists also sprinkled in some helpful hints for publishing professionals who use Twitter: put a disclaimer about your views in your Twitter bio, especially if you discuss your place of employment, utilize the block and mute functions, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

You can follow the panelists on Twitter at: @esisogah @justinaireland @Bibliogato @emilyhughes 

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