I was following some blogging links when something brought me up short. The screen grab is from Christy Dena's excellent blog on transmedia media entertainment and concerned the setting up of a book fair in Second Life. Surely enough to make Margaret Attwood melt in a bath.
What made me pause, though, was her twitter entry. Twitter has been getting a lot of attention and turns up fairly frequently in blogs. Normally I pay minimal attention to it but here it has given the author a presence in the blog that I found quite stunning: to the extent that I found myself paying more attention to the tweet than to the entry.
Meg Pickard, an online anthropologist, has discussed the notion that, in blogs, context is king. I would be tempted to go one step forward and try to elide the notion of what is text and what is context in a blog. Paying attention to transliteracy is, I suspect, one way of doing that. Embedding the author in a blog (potentially on a minute by minute basis with twitter) provides a text that really is digitally native and inherently transliterate.
PS. I checked this entry with Christy before publishing it and she did wince at the twitter spelling mistake. You can’t edit tweets once they’re gone. It’s a classic case of the awkward intersection between orality and literacy. Twitter is seen as ephemeral: as evanescent as speech. Each tweet, however, is a piece of data that might never be destroyed. In the grand scheme of things, a spelling mistake is no big deal, yet I wonder what would happen if before you published each tweet a warning sign came up that read “This message will live forever, somewhere, online. It is very likely that smart data miners will be able to relate this tweet to your identity and the identities of your friends and family: deceased, alive or as yet unborn. You will never be able to change it.”