Monday, July 17, 2017

Tips and Tricks - What about reading sprints?


This week's tips and tricks are a slight departure from what we normally talk about.

Reading sprints

We get asked about those A LOT.

Officially, Bout of Books doesn't host any reading sprints, BUT participants are more than welcome to put together an impromptu sprint using the #boutofbooks hashtag.

How do you do this?

Throw out a quick tweet on the #boutofbooks hashtag asking if anyone is interested in a sprint. Don't get any responses? Don't despair! Sometimes people see the tweets after the fact, but still end up joining in. Set a time you'll check back in and sit down and read. When time's up, come back and let everyone know how you did.

(Incidentally, for the writers out there, this is a good way to do writing sprints as well.)

Doing multiple sprints in a row -- for example, three fifteen minute sprints with a few minutes downtime between each -- gives other Bout of Books-ers a chance to see the tweets, clear their schedule, and join in.

Obviously, there are other ways sprints can be done. If you have a tried and true strategy that's worked for you, let us know!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tips and Tricks - Using the hashtag vs using the handle


Today's topic is one that's near and dear to our hearts...

Twitter hashtag vs handle

Let's start by taking a look at what each of them do.

The #boutofbooks hashtag

Essentially, the hashtag acts as a search function. ANYONE can follow the hashtag and see any tweet tagged under it without following the individual person tweeting. Considering how many people participate in Bout of Books, this means you don't have to waste time following several hundred people just so you know what's going on.

Seriously, which would you rather do: Take an hour or two to hunt down everyone's handle so you can follow them all or just tap into that magical hashtag and see what's what in the Bout of Books world?

I'd rather spend that hour or two reading, so I'm going to go with the hashtag option.

The @boutofbooks handle

The handle directly connects you with us. As in, me and Amanda. Us. The people behind the read-a-thon.

We do enjoy interacting with everyone, but...we strongly encourage using the hashtag vs the handle for several reasons.

Reason 1:

If you start your tweets with @boutofbooks, only your followers who already follow @boutofbooks will see them. Adding #boutofbooks instead lets all your followers PLUS anyone following the hashtag see it.

You know, it's the old "You tell one friend and your friend tells one friend and then your neighbor tells one friend and suddenly everybody's talking about #boutofbooks!"

(What? I'm 100% certain that's how the saying goes!)

This is one of the key ways we get the word out about Bout of Books. Without people hashtagging and talking about the read-a-thon, we wouldn't have any participants. And if we have no participants, what's the point?

Reason 2:

If you use the @boutofbooks handle in your tweets, our notifications start to look like we're throwing a no-parents-home-for-the-weekend house party. Which sounds fun, in theory, but quickly becomes overwhelming.

Especially when we're trying to sort through them to see if we have any questions that need to be answered.

So take pity on your hosts and hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Save the @-ing for chats or if you have any burning questions you need answered.

Hey, guys. You might have heard this before but... YOU GOT THIS!