Well, I've been asked if I'd moderate the Social Media Session at the Emirates Festival of Literature next week and I obviously frowned, said I'd think it over and then screamed 'Yes!' one second later, clamped to their right arm like a strychnine-poisoned pitbull wired to the mains.
It's a public session and is open with no registration or ticket requirement and I think it's going to generate not only a great deal of interest but also a lively and interesting debate.
The permalink to the information page on the session is linked here. And you can follow the Festival's rather sound Twitter feed at @EmiratesLitFest.
Why so interested? Well, there is my genuine interest in the topic from a professional point of view for a start, I do, after all, work for an agency that's very wired up with all this social media stuff. But this one's personal, too. As many of you know I have a nasty book writing habit and I will gladly use and abuse any route that could get me near any of the very lovely and charming gatekeepers I can hornswoggle into giving some of my work their consideration. Added to that, having stayed in touch with a number of writer friends since the whole Harper Collins' authonomy thing (using, in many cases, social media!), this whole area has been one where we have enjoyed extensive debate - and which offers a future of opportunity and fear in seemingly equal measures.
I have been fascinated by the role of the Internet in authorship and publishing ever since that involvement with Authonomy. I believe that social media is inextricably tied in to the future of publishing and that innovations such as the iPad are game-changers that are inextricably tied into social media.
There are a number of opinions about the way that publishing is evolving. Some of the more aggressive proponents (Dan Holloway's views, linked here, are always fascinating) of social media see it as a platform that has the potential to disintermediate publishing houses and put control back into the hands of authors.
Publishing houses are trying to find ways to use social media and the Internet that compliment their more traditional marketing machines, one reason why we had authonomy at all, but they are becoming fearful (and rightly so) about where the control is going to reside in the new distribution models that are starting to look not only possible but likely.
Meanwhile, authors are finding that they are gaining more control from their use of social media - more connection to their audiences, more direct relationship with readers and a marketing powerhouse that's in their hands and not at the whim of the publisher's disinterested publicist. Golly, people are even using social media to open bookshops these days!
All of this and more is going to get poured into that session and I think we're going to have a real roller-coaster ride with it. Always so much more fun than a sedate stroll around the park, no?