For whatever reason, Edmonton has had an incredibly lively and interactive Twitter community for years, and on any given day you’ll see a ton of activity on the hashtag for the city, #yeg (which is also our airport code), and the various sub-hashtags that #yeg spawned. (#yegfood talks about restaurants and farmers markets and such, #yegwx is for Edmonton weather—you name it, we’ve probably got a yeg hashtag for it.)
As a result, there’s a vibrant real-world component to Twitter here that I’m not sure exists on the same scale elsewhere. I’ve gone to all sorts of events that have been organized on Twitter, but earlier this week, I went to what might have been the coolest one.
The hashtag was #yegbookswap, and it involved people picking out three books: one they loved as a child, one they loved as a young adult, and one they loved as an adult. We all found copies of our three picks (used books encouraged), and brought them to the get-together. Everyone would then go home with three new books that someone else loved at some point in their lives.
It was really, really awesome. A bunch of my friends came with me, and I met a ton of other bookishly inclined folks in Edmonton. We were there for close to four hours, and it was just people talking about books, being excited about reading, and generally being super fun. Everyone wrote a little card to put in their book explaining why they picked it, and we had some group conversations about what we did (and didn’t!) bring, and why. Then we hung out and mingled for hours, talking almost entirely about books.
Part of the reason NaNoWriMo has been so successful is the community it has created around something that’s usually a solitary pursuit, and this had a very similar vibe to it. Reading is usually a solo adventure, and it’s immensely satisfying to get together with other like-minded folks and just talk about the thing you love.
Things like this are one of the many reasons I love Twitter. You hear people lamenting that social media is making us less social in person, but in my world that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve tried things, eaten food, gone places, and met people I never would have without Twitter and other social media. For me, the internet isn’t replacing the real world, it’s enhancing it.
What have your experiences with mixing the internet and the real world been like? And what would your three books—books you loved as a child, young adult, and adult—be? Mine were Ramona Quimby, Age 8; Jacob Have I Loved; and The Night Circus.
(The three books I came home with are pictured here—I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, but not in nearly 20 years, so I thought I should reread it.)