Earlier this year I joined Twitter. One of my first followers (a friend) welcomed me to the site and dropped #twitteramateur into her tweet. I barely noticed, being the novice I was. Fast-forward a few months, and most of my tweets carry a liberal sprinkling of hashtags - all in the hope of picking up a few more followers.
Why? Because I read somewhere that using Twitter was a good way to build up readership for a new novel. My own interest in Twitter, however, has gone beyond shameless self-publicity. In the process of exploiting it, I came to see why millions were hooked. Those hashtags became my calling cards - they linked me up with like-minded people.
I realise of course that I am no early-adopter, but by the same token there are still many people out there who don't yet understand Twitter or its influence.
In the last few weeks, Twitter has led me to all sorts of gems: Hilary Mantel's sumptous description of a Kate Moss perfume, the story of a teenage mother, Queen Victoria's letters about childbirth and Eton's self-conscious parody of Gangnam Style.
Twitter is a unique conduit: it delivers a wealth of material handpicked by the people you choose to follow. In a sense, it becomes a personalised newswire.
There are still a few tedious tweets to wade through and a fair amount of celebrity eavesdropping - but if you are discriminating, it is amazing what you can uncover. Perhaps, however, I don't need to tell you that - you probably knew already.
Emma Clark Lam is the author of A Sister for Margot
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