I have waxed poetic about my love for Twitter before. Its way of lessening the distance between artists, authors, and other people we admire is my absolute favorite reason for the micro-blogging social network. (A close second place is how it has changed the way I think in my own head. In pithy little statements on life and what's occurring in mine.)
I have squealed in delight when a respected writer or journalist responds to me on Twitter. It's like little brushes with fame, or relative fame, and with people whose work you greatly admire but that you would almost never meet in your entire life. Yet here, on Twitter, it's like they are those living, breathing people, who pass their thoughts along into the Twitter-sphere like the rest of us.
The relationship between authors/writers and social networking is also changing our perception and idea of what exactly makes the writer/artist. And as the title of this post suggests (and the NYT article from which it came), the digital age is transforming the way we understand authorship. I, after all, am also a digital author, this website as my outlet for things that would only otherwise exist in my head or among my friends and family (who can only hear me ramble about some things so many times before tiring, understandably). This blog has changed the way I communicate with everyone around me, and so has Twitter. So it makes sense that it is doing the same thing to professional writers, authors, journalists, artists everywhere, best-sellers or no. Some authors become humorists on Twitter, as it becomes an outlet for personas they didn't have an outlet for elsewhere. The internet is well-known to affect people's actual or perceived personas. The fascinating New York Times article on authors tweeting is well worth your time:
At their best, social media democratize literature and demystify the writing process. As Suzanne Fischer tweets of following her favorite author, “It’s fascinating to learn what an unsettling & emotional process it is for her to write characters into the world.” When that mythic author comes down for a chat, she gets followers.
Some of my favorite people to follow on Twitter:
@patricox / Patrick Cox, reporter for PRI's The World, and creator/host of The World in Words podcast on all things language.
@elizabethlittle / Author Elizabeth Little. She has the best sense of humor. I think we would be excellent real-life friends.
@jenny8lee / Jennifer 8. Lee: Journalist, freelancer, author, Chinese-American. Her real middle name is 8.