WWDDT: What Would Don Draper Tweet?

Curator's Note

 “They wanted me? They got me.” Don Draper, 25 July 2010

You read that date correctly. Don Draper tweeted that a little over a year ago. Doesn’t matter that Twitter--or desktop computers, mobile phones, tablets and the like--didn’t exist in the timeframe of Mad Men. Doesn’t even matter that he’s a fictional character. That’s the beauty of micro-fan-fiction--characters brought to life on the “micro-blogging” platform of Twitter.

Most fan fiction is prose, short stories & novellas. Micro-fan-fiction involves assuming a persona, interacting with others using that character’s voice, a high wire act of improv if sustained for any length of time. As a playwright who’s done this with my own characters, I’d say that it’s the harder of the two to pull off consistently.

Once Twitter took off, fans of Mad Men jumped in. They did in fact want Don. Suddenly, all of the characters had Twitter accounts and were interacting with each other. Thing is, they weren’t officially sanctioned by AMC. So AMC shut them down. They didn’t see the potential inherent in the form, they only worried about copyright infringement.

The fans rose up, the media joined in, and AMC relented. The various accounts were reinstated--even one tweeting the thoughts of the Sterling Cooper Xerox machine with a fondness for martinis--and all was right with the world.

Are they consistent? They have no connection to the writing staff, but the people behind them ad-lib pretty well. They’re inactive in the downtime between seasons, so they won’t contradict the text of the series itself. Most of all, they’re fun, which is all a promotion--intentional or fan-based--should be.

Is tweeting art? Done well, it could be. My own experiences were designed to integrate seamlessly. It’s only a matter of time before the great Twitter-based novel or play…hey, there’s an idea…

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