I’ll buy your book – a failed Twitter experiment

On Saturday I tried an experiment to see what sort of impact Twitter has in terms of audience reach. I was browsing the shelves at my local Barnes & Noble and feeling indecisive so I tweeted out:

[Okay, I’m standing at the bookstore right now. Next author who messages me (and I can find your book here), I will buy. 1:50 PM – 2 Feb 13]

I immediately got a response and excitedly checked to see who it was. Damn, spambot. After 20 minutes of milling around, sampling a few different books I tweeted:

[Ok, authors, even if they don’t have your book here I’ll have them order it. Message me the title and I’ll buy it now. 2:10 PM – 2 Feb 13]

[Okay, </author-experiment> with no takers. Guess Saturday afternoon is a bad time for twitter use. 2:34 PM – 2 Feb 13]

What did I learn (other than that I say “okay” too much)? I think I was right, Saturday afternoon is a bad time to try to tap into the collective of people who follow you on any social network. But it also made me reassess how many people read tweets in general versus using it as a promotional tool.

And I’ve still received zero responses to those tweets. I think this is more of an issue of sheer volume of tweets drowning out the signal, frankly. It’s one of the challenges of Twitter… if people aren’t looking for your message, they won’t see it. And they’ll very rarely swim upstream against the flow of progressively older tweets to see what they’ve missed.

By the way, from now until the end of this month, if any author comments below with their book title I’ll still buy it.