Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Teju 3

On July 15, 2014, Teju Cole, the author of Known and Strange Things, said goodbye to 267 thousand Twitter followers. Without any explanation or fanfare, he posted one last tweet and has not returned to update his account ever since.

Cole’s fans went on panic mode but not for long. After leaving Twitter, Cole popped up on Facebook.  He had always had an author page on Facebook, but it was not until he left Twitter that the page became very active. Even though he has since spread his social media influence across other platforms like Instagram and Spotify, Facebook remains the dominant place to find the writer, keep up with his new work, and engage with him on topical issues.

From what we gathered in a recent interview with Financial Times, Cole is enjoying his time in Facebookland. We also picked up on an interesting back story that explains Cole’s choice of Facebook as his primary social media site.

Apparently, Cole’s relationship with Facebook was not an instant love affair. “It took me a long time to figure out how I wanted to use Facebook,” he says. You’re probably wondering what helped him figure things out?

It should delight Cole’s fans to know that, in a some sense, they inspired his decision to become more active on Facebook.  “It’s a weird thing to have people who are fans, or [who are] privately moved by your work. And so I use Facebook [to explore] in what way can you be a person who’s worthy of that affection and that attention?”

Cole uses Facebook for the usual stuff—getting the word out on new publications, as well as sharing book reviews and and interviews. But Facebook does something else for him. It clears up a unique arena for engaging with fans. It closes up the distance among followers inherent to Twitter. His fans are no longer just followers isolated in their individual interest in Cole’s work. With Facebook, they can experience each other as a community.

Cole still goes off on rants, dissects topical issues, and pens down thoughtful provocations that often ignites meaningful conversations among his fans. Sometimes, his Facebook page reads like a literary town hall meeting.

With Twitter, the focus was on Cole’s work. Cole used Twitter to perfect a new kind of poetic writing, to curate photographs, and, in general, to act out an intellectual life. His followers were spectators. They gathered to see what he’d created. With Facebook, it is less performance and more conversations, more exchanges taking place across a community that sees not just Cole and but his fandom engaging with each other.

Twitter, it turns out, still holds a special significance for Cole: “One of the most satisfying things I ever did, for me as a creative person, was on Twitter.

Cole has done the Twitter thing. He’s now on Facebook and also on Instagram and Spotify. What next for him?

“And I am getting sort of curious about Snapchat and we will see. I am not quite there yet but I know that once I dive in, I am in.”

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Alain Mabanckou Turns Down Invitation from France’s President Emmanuel Macron

Alain Mabanckou - Afropolitain

Alain Mabanckou, the biggest name in Francophone African literature, has turned down an invitation from France’s president Emmanuel Macron to […]

The 5 African Novels Longlisted for the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction

arabic booker pp1

Five novels by Africans are on the 16-title longlist of the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction: The Earthen Fortress, by […]

“My Friends and Family Know I’m Not a Woman”: Akwaeke Emezi on Figuring Out She Is Transgender

akwaeke emezi

Akwaeke Emezi, most recently photographed for Vogue ahead of the release of her debut novel Freshwater, has come out as […]

Praxis Poetry Chapbook Series: Stanley McDaniels’ “Entrapment” | Foreword by Otosirieze Obi-Young

cover (1)

The Praxis Poetry Chapbook Series, an initiative of Praxis Magazine, publishes poetry chapbooks by new poets. It launched in 2016 with […]

How Egyptian Music Icon Abdel Halim Hafez Became a Centrepiece in Safia Elhillo’s “The January Children”

safia elhillo book

Sudanese poet Safia Elhillo has received the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, with her poem “application for assylum” shortlisted […]

Heaven Is a Place South of Here | Kanyinsola Olorunninsola | Memoir

received_1623695634357425

And because no man is permitted entry into heaven without a sacrifice of his own. . . the story of […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.