Participating in 1book140 is relatively easy. You just have to read Margaret Atwood's novel The Blind Assassin and then share your thoughts using the hashtag #1book140 when you post. Once your post is up there, you can click on that tag and see all the other posts, in chronological order of your fellow readers participating in the same project.
1book140 is organized, in part, by Jeff Howe. He's a journalism professor at Northeastern University and author of Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. He says a project like this allows people from all over the web to communicate with each other over this shared experience. Atwood herself may become a part of the discussion as well; she's already on Twitter, which would give her a chance to talk about her work without having to travel to a thousand different living rooms for discussions with individual book clubs.
Plus, let's be honest, at 140 characters per tweet, you'll be spared the long rambling anecdote that goes nowhere, delivered by an acquaintance who has had a bit too much pinot.
We also talk to Nancy Pearl. She's a librarian and the author of the best-selling Book Lust series. Back in 1998, she organized a project aimed at getting all of Seattle to read the same book and then discuss it citywide. The project was then employed in other cities around the country. Nancy is excited about the project. She says a great shared reading experience starts with a great book that people can talk about, bond over, share passages from. And she thinks that a platform like Twitter can build a sense of excitement around books and it can teach the publishing industry how it can take advantage of new technology.
Also in this program, a recent study says that over half of young people would rather lose their sense of smell than give up social networking.