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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

Armchair BEA Discussion: The Blogger and the Microblogger

Welcome to the second day of Armchair BEA! This four-day event is organized to coincide with the BookExpo America that is in full swing in NY. Those of us unlucky enough not to be in the most happening place this week are instead going to be a part of BEA from the cozy comforts of our home. (I know it's not much, but at least one can claim that feeling of participation!). Today, for my second post for the Armchair BEA, I'm going to analyze one of the biggest phenomena we noticed yesterday.

If you are like me, you must have stayed glued to your Twitter platform yesterday, following the #BEA10 and the #ArmchairBEA tweets. I was hoping to find out what was happening at BEA, while I wrote my thesis in parallel. What I didn't count on was that I would end up focusing almost entirely on the BEA tweets, while not getting even an iota of my work done!

Did you know that Amazon is on its way to be a full-fledged publisher within 6 months? You knew?

Did you know that the Kindle is the second most popular ereading device? (The good old computer is the first) Oh, you already knew that!

Err... so you have been on Twitter yesterday following the most-happening bookish tags? I knew I was not the only one!

Social media is all about well, social networking to me. I am still trying to see Facebook as more than a place to connect with friends. With all its sweet little annoying features, I find it hard to even envision it as a place to be professional. Ning, is an alternative to Facebook, with its many groups and networks, each dedicated to a specific purpose. But I've found the conversation in Ning to be one-sided at best. Occasionally, there are some great discussion topics set up, but on the whole, Ning needs to spruce up on the social level. On that count, Facebook is definitely more social.

But Twitter is going places in the book industry. Who thought that a 160 character piece of text can hold so much information, can convey as much news as a whole blog post can? By the time I read the online updates on the CEO panel, The Value of a Book, I had already heard (thanks to the tweets) and re-heard (thanks to the retweets) all the arguments. Yesterday's talk on social media focused on how authors and publishers can use it for their purpose. Let us discuss about how we can use social media for our blogs. Who doesn't like publicity? I'm sure we all have bright visions of our blog going places.

Twitter is a fine place to build followers. When people sign up for a twitter account, they accept that they will not be able to read every tweet that is burped out each day by the people they follow. Firstly, tweet as much as possible, but do not tweet too much, unless you are reporting from the most happening place on earth. This is quite relative, so you can only use your instinct here. You need to create a vivid online presence, not force it on others.

Whichever media you use to network your blog, make your micro-posts interesting enough. How do you do that, considering that most of us have our blog feeds connected to our social media accounts? Two suggestions - either make your post titles intriguing enough, or tweet about your most important blog posts again, but this time with an interesting premise.

Trust me, both are easy once you get the hang of what you want to publicize.When looking for a catchy phrase to use to promote your post, look at what you think is the interesting aspect of your post. Don't just focus on getting more followers or comments. Both will come if you go about it the right way - and that is, focus on the content. Considering that you can't write an entire paragraph to popularize your post, something short, maybe sweet, maybe not, can be quirky, definitely mysterious or intriguing is the way to go. It should be enticing the reader, pulling him/her in; you shouldn't be giving the full information, yet you should give enough for your followers to click on the link.

Finally, shorten your URLs! This is not very important, but believe me, some of those URLs are so long that they limit what you can type. Some of the popular ones are,, and TinyURL. That way, you get more space for yourself to write whatever you wish. Gotta love URL shorteners!

How do you make your voice known in social media?


pussreboots said…
I love how Tweetdeck automatically shortens URLs. Happy Armchair BEA.
Molly said…
I still don't quite have the hang of twitter. It seems I either spend way too much time on there reading all the tweets (many of which I am not interested in pursuing), or I just give up for weeks at a time.

I need to persevere as I know I am missing out on lots of great book talk!
Tales of Whimsy said…
Awesome advice!

Thanks for sharing what you learned about Amazon. That's WAY cool :)
Valerie said…
I just joined twitter a couple months ago, and still am learning my way around there! It's fun but hard to keep up with sometimes :-) .
Ash said…
I do a lot of social networking with my blog. I use Twitter and Facebook and a few other things, but I find that the most hits I get are just from word of mouth. Still, I think it's important to social network as a blogger because as a blogger you almost need to create a presence for people to remember you. If that makes sense?
KIKA said…
My goodness, love this post! Thanks for the advice. I know I'm kind of weird, I just took the plunge and got a twitter---and believe you me it was a big plunge for me, Being everywhere on the internet is kind of a scary thing for me. Love the post!
Athira said…
pussreboots, I LOVE that feature too!

Molly, I used to read all the tweets when I started out too. Can you imagine the sheer number of tweets! Uff! Now though I am more disciplined, I guess it takes time and a little frustration to get there.

Juju, you are welcome! The Amazon bit shocked me too, though it is to be expected.

Valerie, I guess I joined around the same time, and only am now getting the hang of things. :)

Ash, word of mouth is the MOST important one for sure! I think social networking is just an extension of that concept, where the feeds are your word of mouth.

Kika, that's not weird! I did the same thing. :) Also, you are welcome!
Martha Eskuchen said…
One thing I have really liked learning from using Twitter is to pare down my comments and sentences. I used to write reviews of about 380 - 400 words. Now I have learned to get them shorter. Make the point with fewer words.
Florinda said…
I have an ambivalent relationship with Twitter, to be honest, and I blame it (and Facebook) for the fact that some of my favorite bloggers rarely post any more. But you've emphasized the ways in which is can work with, not take away from, blogging, and that's valuable. Thanks!
Lisa said…
You've been a wealthy of information--I had no idea how to do those tiny URLs! How embarrassing--I didn't even know you could do them yourself. I just thought I was missing a step that forced the link to shorten. Duh!
Tif Sweeney said…
I really need to check out how to shorten my URLs. I keep meaning to figure it out and in the meantime, my long ones will be annoying and not allow me to post as much! Thanks!
Lots of good info here, Aths...I do have my blogs networked on Facebook, and its set up to tweet from the blogs after they're posted. I think they automatically shorten the URL, too.