Continuing in the vein of electronic literature on Twitter, I wanted to examine the hilarious account @dril, AKA wint.
The identity of wint is still a mystery, but it is unlikely that he is a bot. In a statement to Buzzfeed on the history of Weird Twitter, creator explains:
Ok, I was considering sending a response “in character”, but I thought that this would probably be a good opportunity to let people know who I am and what exactly I’m trying to do. People seem to have the idea that I’m this really “wacky” guy who behaves rather similarly to his offbeat twitter persona in real life, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Please allow me to dispel some of the myths out there and let people know what I’m all about.
Twitter, as I understand it, is a sort of “Hell” that I was banished to upon death in my previous life. In this abstract realm, the only thing I am certain of is that my cries are awarded “Favs” or “RTs” when they are particularly miserable or profane. These ethereal merits do nothing to ease my suffering, but I have deliriously convinced myself that gathering enough of them will impress my unseen superiors and grant me a promotion to a higher plane of existence. This is my sole motivation.
As for this “Weird Twitter” phenomenon, I believe it’s simply a label that many people in social media loosely attach to a movement of ironic, satirical posts pioneered by the account “@kfc_colonel”. Nobody knows who operates this account, but for years he has been impersonating a dead fast food mogul and asking his followers bizarre personal questions, usually regarding their consumption of KFC products. His influence inspired comedians to further the movement by creating accounts of a similar vein, such as “@Pepsi”, “@Pizzahut”, and “@mtn_dew”, to name a few. I would suggest checking these guys out if you’re into some real subversive social commentary.
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wint exists as a performance art of sorts, a character that the creator plays heavily into. wint is weird: he spews non-sequiturs, kind of reminds me of a dad that doesn’t really understand Twitter while in the next moment offering profound (if ludicrously delivered) observations about our social media saturated world (see eerie tweet above).
Applying 5 elements of digital literature:
data // appears as tweets that are odd and funny and a little disconcerting at times. The tweets are not chronological and do not need to be read in any particular “order,” however, there is definitely a persona that is a consistent undercurrent to the content. (“STREET TOUGH: HEY. VERIFIED ACCTS ARENT FAVING U ANYMORE. WHATS THE DEAL ME:(pretending not to hear, fumbling w/ keys to open my shitty car”)
process // the process is limited by twitter’s rules: 140 character delivery effects the nature of the types of messages. in creating data, this character limited has to be considered. This is a limit that is not imposed by many other online spaces where artists write or produce content.
interaction // wint will engage in conversations with followers — in fact, as creator pointed out above, the character believes that his way out of “Hell” is gathering as many followers and re-tweets as possible. Notably, there was a bit of a scandal when wint started a cascade of “fuck lobsterfest,” encouraging his followers to RT the same; he would RT followers who also hated lobsterfest and interact with them. His tweets also circulate on secondary social media sites like Tumblr (similar to @post_crunk) where they gain traction as singular snippets of the larger account.
surface // a twitter page with a profile picture that has been consistent for at least the past 3/4 years that I’ve been following @dril.
context // I love wint because he doesn’t take himself seriously, but has produced consistent content for literally years (first tweeting in 2008). I consider wint to be legitimate and pretty amazing electronic literature, made even more great by the way he challenges the “established” literary community to evaluate his ironic social commentary that is delivered through such an unconventional means. wint, like @horse_ebooks, @direlog_ebooks, @postcrunk, @beach_sloth, @coffee_dad among other great literary twitter accounts, challenges us to rethink how/where effective messaging can be delivered, and push on the liminal space between electronic lit and performance art.
My favorite re-mix of wint content is from these Buzzfeed people who make fake Tindr profiles with only wint content in their “About” section and only replied to convos with only wint content. The fact that not many in their convos caught on is both hilarious and sad.
I’m going to examine @direlog_ebooks next, which IS a bot, and hilariously parodies the stereotype of the male/”genius”/emotional/poet who tries way too hard and is way too easy to hate. To get a taste: his description: “MEDDLING HETERO FOOL poet. blogger? VEGAN?! #GEMSQUAD.” If that doesn’t make you gag, the rest of his posts will.