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Day One

Lots of discussions and questions emerging from the first day of the ‘Twitterbug’ project. Is it a play? How do we present it to the wider public? How do we gain followers? Who are the characters? And why are they heading to Stoke?

All that, and a whistle-stop introduction to Twitter and its main functions. Why do people join? What do they get out of it? What are they looking for in people they follow?

A broad overview of functionality

-Campaigns
eg political – #UKuncut #Egypt #savelibraries etc
Personal (mainly targeted at Daily Mail journalists/ rightwing commentators) #janmoir #melaniephillips #katiehopkins
This can lead to viral witch hunts
#catbinwoman #brumplum

-Wordplay
Eg #chocolatefilms

-Shared Experience
Eg TV #Bbcqt #xfactor
Conferences #shifthappens

-Biography
Interesting stories @benjionthetrain – Draws followers into his commuter world

-Information sharing
Ask a question, expect a number of fairly rapid responses: Eg kid’s TV, Mogadishu or Winterlong – answered directly by playwright.

So how does this relate to our proposed story? The narrative has to embed itself within the functionality of the medium, utilising the unique tools on offer. Authenticity was highlighted as a key component. It has to be rooted in reality – does this mean the actors are tweeting as hyper-real versions of themselves, or as entirely fictional characters?

How far can you push the boundaries of reality without pissing people off? Do we have an ethical responsibility towards our followers/ audiences? As an extension to this, how do laws of slander/ libel apply to Twitter? What are the professional repercussions of being provocative? Should the characters self-censor or let rip? And if a character is wholly provocative/ unpleasant, how does s/he engage and retain followers?

Practicalities were raised – how and why do they get to Stoke? What happens on Saturdays? Football and weddings. The latter seemed to have more exciting possibilities, with the chance to widen the world and incorporate “offscreen” characters. Something to be investigated in more detail tomorrow…

Following on from the practical look at the medium, we did a couple of warm up exercises. As it progressed, it was already apparent that specific voices were emerging and relationships beginning to be established. Similar themes cropped up – sibling rivalry, parties, age(ing), the ubiquity of public transport. Envious looks at other people’s lives.

Things that stuck in my mind (in no particular order)

– pretend hand grenades blowing up poop bins

– the sense that nowhere is too far to walk

– full bottle of cider smashing to the floor

– the duckling dying down the drain. Guilt

And the brilliant exchange:

-Everyone cool at school had braces or asthma
-Or eczema
-You’re a bit younger than me. We didn’t have eczema in my day

So, already there are the seeds of relationships between the characters, how they respond to each other and react to situations.

Day Two just beginning, will update later…

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