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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tweeting Stories a Mixed Blessing--Rick Moody

Novelist Rick Moody, known especially for his novel The Ice Storm, experimented by tweeting a short story, "Some Contemporary Characters," in 153 tweets over three days, according to this Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy article: Rick Moody’s Twitter Short Story Draws Long List of Complaints.

The experiment was complicated by at least three factors: two publishers were simultaneously publishing the story, some of the followers followed both publishers, and the publishers mixed the story tweets with ordinary tweets. Some followers therefore received duplicate tweets, and may also have received unrelated tweets interspersed with the story tweets. The immediacy of the tweets was one attractive aspect of the experiment for the author, but one can imagine other issues, too, such as time zone differences (killing the immediacy).

It seems like these are not insurmountable obstacles, the solution being, don't do that: don't simultaneously publish and don't mix tweets (by creating a special tweet address for the occasion). The complaint about the mixing of tweets seems specious; avid Twitterers may get tweets from many unrelated sources.

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