I’ve been won over by Twitter. Sort of.
I signed up in the first instance to use in this very blog (my recent tweets are automatically added to my sidebar on the right). I have it set to update my status on Facebook at the same time, and I can do it all just by sending a text message (which really suits with regards to effort, and not wanting to put much in).
In case you’re not in the loop let me just give you a wee summary of the concept:
It’s one of the many ‘social-networking’ tools available on t’internet at the moment, although I think it’s probably my favourite. The basic idea is that one posts comments (tweets), no longer than 140 characters long, which are then available to be seen by anyone else on Twitter. Some people use it to talk to their friends, some people use it to talk to the world. It’s used in political campaigning, product promotion, and even during the Iranian presidential election protests, as well as general, mundane chat about weather and knitting on trains (at least if you read my tweets).
Recently I’ve been enjoying two particular tweeting trends:
- British General Election campaigns
I follow the Conservative Party on Twitter, so get their take on the issues of the hour. The election stuff has been especially interesting during each of the Leader’s Debates (three debates between the leaders of the three main parties, broadcast live on the last three Thursday evenings.) When people are tweeting about a specific topic they tend to label it – in this instance with #leadersdebate – and according to these folks 36,483 tweeters produced 184,396 tweets, with an average of 29.06 tweets per second during the first debate on April 15th. I joined in for the second debate, though less to comment on the lofty political rhetoric, and more to appreciate the lovely tie that David Cameron was wearing
- Such Tweet Sorrow
The second tweeting trend I’ve been following recently is a rather bizarre venture of the Royal Shakespeare Company called Such Tweet Sorrow. You can read all about it properly if you follow that link to their website, but the basic idea is that they’ve got some RSC actors to ‘perform’ a contemporised (I’m not sure that’s a word) version of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ on Twitter. One can follow any or all of the six main characters who are featured – Juliet (@julietcap16), Romeo (@romeo_mo), the Nurse (@Jess_nurse), Friar Lawrence (@Laurence_Friar), Mercutio (@mercuteio) and Tybalt (@Tybalt_Cap) – and either just watch as the story unfolds through their tweets, or interact with them by tweeting in response to what they’ve said or done.
It’s been pretty interesting to follow. Obviously the story and characters have been changed for their new context – Tybalt, Juliet and the nurse (Jess) are all siblings, and Friar Lawrence has become Laurence Friar, a coffee-shop owning, dope smoking (and selling) ex-humanist minister, but aside from those sorts of changes they’re attempting to stick to the main action of the play. It’s been going for a couple of weeks now, and from what I can tell, Romeo and Juliet got married yesterday, at the registry office, and Tybalt just found out about the two of them about an hour ago, so presumably we should be expecting some tragic death pretty soon.
And basically, I’m just not sure what to think about it all. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not convinced that it’s ‘worked’. It’s pretty hard to follow what’s going on – unless you are prepared to spend literally all day on Twitter (and I’m not) – and the characters are not being portrayed in the best of lights. I’m not an especially big fan of the play in the first place (because I find myself spending a great deal of time just thinking that everyone would still be alive if only they weren’t so melodramatic and/or if they didn’t insist on going about things in the most impossibly complicated way all the time) but in some ways having watched these tweets over the last while I dislike it even more. Juliet’s sappy, Jess_Nurse is pretty whiny and annoying, Mercutio is a numpty, Laurence is a pot-head and Tybalt is just an absolute psycho.
And yet. I’m still watching. It’s like Shakespeare in soap-opera format. I just can’t look away.
In summary: still poorly sick and enjoying Twitter.