If you follow many Janeites and Austen authors on Twitter you may have been wondering what this #A4T thing is that is being thrown onto the end of narrative tweets. It means “Austen for Twitter” and is a fantastic Austen Project where fans write a Jane Austen story using Twitter, and using any of the characters and scenarios. This is social media collaboration at its finest.
Having just met Yiying Lu (the creator of Twitter’s Failwhale, and a complete sweetheart!), Twitter has been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve been hearing a lot about the potential of this medium, and while some groups are noting that it will probably decline soon (a strange conference I sat in on…) the untapped possibilities talked about through more modern avenues e.g. Media140, have really opened my eyes to the artistic possibilities inherent in collaborative media. Having it mashed together with Austen is just an absolute dream come true. This is a fantastic example of how this new form of media can be used for creative purposes (truly, go and see what has already been written- Janeites will be blown away).
So far it is a roaring success- the tweets range from cute to thoughtful, to witty and perfect, completely channelling Austen. I definitely recommend checking out the website, if you want to get involved, that explains the rules and gives you a link to the roster so you don’t end up doubling up on the story with someone. If you just want to watch, type #A4T into the search bar and go back as far as you want.
The current story is about preparations and invitations for Mr and Mrs. Darcy’s ball. So, lucky for us P&P readers, we already know the main characters fairly well. The other characters have spanned most of the books, and the scenarios are either replications of those that already exist, or new imaginings from Twits (apparently that’s what they call people on Twitter!).
I’m ‘rostered on’ to tweet at 12.15pm today (Sydney, Australia time) so watch my Twitter @JennieDuke and keep an eye on the #A4T hashtag, to see what I contribute. I’ve already got a few “bite-sized” Austen ideas up my sleeve, but I just hope they fit when the story comes round my way!