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Technology & Innovation

Once Upon a Twitter

An experiment in creativity saw a Twitter-based version of ‘exquisite corpse’ started by Neil Gaiman. But is this really how fiction should be made?

“Last week, BBC Audiobooks America announced that it would sponsor the creation of a story via Twitter feed, using a first sentence written by author Neil Gaiman as the seed and inviting the public to collaborate in completing it, one 140-character passage at a time,” writes The Salon. “The experiment was widely pronounced ‘cool,’ as such things usually are, then promptly forgotten by everyone but the participants — again, as such things usually are. The several dozen people who contributed to the story seemed to have fun, and perhaps that’s all that really matters. A Web 2.0 version of the old surrealist parlor game known as ‘exquisite corpse,’ the twittered story was intended as a publicity stunt for BBC Audiobooks America’s line of ‘distinctive single-voiced and full-cast dramatized audiobooks’ and surely succeeded at that. Yet BBCAA intends to publish an audio-only version of the story, read by Gaiman himself, which makes this as apt an occasion as any to raise some questions about the creative potential of social networking. How is a good story invented?”


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