So yes, like a total dork I took notes at all of the panels I attended at the Festival of Books. This is because I am so not an auditory learner, and I tend to forget things as soon as I hear them. So over the next few days I will be sharing all of my (somewhat disjointed) notes from the various panels.
First up, the Social Media panel. This was the first panel I attended on Saturday morning. Moderated by Andrew Nystrom, from the LA Times, this panel consisted of Wil Wheaton (of Star Trek fame, and who is evidently one of the hottest things on Twitter…since I’m a total rube, I was clueless not only of his fame but even of his existence), Otis Chandler (founder of Goodreads) and Sara Wolfe (dance columnist for the LA Times and a really good example of the stereotypical ditsy artsy persona).
Given the topic, there was a big push to tweet during this panel. Unfortunately, I had no internet connection, so no tweets from me. Which is okay, because I’m a lousy multitasker, anyway.
Otis Chandler started off by stating that reading is broken. He said when it comes to reading your ideas are locked in, not shared. Goodreads tries to change that…he sees it as the equivalent of discussing American Idol at work the next day. He wants to create social peer pressure to read.
Wil Wheaton responded to the idea that social media contributes to dumbing down and short attention spans. He sees Twitter as a communication tool…it’s like instant messaging, but you choose what you want to read and respond to and link to. He uses social networking and self-publishing to reach more people. He also mentioned that he heard Twitter grew by 90% in March.
Sara Wolfe talked about Facebook and how she uses it to connect to the dance community. She also talked about constellations and constellating and how she really didn’t understand Twitter…at which point I’m afraid I tuned her out. Oh…except at one point she mentioned her colleague who gives tests on Twitter. Huh? Her predilection for the word constellation in various real and made up forms was too distracting. In fact, she sent our group into giggles at one point. She also talked about the dance community and dropped names as if we all knew what she was talking about. Which we didn’t. If we could have voted her off the island, she would’ve been gone.
Wil Wheaton mentioned that it is important to remember that what you put online is there “until the lights go off on Planet Earth.” I thought this was an excellent point.
Otis Chandler said he started blogging to remember what he had read, which I so identify with. He went on to say that unlike watching a movie, reading is a commitment. He sees Goodreads as an addition to social media. With the “what page are you on” feature, you can share thoughts about a particular part of a book. Wil added that as an author, he likes this feature, because then he can see what pages people are talking about in his books. You no longer have to be in the same room with someone to have a connection and share your thoughts.
Andrew Nystrom stated that it is important to listen to others on social media and remember that it is not all about you. Wil added that the users own social media, not the marketers. The people who ruin it will show up sooner or later, so it’s up to the users to block or not follow or report spam.
I really enjoyed this panel. I especially liked listening to Otis Chandler share his thoughts on Goodreads, since I use it (sporadically). Wil Wheaton was also quite entertaining; I can see why he is such a popular figure. Like I said earlier, if we could have just voted Sara Wolfe off of the island, it would have been even better.
For other notes and thoughts on this panel, check out the posts from my fellow attendees: