Pushy Wonders…About Reader Etiquette in the Digital Age

Posted 21 April, 2011 by Danny in / 28 Comments

Hello, dear reader!


For a while now I’ve been ruminating on an issue,
one that involves the ever shifting realm
of etiquette in the digital age.

You see, ever since I got my Kindle
I have been as delighted as a kid at Christmas
with all the little features it has on it.

One day a few months ago,
I discovered that I could tweet portions of text
that I was reading.

Text that surprised me.
Text that moved me.
Text that made me want to jump up
and share it with the world.

So I did!

I tweeted a couple of things here and there,
mostly tagging the author involved
just to let them know how wowed I was by their work
at that particular moment.

But a funny thought occurred to me not too long after…

What if an author didn’t want their text tweeted to the masses?

I mean, how would you prevent someone from tweeting spoilers?

Side note, I know we’ve all seen book spoilers when
a fantastic new book, especially one in a series, comes out,
but a spoiler is one thing and a whole section of text is another.

What if someone didn’t even realize
what they were tweeting was a spoiler?

Full disclosure, I am that sort of person
who is so spoiler impaired that I sometimes don’t realize
not everyone is like me and
wants to know the juiciest bits immediately and
therefore have made this sort of error in the past.


Does judicious tweeting of passages
generate excitement on the web?

Is it a tool that bloggers can use to show their followers
specifically what they mean when they talk about
loving a particular book?

Can’t one’s followers judge for themselves whether or not
they want to read the text?

I just can’t decide!

And that’s where you come in, dear reader!

Since you were all so amazingly helpful
when I wanted to branch out into Steampunk,
I thought you lovely, intelligent, sophisticated folks could help me out!

So I’d love to hear what you think!

If you’re a blogger, do you ever tweet text segments?
Why or why not?

If you’re an author, how do you feel about your
work being shared in this fashion?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

Then go and get lost…in a book!
Tweeting optional. *grin*

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Obsessive Reader by Night - Scientist at Day! You can also find me on goodreads. I'd love to get to know you so, don't be shy and say Hello!

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28 Responses to “Pushy Wonders…About Reader Etiquette in the Digital Age”

  1. This is a tough one, Pushy. I don't tweet text and the only time that I post any text is when I participate in teaser Tuesdays. The thing is… that information is copyrighted. Odds are that most authors/publishers/etc won't mind us posting tiny tidbits, but if they wanted to, they could throw a fit and get us into trouble for it. Most of them are fabulous and never would, but I guess I'm just chicken. lol I'll still do my Teaser Tuesdays since there are never any spoilers involved and it's only a couple of sentences, but I probably won't share anything more than that.
    My recent post BBP ends and Im sad- but energized

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  2. ahfromgoodreads

    I don't tweet at all, but I am on Goodreads and I do review books on Goodreads. A group of us do post status updates on a regular basis. Sometimes they are our thoughts and feelings while reading – for example – "Oh No! Susie, why did you do that?" or "Johnny is so hawt!" Other times, I may post text or dialogue from the book. We do this to start a discussion on the book itself. I do enjoy a lot of peoples' regular updates and there are times when another book will land on Mt. TBR because of the status updates alone.

    It's hard to do this with books that are in a series because no matter what you do, you will eventually post a spoiler if you are not careful. I also avoid this with ARCs unless there is something really entertaining or unusual about the book.

    My biggest beefs are with reviews that are not reviews – they are a recap of the entire book, complete with spoilers. Those drive me crazy. It's especially evident with the YA books, especially a long awaited book, like Last Sacrifice, for example. Most of those reviews just spoiled the book for me right away – "I can't believe she's with <spoiler>!

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  3. I enjoy teasers and I think I'd enjoy seeing them on twitter (I love teaser tuesdays!), but it's very important that they aren't spoilers. So as long as you KNOW that there's no spoilers then I think it's good. Like if there's a particularly beautiful passage then it's nice to share it, and it's nice for us to see the writers style.
    My recent post Teaser Tuesday 21

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  4. First off, I had no idea you could do this. I have a Nook Color and as far as I know this isn't doable – however with some complicated button pushing I can screen shot things and that might be just as bad…

    On one hand I don't see how this is any different then someone typing out a part of a book HOWEVER, this allows for people to too easily (for my taste) to share too much of the book and thus be a bit of a copyright issue then. But then back to the other side, it would take a lot of time on the part of the tweeter to post a whole book…and I doubt anyone might really do that.

    I am not a spoiler person, and I avoid them. I find that if they announce what they are tweeting I will avoid it.

