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Twitter Experts Go Offline, in Print & in Person

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Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media is generally recognized as one of the biggest names on Twitter—as of this writing, he’s closing in on his first half-million followers. If anybody was going to write the book on that vast social network, he’d be a leading candidate. So, with the help of former O’Reilly Media editor Sarah Milstein, that’s what he did. The Twitter Book has been available online in a PDF format for about a month, and it’s now available as a 140-page paperback.

“The idea for the book sprung into Tim’s head as people kept asking him questions about Twitter,” Milstein told us during a recent phone call. “But he realized that he just didn’t have the time to do it, even if it would only take a few days.” Luckily, Milstein had just completed a research paper for O’Reilly Media about using Twitter for commercial purposes; he contacted her, and one twenty-minute phone call later, the project had a green light. Five weeks later, it was ready to go.

The Twitter Book has a strong visual element; many of its screenshots came from Milstein’s original research. And though the idea of teaching people how to talk to other people online may seem a little corny at first, it actually is an effective handbook towards setting up a cohesive and consistent identity on Twitter. It’s not necessarily perfect, but it’s already sparked a lively debate among members of its target audience (look for the #twitterbook hashtag).

Next month, O’Reilly and Milstein will be presenting their wisdom to a live audience in Manhattan, in what’s billed as a “Twitter Boot Camp.” (Disclosure: mediabistro.com founder Laurel Touby is one of the scheduled presenters, and we’re looking forward to covering the event for GalleyCat.) “We’re thinking about this as a training day,” MIlstein told us, full of “useful, actionable information” that should be of interest to corporate marketers, celebrities, authors, and any other public figures and institutions who want to stand out from the millions of other tweeters in the system.

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