Often times, attempts by old media outlets to “maximize” social media are mind-boggling exercises in high comedy, but the New Yorker has, for the most part, maintained its dignity by not resorting to overtly desperate and dumb gimmicks in an effort to “draw attention to” and “enhance” their presence on Twitter and Facebook. Sadly, that reign of dignity maintenance will end tonight.
You see, starting tonight and continuing for the next nine nights, the New Yorker will tweet out an 8,500 word short story by Jennifer Egan. Yes, the storied magazine will issue a new tweet each minute laying out bits of the story in 140 character snippets, which sounds about as fun as getting punched in the face by Mike Tyson in 1987.
Reports the NY Times:
When the novelist Jennifer Egan submitted her latest short story to The New Yorker, she hinted to Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor, that there was a catch. It soon became evident: Ms. Egan had written an entire work of fiction in 140 character bits, to be first posted on Twitter and then published in the magazine.
“I had a sense it could work for a spy story,” Ms. Egan said this week while sitting in Ms. Treisman’s office.
Ms. Treisman was receptive to the idea, so much so that this week the New Yorker will begin publishing the story, “Black Box,” in segments on Twitter. Starting Thursday night, the New Yorker’s Twitter fiction handle, @NYerFiction, will post a new tweet of text from Ms. Egan’s 8,500 word story every minute between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The tweets will continue for 10 straight nights.
Yes, I’m sure Jennifer Egan’s fans will love digesting one of her short stories in tweets over the course of ten nights rather than, say, JUST BEING ABLE TO CLICK ON A LINK TO A STORY AND READ IT IN FULL. Sure they’ll have no problem with that at all.
(Cartoon via the New Yorker)