Trillian is one of the few programs I have constantly running on my computer. Partly because it allows me to keep most of my IMing in one program (I got sick of the ‘what is beeping what the hell is beeping oh wow I have no idea what’s beeping, guess I’m not talking to anyone’ dance), but also because it is a great way to passively follow Twitter.

If any of you follow me on Twitter, you know that I do not engage a whole lot there. I post things! Every few days or so. I have occasional, usually short conversations with friends like Kim Nayyer and Suzanne. A large part of that is that most of my writing support system is to be had over more private channels, like a forum or IMs. I find it easy to forget that social media and getting a bunch of people to read your writing involves things like making sure people know you exist.

Even so, I follow a few hashtags. Hashtags, for anyone who has been assiduously avoiding Twitter for the last few years, are ways to mark that a tweet is about a certain topic. Sometimes hashtags will trend, becoming popular with a large number of people for a while. Right now, a trending hashtag is #removeoneletterfilms. The hashtags that I regularly follow are #yyj, for events and news in Victoria, #myWANA, for the author support network Kristen Lamb started, and #amwriting, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Both of the latter I follow at least in part to see emergent memes in the kind of indie writer culture that uses hashtags on Twitter, because they are sometimes also memes I will see at least partly reflected in news articles or brought up at meetings of the Victoria Writers’ Society.

With Trillian, any tweets that include those hashtags pop up in the bottom right part of my screen. I can glance over and read and glance back and then it fades away. If I feel it necessary, I can reply to or retweet the tweet in question without ever switching tabs.

The curious thing about hashtags like myWANA and amwriting is that I see some people using them to market their books.

This is interesting to me, because yes, of course, writers read, but these hashtags seem to be only peopled by writers. I’d think that marketing could be more effectively directed at readers who are not already writers themselves: your writing support network probably already knows all about your book.

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