Bill Shakespeare’s Twitterscape

The tech world is all excited about Twitter. I’ve managed to avoid the rage thus far, and am not very interested in hopping on board this particular train. I like what Kathy Sierra has to say about Twitter, and how we’ve possibly crossed a kind of attention event horizon.

Chris Pirillo solicited and recorded some reader feedback (MP3), which includes a mini-rant from me (just after the halfway mark, more or less) about the pridefulness of blogging, and the sheer hubris of Twitter.

Listening to it again, I sound like a Twitter hater, when really I’m currently Twitter ambiguous:

Twitter, it seems to me, is hubris of the highest order. Why would I think that anybody, even my friends and family, would want to read an unedited stream of the pitiful minutiae of my life? Isn’t that self-indulgence on a grand scale?

Beth has also gathered a bunch of opinions on Twitter, and its potential applications for non-profits.

Twitter is a Performance Medium

Today Tara Hunt drew some erudite connections between Twitter, Virginia Woolf and Shakespeare:

Many stories have been lost over the centuries because of assumptions, narrow ideals of what ‘genius’ is, and the very fact that ‘genius’, a relative term defined by a few, is the yard stick for recorded history.

She makes the case that a history of person’s Twitters is an important historical record. Kathy replies in the comments of Tara’s post, and Tara replies to that. They’re way more articulate than me, so go over there and read their debate. Regardless of whether or not we’ll ever have the technology to meaningfully sort through a lifetime of Twitter history, I do wonder whether we’ll have the brain capacity or interest to mull over the content.

The other aspect of Twitter that I haven’t seen discussed is that (like blogs) it’s not a diary, it’s a performance medium. We’re not recording our thoughts and feelings. We’re broadcasting the thoughts and feelings for others to hear. That’s a profound difference, and certainly changes the context for a schwack of historical Twitter data.

Shakespeare on Twitter

Tara’s post got me thinking about how that old dog Bill Shakespeare might have used Twitter:

Drinking Mead. Sweet, sweet mead.

Cavorting with maiden.

Methinks she doth protest too much.

Bollocks. Struck out with maiden.

Sketching out ending to R & J. Totally lifted ending from that cheeky Brooke.

Screw the sodding play. Checking out mop boy.

Making the beast with two back with the mop boy.

Done. Feeling guilty about Anne back in Stratford.

In truth, that’s one guy’s Twitter history that I’d really like to read.


  1. It wasn’t the mop boy Willy made out with, but Marlowe and a few others. All revealed in “The Shakespeare Diaries” forthcoming on 1 April 2007 (not a joke, really).

  2. thanks for a good giggle. very little humor on twitter actually. mostly quite pedantic.

    but the potential for interesting tweets is there, me thinks.

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