Local Lifestyle

Saturday, Apr 05 2014 09:00 AM

HERB BENHAM: Brother, can you spare a tweet?

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Herb Benham

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By HERB BENHAM, Californian columnist hbenham@bakersfield.com

Book sales are steady for "That Was Easy" -- my astonishing new book -- but several people said I could juice sales by using Twitter.

I mention Twitter because a couple of weeks ago I spoke to Janelle Eastridge's journalism class at Bakersfield High School. After I'd run out of things to say, I asked the students what was in and out in social media.

"Facebook is dead," a young woman said. "When our parents went on, it was over."

"Twitter is hot," said another. "It's easy to use, it's fun and it's interesting. You could get the word out on your book."

Sam, our middle son, agreed.

"Dad, have somebody else tweet about your book," he said. "You can't get enough followers so you have to catch the attention of somebody who has a million followers."

Twitter is, to quote Wikipedia, "an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short, 140-character text messages, called 'tweets.'"

Created in March 2006, Twitter has gone bananas. In 2012, it had 500 million registered users who posted 340 million tweets per day.

Going viral used to mean a lot of people were going to die; now it means a few people will become rich and everybody else will wonder how they missed one more sure thing.

My dream is to go viral. If I went viral, I wouldn't have to work Fridays or Mondays. I'm only a million books away.

I need people with tons of followers. How about Roger Federer? Yes, Roger Federer because Roger Federer has 1.52 million followers. If Roger Federer tweeted just once about my book, "That Was Easy," I'd be flush with success.

Do you know how many hours I've invested in Roger Federer's matches, my emotional investment pushing him over the top against Nadal and Djokovic, and then mourning when my emotional investment didn't push him over the top? What could it cost Roger Federer to mention "That Was Easy" in one of his tweets?

How about Pink? No, not the much-loved Easter color but the Grammy-winning singer, who has 22,785,390 followers. I've watched Pink's 2010 video at the Grammys 30 times, mainly because she disrobes and, for a moment, viewers think she might be naked rather than dressed in a flesh-colored skin suit, but also because she sings dripping wet and upside-down and still knocks it out of the park.

Pink, we have something in common: You like Mammoth, and my parents live there. Pink, my daughter, Katie, who is the subject of one of the pieces in the book "That Was Easy," saw you at Mammoth and said you are a lot prettier in person than you are in your video. Don't take that wrong, Pink. I think you're pretty either way -- video, in person or your face painted on a pink rock.

How about Kevin McCarthy? He's no Pink, but he knows P90X's Tony Horton and Kevin Spacey from "House of Cards." I once gave the first Kevin, who is no Pink, a glass of chocolate milk from Reed's Dairy in Idaho. so would it kill Kevin McCarthy to mention "That Was Easy," his soon-to-be new favorite book, in a tweet?

Katy Perry has the most followers on Twitter, with 51,832,566. Ellen DeGeneres is No. 12 with 26,819,75. Ellen seems nicer than the average celebrity or, for that matter, most of my friends.

How about soccer player Ronaldo with 25,054,914? It's not like I didn't coach AYSO soccer, although the parents staged a coup and toppled my fragile regime.

I'll even take Kourtney Kardashian with her 11,136,685. If she links up with Kim Kardashian, I'll be retired.

I believe Katy, Roger, Pink, Ronaldo, Ellen and Kevin will discover that it's not hard to mention "That Was Easy."

Count it. One hundred- forty characters. Perfect for a tweet.

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