If you have not already discovered it, the Penguin Group has started a twitter book club. Personally, I think it is super fabulous and will bring together many people from across the world who is passionate about reading.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a general disorganization with how the chats are monitored and how best to approach the Twitter set up. Twitter can be a powerful tool, but it can also be very overwhelming. So far, I have used TweetChat to follow the book club “meetings”. It seems to be the simplest tool available to follow hashtag chats. Whatever you post will automatically have the appropriate hashtag attached to it, so that you do not have to remember to enter it. In which case, your post would be lost in the stream.

I have also tried creating a stream for #readpenguin on Hootsuite as well. However, it does not update the stream as quickly as I would like it to and I have to type in the hashtag #readpenguin every time. It became a lot of work and I kept missing the conversation. I also like TwebEvent for Twitter chats, but I think the Penguin team has to set it up.

As I was saying, TweetChat works well and @PenguinUSA did recommend it when I posed the how-to-follow question before one of the chats. Unfortunately, there is no information on the Twitter Book Club page about it or any similar instructions, which I find frustrating. (Perhaps they believe that everyone participating are experts in Twitter?) I followed a couple of the Twitter conversations, but there always seemed to be a dropped message here and there, which I believed to be participants not including the hashtag when they replied. The conversation, at times, became erratic and random, with me frantically opening up searches for #readpenguin, @penguinusa and @eleanorwrites (author of February’s book, The Weird Sisters). I felt like I was experiencing split personality.

All I am suggesting is that the Penguin Twitter Book Club team decide on one tool that they deem best for these chat sessions and put the information on their webpage. This will make the book club experience less stressful and so that we (meaning I, as I cannot speak for everyone) can focus on the books and the discussions.

(Their website also has not been updated with the March reading, which can only mean that maintenance is lacking.  Which is unfortunate.)

Despite the frustrations I am feeling, I look forward to the @PenguinUSA Book Club discussions and I enjoy them very much. I hope that there will be a more cohesive way to go about these Twitter chats in the future.

Have you been following Book Club and #readpenguin Twitter Chats? Do you agree with the shortcomings of the set up? Any other comments?

P.S. For March, the chosen reading is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness @DebHarkness!