Star Trek actor Brent Spiner tweeting a new genre of Twitter interaction

July 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm (Tweeple Magazine articles by Jason Chu) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Star Trek Convention - Day 4

Yes, I do admit when growing up I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation after school at 5:00pm. Most definitely I had and still have a great deal of respect for the actor Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner), who played the role of Commander Data (the ingenious android with no emotions) .

As I was scanning through TweetDeck scanning for potential story ideas, there was something quite different about Spiner’s way of tweeting, that I thought warranted further investigation. To be honest, I thought that Brent Spiner was losing it a bit from his strange tweets (I’ll post underneath), but than I came to realize he was writing short 140 character bursts of prose from tweet to tweet. So naturally I scanned at all his recent tweets in succession and found that he had done something very similar to the news reel serials of the early 20th century newspaper press. The only difference is that his “serials” are real-time and have the benefit of immediate feedback from the fans. I liked the fact that when Brent Spiner was done his story/soliloquy, he proceeded to address some of his fans @reply comments.

Brent has created a fictional twitter world which he calls “Spinerworld” where he basically tells stories of a place filled with millions of Spiners (Yes, I know). The cool thing is that his followers can cut in, and respond to story bits, and Brent might make changes to the stories based on what fans say! That is a very interesting development for the writer/reader interaction dynamic (very 21st century).

I think this is an ingenious way of storytelling, and very difficult too. Think about it this way, “Brent Spiner is telling a bedtime story not to his kids, but to over 600,000 people and it’s all real-time with the opportunity to question him/cut him off!” To tell a story in 140 character chapters is extremely difficult, as anyone who’s done English papers know that it’s always easier to write more, than be short and  concise. The one thing that is very apparent is Brent’s intelligence, odd atmosphere/dialogue, and strangely funny tweets. He’s definitely earned his large Twitter following for more than just his “name”.

Sample of Brent’s Spiner’s Fictional Tweets:

  1. (Phone rings) “Hello?” ” Mr. Spiner?” “Yes, it is.” “Mr. Spiner, this is Mr. Spiner with Visa. I’m afraid you’ve gone over your limit.”12:20 PM Jul 8th from web
  2. “What?…” “We have 25 large charges on your account from yesterday. We’re going to have to freeze your account until we receive payment.12:23 PM Jul 8th from web
  3. Damn that @therealbrent. I’m so stressed. Think I’ll watch “ID4”. I love when I give that big speech, “This is our Independence Day!”12:33 PM Jul 8th from web
  4. RT @goldbedr@BrentSpiner I am so terribly, terribly confused at what you are doing–How do you think I feel!!12:44 PM Jul 8th from web
  5. RT @ paradoxphoenix If everyone you physically encounter is a Spiner, how come everyone who tweets you is not a Spiner? –WE ARE!!!!!12:53 PM Jul 8th from web
  6. RT @therealbrent@Brentspiner>Don’t you understand? It’s time to change your ways. Be kinder.–Stop this! But, pay my credit card bill first.2:04 PM Jul 8th from web
  7. I’ve got to break this mirror! (Throws chair) OMG! It bounced off!! (Pounding mirror with fists) Break, damn you!!…ow, I hurt my hands.2:25 PM Jul 8th from web
  8. Spiner (that’s me) lies on the floor of his room sobbing. A broken shell of a man. Wait…I’m not finished yet! I’ll get you, Spinerrrr!!!!!2:38 PM Jul 8th from web
  9. One last thing before I go out again. I must block him. I cannot have him knowing what I’m doing. Goodbye poser. Suck on this!about 21 hours ago from web
  10. RT @smellsorange You are weird.–Well, how would you feel if you were stuck in a mirror world!!!?? Sorry, I’d best go before I cry again.about 21 hours ago from web
  11. Spent the night walking. Very lonely. Nothing but Spiners everywhere I looked. Some were nice, others didn’t seem to recognize me.about 2 hours ago from web
  12. Went to Spiner Hardware and picked up a few sledge hammers. Got some really big Spiners to come over here. ST fans. Promised them autographsabout 2 hours ago from web
  13. They smashed the sledgehammers against the mirror but nothing happened. Tried same with their heads. Nothing. Hopeless.about 1 hour ago from web
  14. Before they left I made good on my promise. Gave them all autographs. They were disappointed. Said it looked just like theirs.about 1 hour ago from web
  15. He’s back. Prowling around. “What do you want? Just let me out of here and it’s you’re’s.” “That’s should be yours. And it’s already mine.”about 1 hour ago from web
  16. I’m losing my grip. Even my grammar is suffering. Now he’s rifling thorough my medicine chest. “No, take what you want, but please, leav about 1 hour ago from web
  17. I’m finished. Stuck in a world with millions of Spiners. Could be worse. I could be here with millions of that awful couple from “The Hills”about 1 hour ago from web
  18. RT @naienko: in that case, I recommend suicide.-Yes, perhaps your…you’re right. Maybe he would cease to be as well. Goodbye…Wait!!43 minutes ago from web
  19. One last chance. I’m going to try something. Those of you who announce unfollowing me, if this doesn’t work, I’ll save you the trouble.22 minutes ago from web
  20. Need help for this one. I’ll be back. Most of the Spiners in Spinerworld are friendly. Oh and @trentvenegas, homey, you’re blocked. Im off.7 minutes ago from web

P.S. I did say this was a sample, so if you back check his tweets, there’s a lot more “serial tweets” on Spinerworld.

~ Jason

http://www.twitter.com/Chodidees

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