    This was a great post!
    My recent post Blogger Babble The Dreaded Required Follow Poll

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  5. Ha, I like that "Pushy Wonders" logo a lot πŸ™‚

    I think writers would rather have you tweeting about their books than NOT tweeting about them, so if this is a way to share something you like about a book, I'd say it's a positive thing, from the author's perspective. I think it might hard to actually give away enough to spoil anything, if it's just a few lines out of context.
    My recent post Tommy Nightmare paperbacks are out- with a great cover by Phatpuppy Art

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  6. cutie

    Personally, I try to keep all my reviews spoiler free and I don't tweet text. I do sometimes updated my reading statuses on Goodreads with a quote, but normally they are just tidbits that struck me as awesome MUST be shared words of wisdom or swoon worthy. Having said that, I love quotes like I love me some blueberry pie (that's a loooot). I really can't pass them up. I have been known to waste an hour or so just reading quotes on brainy quotes and Goodreads. =)

    And, while I agree that one should be careful when sharing quotes due to copyright laws, in all honesty, I would assume most authors would like that their words were being shared and circulated. It's good publicity. And I agree with Mr. Bryan, it's not like you can give away all that much on Twitter. You're just sharing your excitement!

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  7. Im torn.
    I don't do it, and as a reader who likes to be suprised Im not sure I want to see bits of a book I want to read tweeted out
    there throughout the day in cyberspace, but if I were an author I think I'd be excited to see it, excited to know someone was moved by my work so much…
    Im no help I know… sorry.

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  8. Awesome question! For someone Tweeting a line or two of text from PARTY, I say have at it. As long as it's in a positive, glowing, you-must-buy-this-book kind of way.

    Okay, kidding. Seriously, I have no issue with this. I *do* have issue with the post I found on a gaming website (!) of someone asking where they could find a "free download" of my novel. How about…your library? Many libraries are now carrying e-versions of books, why not check into that before surfing around for a pirate copy? I have to be opposed to piracy. But then I'm in favor of artists of all kinds offering freebies, too. I've posted short stories on my website, and hope to post a "bonus chapter" of PARTY soon, for example. But the purpose is to drive interest. A reader tweeting about me or about the book can only be a good thing.

    That's my two cents!
    ~ Tom

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  9. Hey, AH!! You bring up a bunch of good points and thank you for talking about the chatter that goes on over at Goodreads. I'm not particularly active with my Goodreads statuses but I could see how that could be even more detrimental with that being solely a venue for book related content.

    As for reviews, I think all reviewers should (and on the whole most do) warn about spoilerish content. It can be super hard to write a review, especially of a highly anticipated release in a series, that is non-spoilery but then again, that's part of the challenge of being a book reviewer.

    Thanks for stopping by with your thoughts! *hugs*
    My recent post Pushy WondersAbout Reader Etiquette in the Digital Age

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  10. Thanks, Tom! And And all joking aside, I personally disagree with tweeting a section of text to talk about how much you hate it. I think that sort of public shaming is in poor taste. But I"m glad to hear that authors enjoy hearing about our excitement about certain passages, so long as everything is properly attributed and politely broached.

    As for pirated copies of books….that's a whole other issue that I don't even want to delve into, but I can see how that would fry you as an author. I'm fortunate to live in an area wit an AMAZING library system, so that' hasn't been much of an issue for me. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for adding your thoughts!
    My recent post Pushy WondersAbout Reader Etiquette in the Digital Age

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  11. Interesting topic!

    No, I don't tweet lines in a book because… well, mostly I don't tweet. LOL. I have an account, but I have yet to really use it.

    I don't mind people posting quotes. I have to be honest and say that I don't really ever read them, though. I usually ignore those types of things because I can't stand spoilers. Spoilers are one of my biggest pet peeves in life!

    I don't have a problem with people doing it, as long as it doesn't give any of the story away. I'd probably stop following someone if they gave away the plot or anything. Pretty quotes are nice to read though!

    Now I need to go back and read all of the comments. πŸ™‚

    Jennifer of Little Shelf

    My recent post Cover Reveal- Black Heart- by Holly Black

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  12. Shiku

    That's a question I never thought about … well, maybe because I don't tweet any passages. When I'm reading I'm normally somewhere at Uni and have no possibility to tweet. Actually, I make notes in my Moleskine then, but still I keep them for me as they are passages I personally care about and normally they don't say much about the book itself. (Okay, the writing style…) I just tweet if I really adore a book; but the actual passages can only find their way into my reviews. Sometimes.

    Still I think it's okay to tweet such passages. I mean – some people don't like reading them, but nobody forces them to read those tweets. As long as you mark them as a quote they can see what it is – and skip it.
    But others may enjoy reading it, so why not?
    I guess as an author you'd enjoy that, too, as long it ist a short passage and not an excerpt of, like, two pages. (Quite impossible with Twitter, I know.) After all, it's not just a happy reader you now know about, but advertisment. And who doesn't like that? πŸ™‚ (I don't mean that in an insulting way!)
    And if an author doesn't feel cofortable with you tweeting passges from his/her book, he/she can tell you, can't he/she? The tweets could be deleted and no more passages would be tweeted (from this book). Nearly no harm done.

    Maybe I'm too … uncritical, but as long as you are fascinated/delighted by a text and share this with the world, I don't see why it should be a bad thing.

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