Since I (not unexpectedly) got a wide range of responses to my questions re: Twitter, Facebook, &c last week, I'm going to do some more research (mostly of the "how much time do I have to devote to these additional venues" variety) and get back to you.
Last update regarding Dan B... er, He Who Must Not Be Named: I finished the book late last week and was entertained, so I'm comfortable saying I liked it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Oh yeah, and if you're curious about the ending SNAPE KILLS LANGDON OMG
...in serious publishing news, Dear Leader has selected Uwem Akpan's Say You're One of Them for her
Yes, Oprah could affix her coveted book club sticker to even the most asinine, worthless "book" imaginable by someone who "would never want a book's autograph" (whatever that means), and it would still become an instant bestseller. This is colloquially known as The Oprah Effect.
TOE (not to be confused with the Theory of Everything) is difficult to quantify, but it seems to be on par with (or possibly more powerful than) the Pulitzer Prize in terms of ability to generate word-of-mouth buzz and sales. Thousands of copies turn into millions. Film rights are immediately negotiated and sold. Now, this says a lot about Oprah's tremendous influence, but it says just as much about the people being influenced.
I'm not sure which way the causal chain runs—or if it's even causal at all—but the correlation between women and readers in America is pretty strong. (The same is probably true of the UK, but this is just a hunch.) Most readers in the good old US of A are women; most agents (from what I've seen) are women; most of my fellow English majors were women; most of my colleagues are women; most of the people belonging to Oprah's book club are women. In fact, most of you are probably women!
The bookosphere (hooray neologisms!) is pretty heavily slanted toward the lady folk, and so I think part of the reason Oprah holds such tremendous sway in the literary world is because there's a preexisting gargantuan overlap between her target audience and the book-reading public. That is to say, if she were to devote an entire show to her fantasy football picks, I'm sure it would have no effect on anyone else's picks whatsoever (simply because most men between 18 and 35 aren't watching her show, and that's the prime population for FF). I know I'm using broad strokes here, but that's necessary when analyzing huge populations of people.
This is all a roundabout way of asking: are you influenced by Oprah? Do you (or your loved ones) religiously (or perhaps just casually) follow her and her recommendations? Have you ever devoted a year of your life just to doing what she says? Or do you think I'm full of the proverbial bologna? This is all part of my continuing informal series on "are people reading industry blogs a good sample of the larger book-reading public?" You folks don't seem to be quite as into the Da...rk Lord as the rest of America. What about Oprah?