Twitter “like any good party you can get pulled into the most extraordinary discussions”: The Press Christchurch Writers Festival

In so many words is a panel discussion on social media and books at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival. It’s on Thursday 30 August 4.30pm at the Literary PleasureDome aka the Geo Dome in Hagley Park.

On the panel are bloggers (and tweeters) Lara Strongman, Moata Tamaira, Will Harvie and me. It’ll be chaired by Graham “Bookman” Beattie and promises to be informative, banterrific and hey it’s FREE!

Panellista Moata Tamaira is a Stuff blogger, librarian and web editor. We also proudly claim her as one of our own alumni (check out her posts on this here blog) .

1. What is the allure of Twitter for you?

Twitter is like somehow getting an invitation to a party filled with the sharpest, sexiest, edgiest people and being able to freely wander around picking up snippets of their conversations. And like any good party you can get pulled into the most extraordinary discussions. Pithiness is the order of the day AND you get all the news (and gossip) before anyone else. True there are some dullards on Twitter too, but it’s very easy to sidle away from them when you find one.

2. Who do you recommend following on Twitter (especially on the literary side)?

One of the first things I did when I joined Twitter was to search out the accounts of people whose work I’ve enjoyed, hence my timeline is a jumble of comedians, writers, journalists, bloggers, arts and culture mavens and naturally, librarians.

It’s hard to pick favourites because they’re all so different but I do have a soft spot for @johnjcampbell (he sometimes tweets in the ad breaks during his own show), Mike Dickison aka @adzebill is always good value, and though different timezones keep us apart, @simonpegg often makes me laugh out loud. One of my favourite science writers, @Bengoldacre never fails to bring the sarcasm.

@LeVostreGC You can’t get much more literary than pop culture references and song lyrics tweeted in the style of Chaucer (well, actually I suppose there are several things more literary than that). I like it because it makes me feel like that first year paper I did at Canterbury on Old and Middle English Literature wasn’t completely wasted.

And, just because I realise I haven’t mentioned any ladies. @Cateowen is funny in her own right but is also a good source for linked hilarity (and she knows a lot about the ins and outs of social media). Oh, and you wanted literary too? Jolisa Gracewood @nzdodo is my kind of literary – funny, smart, and approachable. And of course I’ve followed @christchurchlib from day one.

3. What are you looking forward to at the Festival?

Actually having one for a start. And having it be in a giant inflatable igloo in Hagley Park is also a highlight. I love how incongruous it seems.

I’ve never been to a Pechakucha event so I’m keen on checking that out.

I’m keen on both John Lanchester sessions. London is the only other city I’ve lived in, so the “London’s Burning” session he’s doing with Chris Cleave appeals as does “Whoops: Why everyone owes and no one can pay”. I’m a big fan of people who “translate” incomprehensible stuff, in this case the global financial crisis, for ordinary folks like me. It’s an honourable endeavour.

I’m also keen on checking out the exhibitions that form the festival, particularly “Ko taku kupu, ko tau / My word is yours”. I’ve enjoyed the pepeha that have been used in earlier festivals and the artworks that illustrate them. I also love that this exhibition will be in association with Gap Filler which is doing great work around the city, brightening up vacant corners.

An hour with Joanne Harris is also a must see. She’s a wonderful storyteller, and it’s always interesting hearing about how storytellers work their magic.

Can I say that I’m looking forward to the session that we’re doing? I am. That should be a good old chinwag and a good excuse to get me hair done!

You certainly can! See you there Ms M.

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