Good Captain

Madame Zee and the Shorty Awards

I would never in a million years have expected this, but my own Madame Zee is up for a Shorty Award in the #entertainment category! The Shorty Awards are, as they describe it, honoring "the world's top Twitterers." As of this writing, Madame ranked in the 13th place with eight votes

Madame has no hope of bringing the award home, of course -- heavens, the top-ranked contender has more nominations than Madame even has followers at all. But it is delightful that anybody could think of her this way. 

And maybe -- maybe -- if a few of you have it in your hearts to nominate her, perhaps she can make it into the top 10, if only briefly? 

Of course, while you've got your nominating engine started, why not give a second to honor Jay Bushman for his fantastic Twitter story, The Good Captain

Good karma all around, duckling. Very fortuitous indeed. 

Update: Quick and easy voting guide... Click through for exact instructions on what to Tweet to nominate Madame Zee and Jay Bushman. Please note nominations from private accounts don't count.

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Twistori: Another New Twitter Trick

I just stumbled upon Twistori, a site that pulls anonymized Twitter updates based on... well... just go see it. It's mesmerizing and comforting, little cross-sections of other people's hearts and minds. This is nothing short of a work of art, though the artists, Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs, call it the first phase of a social experiment. I wonder if there's really any clear distinction between the two anymore?

This is one more to add to my list of unusual uses people are finding for Twitter, along with The Good Captain, which has concluded, and my own Madame Zee project. There's certainly a lot more to come.

Thanks to @playbe for tweeting about it!

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The Good Captain in Review

A few weeks ago, The Good Captain, an adaptation of a Herman Melville story for Twitter, finally wrapped up. This story was written by Jay Bushman of The Loose-Fish Project.

The surprising thing about the Good Captain was how quickly it became a thread positively thrumming with tension. At first, it was admittedly a little difficult to follow the story, and I found myself tracking back frequently to make sure I really understood what was going on. But after the first several updates, as the scene was set and the story proper got underway, I began to learn some valuable lessons about tension and pacing.

The lesson is this: Giving your audience only the sparest taste at once with long pauses in between amps up the tension in a story like nobody's business. I should've known this from my Cloudmakers days, of course. That game primarily updated on Tuesdays, and the community would whip itself into a frenzy with anticipation of new content each week. But as it turns out, this effect works with more modest amounts of content, as well, and maybe even better.

That's because the anticipation gives each tiny piece a disproportionate significance. If I had been able to read this story straight through, I would have breezed through sentences like "Now I feel silly and I chuckle at myself. Dziga’s jumpiness must be getting to me." But when it's all I had to add to the story at once, I would find myself sifting through the story in my head word by word, trying to work out where it was all going. Was it foreshadowing? Was it a sign that something was about to happen? Could I take it at face value? What the heck was going on, here?!

And so this medium, tiny bites of story delivered intermittently, provided a fantastic vehicle for delivering incrementally more and more tense bits of story, and then, at the end, unwinding it all in a few short days with the final explanation.

Good work, guys. Can't wait to see your next one.

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