I wanted to expand a little on my anxious tweets on the #fridayreads kerfuffle yesterday. I've since read a few tweets suggesting that those who were taken aback to find out that some of @thebookmaven's posts were paid promotions are against anyone making money in the book industry, or should have read the #fridayreads FAQ.
Am speaking only for myself here, of course, but:
- I don't mind people making money in books. I am thrilled when people make money in books, especially me, but you too. All of us.
- I love #fridayreads -- it was a splendid idea, deserving of reward. I love hearing what other people are reading and being reminded to get back to my current book. I am happy that hashtag exists.
- I don't think anyone set out to be sneaky or underhanded, at all.
But: transparency on Twitter is not having a FAQ somewhere (though that is a fine thing to have). When business and social interaction meet, you have to be transparent in every interaction.
Scenario 1: I go to a party and meet someone there who explains they've been hired to pitch a new tequila at this party. They offer me some. We have a pleasant conversation and find out we have lots in common! Plus: the tequila is killer.
Scenario 2: I go to a party and have a pleasant conversation--turns out we have a lot in common! We talk about our love for tequila, and person keeps extolling this particular brand, so I try it. I later find out my new friend is a salesperson hired to pitch the tequila.
First interaction: perfectly lovely and fruitful for me, for salesperson, for the tequila makers. The salesperson and I might actually go on to become friends, if we had so much in common, but even if we don't, 1) I will recall the interaction with pleasure, 2) salesperson has made money, and 3) I have found a great new tequila!
Second interaction: unsettling, distressing, and bad for the tequila makers, whose product I will now regard with suspicion, whether I liked it or not. I feel betrayed when you knew it was a business transaction, and I didn't; when I thought we were having a pleasant conversation, and you were trying to sell me something.
Again: nothing whatsoever wrong with trying to sell me something, and I may well be interested. But it's 100% on the seller to be clear that that's what's happening, or the whole thing falls apart.
Twitter is a big messy social gathering, which is lovely. Lots of people are also doing business there, and that is also lovely. But mixing those two is only going to work if everyone is clear in every interaction which one is happening.
To reiterate: I don't think @thebookmaven meant to deceive, at all, and her #fridayreads is a lovely and worthwhile thing. But I'd be so much more comfortable if every #paidpromo were hashtagged as a #paidpromo, or as something more clever than that, but just as clear.
That's all I meant. I'm just not good yet at getting it all into 140 characters.