dailylit experiments with public reading via twitter 06.26.2008, 11:15 AM
posted by sebastian mary
I made a passing mention of email-me-chunks-of-book-to-read service DailyLitin my recent-ish post on writing less. Though I've not tried it, it's been picking up some press lately as a way to get your reading done via the network.
The latest news is that DailyLit is experimenting with public and participative reading via Twitter. Texts on offer include Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
A little look around indicates that the Twitter element - slightly to my disappointment - neither involves abridging the text savagely for hyper-truncated delivery, or else delivering the unabridged text 140 characters at a time. Readers sign up for Twitter updates, which then alert them whenever a new instalment of the book goes up on DailyLit. This they can then discuss in related fora. So rather than proposing literature especially for Twitter, DailyLit is using Twitter much as many bloggers do: for status updates that drive readers to a webpage elsewhere.
Doctorow's book at present has 300 followers (nearly double the following of Pride and Prejudice...). There's not much uptake in the fora at present. But overall it's a timely experiment in networked, cross-platform public reading, and will no doubt have much to teach us as we prepare for the Golden Notebook public reading project.
Posted by sebastian mary on June 26, 2008 11:15 AM
Bryan Alexander on July 9, 2008 8:59 PM:
So this is Twitter as alert system, an organizing tool, rather than storytelling or content republishing?
sebastian mary on July 10, 2008 3:23 PM:
Twitter's users are broadly divided between those that use the service as a way of recording the flow of their daily lives, and those that use it as a way of promoting content elsewhere (eg sending a tweet with a link announcing a new blog post). The first is a kind of storytelling; the second more of an alert system (though arguably, in its way, it also tells a story).
Some take the view that the second use, in extreme form, constitutes spam and should be restricted; others see it as a dynamic way of connecting different areas of a conversation together. But the signal to noise ratio of an average Twitter stream (assuming you follow more than a handful of people) make it an unlikely candidate for any kind of fictional storytelling except as part of a wider matrix of tools, for example during an alternate reality game.
John Traynor on July 24, 2008 12:53 AM:
I doubt Twitter has much storytelling potential. License plate narratives didn't really take off either.