Susan Orlean: LitFest Speaker and Twitterati

Some people just ‘get’ Twitter – and Susan Orlean is one of them. No, she isn’t offering a “how to tweet” class (that we’re aware of), though she will be a keynote speaker at our upcoming literary festival (more on that in a bit).

So if you’re a writer or new to Twitter (or both), you’ll want to check out this post.

Granted, Susan joined Twitter in December of 2007, so she’s had a lot of time to figure it out, but her account really is a primer for folks trying to master the microblogging platform.

When you look at her twitter stream, you’ll note that she’s funny, she’s interactive, she doesn’t over-tweet and she’s consistent, posting a few daily observations and having brief interactions with followers. Here are some examples of her tweets – you can see why folks follow her and reply:

And her follower/following ratio is fantastic (224k followers to 1k following) – though that won’t be possible for most of us regular folk. Who is Susan Orlean? Well, she’s an author and journalist who has written two nonfiction works that have been the basis of films.

Her 1998 book The Orchid Thief, about orchid grower John Laroche, formed the basis of the film Adaptation. And Susan was portrayed by Meryl Streep in an Oscar-nominated role. How cool is THAT?

And then an article she wrote for magazine about young surfer girls in Maui was the basis of the film Blue Crush.

Her latest book, Rin Tin Tin, turns the tables to examine the biographical history of the dog actor Rin Tin Tin.

And finally, she’s the opening keynote speaker at Mediabistro’s upcoming Literary Festival. During her keynote, she will discuss what drives her as a writer and how her new book came to fruition. You can also get inside info from her Twitter stream, of course.

If you’re interested in the LitFest, it kicks off on July 16 and goes through August 1 (all online) and will host a variety of leading writers, editors and literary agents. It will be a great place to learn inside tips for getting published and connect with other writers.

Will you be attending?

(Susan Orlean photo from her website; photo credit: Gaspar Tringale)