Regardless of what the press says about Twitter (which at the moment seems to be either colossal waste of time or tool of the revolution), for me it represents a high-speed, entertaining and useful stream of real-time information. Currently Twitter is my portal to the rest of the internet. Twitter is all about who you follow; you can make use of it without ever tweeting yourself. If you follow people who tweet usefully on subjects you care about, then youve got it made. If you are interested in the future of literature and the future of the book, then there are people out there in the twitterstream that you should be following. Start by following me (!) @katepullinger and Chris Meade @ifbook and see where that leads you. Writers who are great tweeters include William Gibson @GreatDismal and Margaret Atwood @MargaretAtwood. For laughs I follow @sexyexecutive who last week was tweeting about the Manual Club he belongs to for people who like to read manuals.
Sorry to bang on about this, but downloading the Tweetdeck onto your computer or phone makes managing and organising Twitter much, much easier.
3. Book Futures the blog of if:book London
if:book London is the UK off-shoot of the Institute of the Future of the Book. Run by Chris Meade (who used to run Booktrust), its all about looking at and thinking about the future of the book and writing. if:book London is involved in digital fiction projects in schools and communities; as well as that they organise regular events in London where all these issues are discussed. Worth signing up to and keeping an eye on.
4. OReilly Tools of Change for Publishing Blog (TOC)
TOC was set up in the 1970s by Tim OReilly to forecast and harness innovation in publishing. TOC has an annual conference in NY where industry boffins talk about the future of the book; Ive never been, but Im hoping to get there in 2011. The TOC blog is an excellent source of information about whats going on at the more innovative end of trade publishing, although of course with a pronounced US bias.
@craigmod is a Tokyo-based designer and publisher; the strapline of his blog reads Come, experiment in publishing with us¸. He writes very well about print books and why we love them, as well as the potential for readers and writers who are interested in technology. His long, elegant blog post Books in the Age of the iPad is a real eye-opener for everyone interested in books, design, and reading.
6. WMD a revision
This is me. Ive just recently had a new website built for myself; its large and incorporates everything that was on my old website, as well as my blog. The site resides in a content management system, so although I didnt build or design it myself, I can update it and fiddle with it endlessly. As part of the new site I have created a dedicated section where I am re-publishing my first novel with accompanying photos and annotations. This book came out twenty years ago and so my revision of it is partly social memoir, partly an act of nostalgia and partly a re-engagement with the person I was then. This online re-edit is a companion piece to two other on-going projects: my digital fiction project Flight Paths, and my new novel, which Ive only started working on recently.
7. Transliteracy Research Group (TRG)
This is an academic research group that I helped set up and run at DMU, where I have a part-time post as Reader in Creative Writing and New Media. Heres our working definition of what transliteracy means: Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.¸ Our blog is where we keep our growing community of academics, artists, writers, and librarians up to date.
Wikipedia is sometimes wrong. However, even a one-year-old print encyclopaedia or reference book will have entries that are already out of date. One of the most useful things about Wikipedia is the list of links to other sites and resources included at the end of every entry, forming a constantly up-dated mini-bibliography. Interesting factoid: the two most hotly contested and heavily edited Wikipedia entries are those on the subjects Israel and Chocolate.
9. Games Brief
Games Brief is a blog written by a group of people who work in the games industry here in the UK. These gamers are interested in story and narrative and how they could be used in games. Recent great posts have included one on a new form of narrative game created for Facebook, Spirit of Adventure, and another on Chatroulette a new platform Im too afraid to look at in case I get sucked in and never write another word in my life. While Im not a gamer myself, I have worked in the games industry as a writer, and I find Games Brief useful. By the way, the games industry needs writers big time.
10. Spirit of Adventure in Facebook
Facebook has proved to be a hugely profitable platform for games; however, until now, these games have all been of the virtual world variety, with people creating and collecting stuff for their virtual farms and their virtual pets. As in the games industry as a whole, story and narrative and the potential for story to draw new players into new types of games have been neglected. Spirit of Adventure is an experiment by the UK games co nDreams to see what happens when you combine compelling story lines with simple games. One disconcerting thing about this Facebook game is that it is aimed at women, and not even young women, but (whisper this please) middle-aged women. Given that most readers of fiction are women and one of the biggest demographics of Facebook is women, I think nDreams could be on to a good thing. Its an interesting experiment not perfect, but you can start with Chapter One by searching for the title in Facebook.
Last but not least, Webyarns is the website of American digital fiction writer Alan Bigelow. If you have no idea what digital fiction is, or might be, you could start here with Alans wonderful, funny stories and see where they leads you.