Friday, March 27, 2009

Digitalist digs twitterisation

The digitalist is a blog by the digital team at Pan Macmillan and they were kind enough to mention my twitter experiment in a favourable way: "Reading it in my twitter feed each day is a fantastic experience."

I've also noticed a brief mention in the influential galleycat blog. I was very flattered to discover that my "link-filled look at Twitter writing can help guide us as we march into the microblogging future". Ha!

Less enthusiastic is Ian Hocking, who found my sentences "curiously ordinary". Ian makes some good points about the importance of context in storytelling. I suppose in my defence, what I would say is that I am not really expecting this to deliver the same level of satisfaction as reading a traditional narrative. You could say that receiving tweets about what people you've never met had for lunch, or from celebrities waiting for their next shoot to begin, is not as satisfying as a night out with your mates. As a means of communication, twittering is necessarily disrupted and disconnected. That's part of its charm - or its irritation, depending on your point of view.

I suppose the interesting question might be not how my tweets compare to the traditional way of publishing a novel, but how they compare to other tweets. I was contacted by one person who said that for them tweets have to be personal, and therefore their use as a narrative vehicle is not effective. But I have had others contact me telling me how much they are enjoying the tweets - and that they like them because they are different to most other tweets. One person at least has bought a copy, albeit of the Kindle edition! A sign of the times maybe.

Despite Ian's and others' misgivings, I am going to stick with the experiment. I'm not really sure what I'm doing or why, but now that I have begun it seems important to see it through to the end!

View the latest epitweet (or should that be tweetisode?) here.


Dr Ian Hocking said...

Hi Roger, just came across the post. I should qualify my somewhat post by saying that I'm looking forward to reading the book, and this might have something to do with my difficulty with the concept. I'm also marking all hours at the moment and I'm generally grumpy.

Epitweet gets my vote - it sounds like you're swearing.

Roger Morris said...

Ian, no need to qualify! You make some perfectly valid points. It is an experiment, and probably a wholly misguided one. I suppose I hope that occasionally something of the tone and atmosphere of the book might get through and get soaked up - even if people don't follow assiduously.