Anne Trubek - SF Gate October, 30, 2013
When I go to my office in the morning, I can talk with the editor of the Washington Post Book Review section about what he is reading, with author Gary Shteyngart about a review of Zadie Smith's novel or to the president of the Modern Language Association about the state of the humanities.
But when I leave my office - logging off Twitter and going out the back door of my house - I can walk my dog up my leafy street and talk with baristas about the Browns, but rarely do I interact with book-review editors, novelists or literary critics. I live in Cleveland, a city that supports few such full-time jobs.
Twitter has offered me an intellectual community I otherwise lack. It cuts the distance, both geographic and hierarchical. Not only can I talk with people in other places, but I can engage with people in different career stages as well. A sharp insight posted on Twitter is read, and RT'd (retweeted), with less regard for the tweeter's resume (or gender or race) than it might be if uttered at, say, a networking event. Social media is a hedge against the white-shoe, old-boys' networks of publishing. It is a democratizing force in the literary world.
I credit Twitter with indirectly and directly allowing me to change careers from academic to freelance writer, to garner book contracts and to launch a new magazine. Plus, it has introduced to me colleagues with whom I practice what broadcast journalist Robert Krulwich calls "horizontal loyalty," or aiding others in similar career stages. Without social media, my ideas would have likely been smaller murmurs, my career more constricted and my colleagues fewer.