If it’s one thing that Bout of Books brings up, it’s that many don’t understand the difference between @boutofbooks and #boutofbooks… or more broadly: the difference between a Twitter handle (@) and a Twitter hashtag (#).
And Bout of Books is perhaps more confusing because our handle and hashtag are the same. But a @ on Twitter leads to an actual person. A # is a search. So @-ing someone on Twitter is like picking up the phone and talking to someone. A # is like Googling.
We harp on this difference a lot during Bout of Books. Not because we’re assholes (at least not publicly), but because general updates that use our handle create more work for us*. Running a 700+ person read-a-thon is no small task, and if I can make my life easier by asking people to only use the hashtag unless they want to interact personally with me or Kelly, I will.
*It means I have more tweets to scroll through to locate questions people have asked. With Bout of Books as big as it is, these add up fast.
And that leads me to asking:
When you @ someone on Twitter, do you remember there’s a real person behind the screen who has to read and decide whether to respond to your tweet?
The @ mention on Twitter can be powerful. It gets you attention from your favorite bloggers and authors. It lets you know if people are tweeting about your giveaways or posts.
And it can also be extremely overwhelming.
How conscientious are you of the person behind the Twitter handle?
On Twitter, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of being able to tweet our every thought and having our idols within easy reach. But just like not every thought needs to be voiced, not every tweet needs to mention someone. I’m not saying never mention someone. I’m not saying you’re wrong for mentioning someone.
I am, however, saying that learning about how a social network works and how to use it strategically is to your benefit.
When you use @boutofbooks, Kelly and I see it. When you use #boutofbooks, 700 people see it. Which gets more eyes on your tweet?