February 8th, 2010. That day will last forever in my memory. It was the day a small group of Space Tweeps gathered in a hotel in Greenbelt, MD in anticipation of the first Goddard NASAtweetup for the launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory but realized there was no way our tweetup was going to happen due to the “Snowpocalypse”. I casually joked, “Why don’t we just drive down to Florida to watch it launch,” and the next thing you know, we were on our way. That action is precisely what makes this group different from any other I’ve been part of. We don’t just talk and tweet, we DO.

Last night AMC aired the movie Contact and it lit Twitter up with discussions  that mutated into talking about the book it was based on. It turns out a lot of us either had not read it or it had been years since we had. This lead to suggestions of other great books to read and I suddenly thought, “Why don’t we have a book club?” My following tweet about the idea garnered a lot of enthusiastic responses and I’m excited to say that it’s already a reality.

After a lot of research into hosting an online book club and debates with several people about using existing social networks to facilitate it, my-bookclub.com stood out as the best option. Each club on the site gets it’s own discussion forum and chat room and every member can set up their own virtual bookshelf to share what they are reading these days as well as share in the group’s bookshelf. Most importantly, it’s completely free (minus the cost of books if you have to buy them, of course).

There is still a lot of work to be done in organizing this (e.g. how often should we have chats? How often should books be “due”?) but I have great faith that together we will develop this into something amazing and learn a lot from each other along the way.

The first book will be Contact, since it inspired the club, but we will be reading all sorts of books, fiction and non-fiction, that have to do with space and exploration. This is a great opportunity to find books you didn’t know about or just find extra motivation to read the ones you’ve been meaning to read. Anyone can suggest books and we will choose selections democratically after Contact.

Love to read about space and want to participate? Just go to http://www.my-bookclub.com/bookclub/space-tweeps-book-club/ . You will have to join the site first (or sign in using your Facebook credentials) and then make sure to click the “Join” button on the club’s page. You will be added as soon as your request is seen.

Hope to see you there!